Most of us know to eat plenty of fiber to keep our guts healthy and to maintain gut motility. Staying well hydrated is also important, especially in dry climates. You should be having at least one bowel movement each day. Eat real food. Many packaged foods contain non-food ingredients that we don’t know enough about to know how they will react within the body.
There was a study done on rats in which one group was fed a grain meal containing only 30% GMO grains and 70% organic grains. The control group was fed only organic grains. The rats that ate the GMO food had significantly greater risk of intestinal tumors than the control group. There isn’t much research on humans regarding the effect of GMOs on the body, but
it makes sense to me that we would be our healthiest if we only ate real food.
The Fort Collins food coop carries a wide variety of organic and local foods, as well as nutritional supplements. Consider getting yourself tested for the MTHFR gene SNP. Sixty percent of the population has at least one ‘defective’ copy. This mutation makes it difficult for the body to activate B12 and folate, and correlates with a significant increase in the risk of colon cancer in those who have two ‘defective’ copies of the MTHFR gene. The good news is that with proper diet and supplementation, you can significantly decrease your health risk. You may ask your doctor to test you for MTHFR or do a saliva test through www.23andme.com ($199). You may obtain a plan to minimize your risk from a doctor who is trained in nutrigenomics. This plan will likely include dietary suggestions, lifestyle modifications and sometimes nutrient supplementation.
What we call vitamin D is actually a steroid hormone that is essential for numerous processes in the body. It is important for utilizing calcium to build and maintain strong bones, for fight infection, enhancing the self-destruction of mutated cells, slowing the production and spread of cancer cells, and improving seizure control in epileptics. Having adequate vitamin D levels reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, preterm births, the risk of respiratory and vaginal infections and gingivitis. There are vitamin D receptors on most, if not all cells so it is likely that vitamin D is necessary for more processes than we are aware of.
Most people who don’t supplement with vitamin D are deficient in it, even those who live in sunny places like Florida and Arizona. The rule of thumb to obtain Vitamin D from the sun is to expose your face and arms to the sun for 20 minutes per day, during a time when you are taller than your shadow. It is important to have your serum vitamin D level checked at least once per year. It appears that the optimal serum vitamin D level is between 50 and 60 ng/ml. A vitamin D level above 60ng/ml may increase the risk of certain cancers.
If you supplement, consider using Vitamin D3 and in an emulsified form, as this makes it more readily usable by the body. The Fort Collins Food Coop carries several forms of Vitamin D, including an emulsified vitamin D. If you need to take more than 2000 IU per day, consider taking it in divided doses, as taking greater than 2000IU at one time has been known to cause acid reflux in some people.