5 Things you didn’t know about Nutrition

Guest blog post by Victoria Ward, freelance writer with a profound interest in psychology, holistic health, and fitness. Her hobbies include tennis, cooking, writing, and yoga

With so many changes in the world of nutrition it can be hard to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the most recent and obscure findings you probably haven’t heard of.

1. Carbs are good

In a complete 180 from the keto/Atkins/low carb craze, it’s been discovered that…carbs are actually necessary for both brain and body health. The reason so many people feel healthier on a no or very low carb diet is because they also have to cut out 99% of junk foods, which almost all contain carbs. So, feeling better is usually not the result of having removed carbs but from having removed all that processed gunk in our diets. The healthiest diet is always going to be one that is balanced and actually gives your brain the amount of glucose it needs to function properly. Contrary to popular belief, the brain can function on ketones, but it’s not favorable for brain health, and glucose will always be superior in that regard.

2. Fasting isn’t healthy

“I’m going to detox by going on a juice fast” I sometimes hear my friends say. If only they knew that fasting hasn’t been proven to remove any toxins—or have any health benefits, for that matter. In fact, there are actually several dangers associated with fasting, including kidney and liver damage, low blood sugar, headaches, fatigue, anemia, and dehydration. The body has its own filtration system, and the only real way to ‘detox’ is by cutting out junk foods and replacing them with healthy foods, like beets and spinach.

3. Hemp oil rewires your brain

Each of us has an endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate memory, pain, mood, and a lot of other physical and cognitive processes. When this system gets out of whack it can contribute to mood disorders, increased appetite and weight gain, and can lead to things like low motivation and depression. Once compromised, it becomes beneficial to take cannabinoid oils to ‘jumpstart’ your brain into fixing itself, along with these issues. Cannabinoids have also been shown to have applications in treating ADHD, Alzheimer’s disorder, and epilepsy.

4. Hot drinks double risk of cancer

You’ve probably heard about the many health benefits of tea and coffee—rich in antioxidants, L-theanine (anxiolytic), energy boosting, metabolism hastening, etc. But what you probably didn’t know was that having these hot drinks nearly doubles your risk of esophageal cancer. The heat from these drinks damages the esophagus, and over time this damage can turn deadly in the form of cancer. The quickest and easiest way to prevent this is to either turn towards cold tea and coffee or to simply wait until your drink has cooled down to a more reasonable temperature.

5. You’re eating too much salt

Okay, so you probably did know that salt is really, really bad for you in excess. In fact, it causes high blood pressure, osteoporosis, cancer, and stroke. However, you probably don’t know how much salt is actually in your diet. It only takes a few minutes to go through your pantry and fridge to count all the sodium in everything you eat. Remember, if you eat the whole bag of fries, and a serving has 200mg of sodium, and a bag contains 10 servings…well, you do the math. Ideally, we should be having less than 2,300mg of sodium a day, but even otherwise healthy foods, when processed, are rich in sodium and can be a detriment to your health. So, make sure you eat foods, especially meats, that are minimally processed in order to dodge these health issues.

As a bonus ‘fun fact’ –bananas don’t actually contain much potassium. If you said “orange” then most people would think ‘vitamin C’ and if you said “banana” our first though would probably be potassium. But, ironically, bananas don’t really have much potassium to speak of. In fact, oranges contain about as much potassium as bananas. Sweet potatoes, spinach, beets, and parsnips contain way more potassium than bananas. So, if you’re short on potassium it may be smart to try those first.