When you think back to what you've consumed today in the way of food and drink, what comes to mind? How different is the food on your plate from yesterday's plate, and more importantly, why did you feel the need to change things up? Wouldn't it be more efficient if you could eat the same foods in the same combinations day after day?
Take our friends, the cows, for instance---they have a pretty bland and boring diet, but you never hear them complain. They chew on grass, cud, and meadow flowers day after day, not giving any thought to what could potentially please their palettes. They grow strong and sturdy, providing us with the very fuel that we desire when we conjure up images of a cheeseburger or a nice juicy steak. A cold, frosty glass of milk will do just fine, and here we are again, conceptualizing all sorts of food combinations for our eating and drinking pleasure. Why do we crave variety?
Variety: The spice of life?
By not consuming a variety of foods with various health-giving benefits, you stand to lose out on some valuable nutritional components that are the building blocks of good health. No single food contains all of the nutritional requirements for our wondrous bodies, this is why nature has provided us with so many viable options for creating a delicious, nutritious diet.
Here are some other reasons why it's essential to incorporate a variety of foods into our daily consumption:
Diversity equals stability
A strong theory in medical circles relates the topic of biodiversity to stability; having continued access to a variety of vitamins and minerals ensures that the body continues to adapt and change with the type of food and drink that is consumed.
Variety helps to establish gut health
Your microbiome is a critical factor in your overall health and wellness. The best way to build up a healthy microbiome is to consume a wide variety of foods that help to establish healthy digestion and build up the immune system, two important functions of the microbiome.
You'll lower your risk of food intolerances
By eating a diet that is varied and that differs from day to day, you'll lower your risk of food intolerances and the development of allergies that could prove problematic in the future. Studies have consistently shown that those with restrictive diets are more at risk for developing chronic health conditions associated with lowered immunity and a compromised microbiome over time.
You'll get complete nutrition
Consuming plenty of fresh produce, whole grains, quality proteins, and healthy fats is the best way to maintain good health and get the critical vitamins, minerals, and proteins needed for optimal cell growth and repair. These varied vitamins have the ability to safeguard against disease, build up immunity, and provide you with the much-needed energy to power through your day.
You'll reduce illness and inflammation
Inflammation is a marker that disease is in play---everything from heart disease to diabetes and cancer have been preceded by elevated levels of inflammation in the body. The antioxidants provided by fresh produce and healthy fats have been known to dramatically lower levels of inflammation and thus, lower our risk of developing disease.
You'll be able to combat oxidative stress more effectively
Another common factor in the development of chronic disease is the presence of oxidative stress. A high-diversity diet can help to reduce excess oxidation in the body, including oxidation of DNA cells. As DNA cells are the building blocks of all other cellular process, protecting this tissue is key to living a longer, healthier life.
What should I be eating?
We're glad you asked! Studies have shown that a diet rich in the following has remarkable effects on health and the aging process, no matter when you decide to implement these changes:
Eat the following variety of foods for optimal health:
- Fresh produce, including fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Organic dairy products
- Eggs, cold water fish such as salmon and mackerel
- Nuts, seeds
- Plenty of greens such as spinach, kale, lettuce, watercress
- Quality sources of protein such as grass fed beef, pork, and poultry
- Pure, fresh water
- Green tea or other types of tea
Begin to think of your body as a high-performance car; you wouldn't dare put substandard oil or gas into this high-performance engine and then expect it to work well, would you? Similarly, your body works and repairs itself best when given the proper tools for growth, cellular repair, and renewal.
Get excited---your road to better health starts today as you consciously begin to choose how to fuel your wondrous body. As you make some of these changes, notice how you feel, notice how much more energy you have, and how it is directly affected by your choice of food and drink. Choose consciously.....and look forward to a healthier, better life!