Eat a Healthy Diet to Preclude Disease, Infection, Fatigue, and Poor Performance
What we all want is a healthy diet and eating balanced meals. I’m sure we’ve all heard this. Our grandmothers taught us this as our mothers did as well. That means a balance of protein, good carbohydrates, meaning the ones with the low amount of sugar, called a glycemic index, and unsaturated, not saturated, unsaturated fats. And so eat lots of vegetables, except the starches, and only some fruit because most fruit has a little bit too much sugar, and eat fatty fish, probably twice a week.
Now, the dangers of eating these days, especially with barbecuing, eating out, processed foods, is that any foods cooked at a high temperature will cause what are called advanced glycation end products. So glycation is a process that occurs in our body when either a fat or a protein molecule is combined with a sugar molecule. And when that combination happens, end products are formed called advanced glycation. And it’s normally abbreviated as AGEs. And AGEs can also form in food that’s been cooked with high temperatures, grilling, browning, baking, frying, barbecuing. And many animal foods that are high in fat and protein are most susceptible to these AGEs during cooking in high heat. And unfortunately, all processed foods have been cooked at high temperatures. So the way we’re eating now with a Western diet, we are all eating a lot of these AGEs, very harmful.
Now, luckily our body will eliminate the AGEs to a point. However, if there are too many AGEs, more than the body can normally eliminate, they will accumulate causing stress and, oops, back to chronic inflammation. And the A1C measurement, some of you may have heard of, measures the buildup of AGEs in our body. And when we eat daily meals that have more than 5,000 units of AGEs, they’ll build up in our tissues and increase the risk of every single major disease.
So now you may wonder, “Well, what’s normal food have in it? If all I can have is 5,000 a day, what are some examples?” Well, a Big Mac is 7,800. Just a broiled hotdog is 10,000. One thin-crust slice at pizza is 6,800. Bacon, 12,000, so it’s like, oops. Now, this data is based on 60,000 papers and academic articles. So here’s the trouble with bacon. I used to love bacon, crispy, salty, loved it. But if you watch bacon sizzle in the pan and then you eat the bacon, then you can just imagine, picture your internal tissues sizzling from the AGE-generated inflammation. And the trouble with that of course is we get major diseases faster and of course, die sooner. So I’m not eating too much bacon anymore.
Now, if you want to avoid AGE formation when we’re cooking at home, then don’t eat too much sugar so the fats and protein molecules can’t conglomerate together. And that usually means six teaspoons of sugar a day or less, which is not very much. Don’t cook foods at high temperatures, so cook it with moist heat at lower temperatures, just cook it a little bit longer. And you can reduce the AGE production by about 50% if you just add vinegar, tomato juice, or lemon juice, acidic ingredients to the pan. And then of course you’ve got to avoid processed foods because almost every processed food is cooked at high temperatures.
I think everybody knows you should be eating unsaturated fats instead of saturated. That’s pretty well known by almost everybody. Another one that’s not so well known is there are two essential fatty acids for our body. Essential means you’ve got to have them and the body doesn’t make them. So you’ve got to get them by eating food or supplements. And they’re called omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. And the right ratio for optimum health is four to one omega-6 to omega-3. So we can have up to four times as much omega-6 as omega-3 and everything’s fine. The trouble is the average American diet, the Western diet, that ratio is 16 to one with disastrous results. So what we’d like to do is cut down on omega-6s of course and get more omega-3s.
So it’s pretty easy to cut down on omega-6. You’ve got a hint already. One is don’t eat processed and pre-packaged foods. They’re full of omega-6. Don’t eat fatty meats or cured meats, full of omega-6. And don’t eat the manufactured vegetable oils as opposed to the natural oils, I’ll talk about them in a bit, full of omega-6. Now, if you want to boost omega-3, then olive oil is a great, great way to boost omega-3. Oily fish, it’s why salmon’s such a great fish for us. It has the most omega-3 of any fish. And then if you can’t get enough, and many people take fish oil supplements because of their heart health, then just take fish oil supplements.
Now again, to see how much omega-6 some of the foods have, remember omega-6 are the bad fatty acids, and just in milligrams, go to Applebee’s, order onion rings. Hey, you’ve got 31,000 milligrams. Go to Chick-fil-A, fried food, fast food sandwiches, you’ve got 12,000 milligrams. French fries at TGIFs, 12,000. Fried fish filet at Denny’s, 12,000. Mac and cheese at Cracker Barrel, 6,000. So these can keep on going down the list, just a ton of omega sixes in all these fried foods and processed foods.
And then if you say, “Well, I’ll just eat a lot of fish.” You’ve got to eat a lot of fish to make up for that. So wild-caught salmon, 2000 milligrams. So you have to eat five servings of salmon to make up for the onion rings you just ate at Applebee’s. And another great source of omega-3 is nuts and seeds. And again, remember the optimum ratio is four to one, omega-6 to omega-3. Now let’s take almonds. I’ve always loved almonds, especially salty almonds, especially roasted salty almonds, but the ratio for almonds or the omega-6 to omega-3 is 2000 to one so it couldn’t be worse for us. Walnuts, another great food. They have the optimum ratio, four to one. Macadamia nuts, pretty close, six to one. So that’s what my wife and I eat every day. Every morning, we have walnuts and macadamia nuts, and we throw in some pistachio nuts. They’re 50 to one, but they’re just too damn good to pass up.
So we want to eat walnuts, they’re a superfood, every day. Very high in omega-3 and decreases that bad word, chronic inflammation, lowers our LDL, lowers the incidents of the number of cancers. So walnuts are one of those superfoods. And I’ve never particularly liked walnuts, they’re kind of mealy. They’re just nowhere near as good as almonds, but they’re so much better for us.
And then if you look at the amazing benefit of seeds, many of us have heard that seeds are great for us because they have a lot of fiber and a lot of protein. They also have a lot of omega-3. So hemp seeds, five milligrams of protein, eight milligrams of fiber, full of omega-3. Flax, same. So some of these great seeds have an amazing benefit for getting that ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 down where we need it to be.
Now let’s shift to the good fats and the bad fats. The good fats, the healthy fats, are found in, as I’ve talked about already, nuts, seeds, olives, of course, fatty fish, avocados, and then natural oils. And so a natural oil means you just take an avocado and you squeeze it and the juice comes out or take olives and squeeze them and the juice comes out. There’s no processing going on, no cooking at a high temperature. So what we want to do is eat these natural oils or cook with them because there’s so much omega three. So most people now who get this will be cooking with coconut oil, avocado oil if you need high heat, or lower heat, we’ll cook with olive oil.
Now, another superfood then of course would be olive oil. So again, reduces chronic inflammation, is very high in omega-3, and it also helps us get rid of those damaged proteins in our brain. So there are two superfoods that we should all be eating every day, olive oil and walnuts. And when you buy olive oil, the optimal olive oil is from olives picked by hand, not by a machine so you don’t get bruised, de-seeded or overripe ones. First cold press and cold-pressed mean they’re not heated at all, and the first press means the first time the olives are pressed, the oil comes out. You may press a second time, get a little bit more, but it’s usually got bulk in it. Extra-virgin, meaning not treated with chemicals or altered by any temperature, and organic. So the best olive oil then would be picked by hand, first cold-pressed, extra-virgin and organic. And it’s pretty much available, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s.
Now, let’s look at the bad fats. All these manufactured oils are bad fats. Now, the reason they’re bad fats is they are full of omega six and they’re processed at high temperatures so full of, oops, AGEs. Now, the manufacturers call them vegetable oils, because that sounds good for us, doesn’t it? Yay, a vegetable oil? Well, they couldn’t be worse for us. And the list is a whole bunch everybody’s heard of. Canola oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, sesame oil, Grapeseed oil, peanut oil, safflower oil. And other bad fats are found in any industrially prepared food. Baked goods, snack bars, candy, deep-fat fried food, cookies, cakes, and pies. All the stuff that tastes great is bad for us because everything I just mentioned is very high in omega-6.
And here is how these bad vegetable oils, or the manufactured oils, are manufactured. So listen to this and just see if you think this sounds like something you’d want to ingest. So first you heat the seeds to a very high temperature. They oxidize and turn rancid. Then process them with petroleum solvent to extract the oil. Then heat again and add another acid to remove waxy solids. Then treat your oil with more chemicals to improve the color. Then deodorize the oil to mask the smell from the chemical processing. Sound good?
It doesn’t sound that good. And anytime you’re looking at ingredients now in almost anything you buy in the grocery store, you’ve got to be careful. I’ll give you a couple of examples. I fly a lot or used to fly a lot, and if you get a meal on an airplane in those little packages, they’ll have a little dressing. And so I brought two of them home from the airplanes last year. One on the front of it says balsamic vinaigrette. So you look at the ingredients, water, soybean oil, and balsamic vinegar. So soybean oil couldn’t be worse for you.
Here’s another one. Listen to this title. Naturally fresh olive oil and vinegar dressing. Pour it on. Look at the back. Ingredients, water, soybean oil, distilled vinegar, and then finally the fourth ingredient, olive oil. So it has a little teeny bit of olive oil in there just so you can say it’s got olive oil. So again, it’s called olive oil and vinegar dressing when it’s mainly soybean oil. Couldn’t be worse for us.
I have a Paul Newman, great guy, great actor, gives all the profits from everything he makes to charity. So if you just go look at his called Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette, flip it over, look at the ingredients on the back. The first ingredient, canola oil, couldn’t be worse for us.
There is a description of the good fats and the bad fats. And again, the bottom line is just don’t eat processed foods. You go a long way to not getting in your body what you don’t need, you go a long way to not getting the AGEs, and you go a long way towards not getting many omega sixes.