The nutritional wisdom of you!
The human body possesses signalling pathways and intelligence that enables our taste to be matched to our nutritional needs.
See this facinating study about how children given access to a wide range of nutritious food sampled and masterfully selected foods to correct nutritional deficiencies and provide optimal fuel for their growing bodies. Although this study is from several decades ago, it is more relevant than ever as our knowledge of epigenetics and the gut microbiome continues to grow. As medical and nutritional science becomes increasingly aware of the vast bio-diversity from one individual to another, it reasserts that the only expert on your body is your body, and it really is an expert, consisting of trillions of highly intelligent cells.
A key take-away from this study is how unique each child's food selections were not just from one child to the next, but from one day to the next. This is an important reminder to us that we should not expect that a generic meal plan could be optimised to our needs as an individual or to our needs from day to day.
We all have this ability to prefer certain foods according to our innate needs but many of us need to relearn it or have lost trust in it. Eating heavily processed or artificially fortified foods or choosing only from a small range of high convenience foods can mask and skew these signals. It makes sense that factors such as activity level, gut flora, digestive capacity, hormone cycles and exposure to pathogens would necessarily change our nutritional needs causing us to need different types and quantities of food on any one day and tuning into this would be far more beneficial to our overall health than following a prescribed meal plan. Food for thought!
Top tips for tapping into your innate nutritional wisdom:
- Feed yourself a diverse range of nutritious foods (think organic where possible fresh and cooked leafy greens and vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes, nuts and seeds, wild caught fish and seafood, free range meat, eggs and dairy)
- Eat mindfully, chew thoroughly, and pay attention not only to how it tastes but how easily it digests and passes through you
- Eat according to your individual hunger, taste and digestive capacity
Do the things. Be well!