Your Biochemical Foundation

Your Biochemical FoundationTo have the best possible foundation for psychological well-being and spiritual growth, we all need to nurture the physical substrate of our body. And that means good nutrition, since that is how you get the building blocks of that substrate into your body. There is simply no other way.

Nutrition Is Molecules

At the physical level, when we talk about nutrition, we are talking about molecules.

For example, take a look at the serotonin molecule on this page (at the top of the picture – click on the image to see a larger version). I picked serotonin since it’s in the Molecule Hall of Fame for its central role in your well-being and contemplative depth. But in order to have lots of these marvelous molecules rolling around in your brain – and in your digestive tract and other important sites in your body – you need to ingest lots of tryptophan and iron and vitamin B6 and other co-factors that help convert tryptophan to serotonin.

In other words, we need to eat the right molecules to have the right molecules. We also need to avoid foods that supply molecules that interfere with the body’s effectiveness.

By the way, it’s interesting that this is the biochemical equivalent of Right Effort in Buddhism – which of course shows up in other wisdom traditions: increase the causes of the wholesome and decrease the causes of the unwholesome.

So, to tend to those good causes for our own body, we need to think about the interactions among important molecules in our body. Making the right thing happen in the body requires many, many things to be available and go right.

Here are some foundational suggestions, below, and in , I will go over targeted nutritional interventions for low mood, anxiety, focus and concentration, and memory.

Food Basics

  1. Eat protein with every meal, especially breakfast.
  2. Eat more vegetables.
  3. Eat carbs that are not made of sugar or flour (e.g., sweets, bread, cereal, pasta). Carbs should come from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains (ideally, not turned into flour).
  4. Stay away from food allergens. The foods that a person is most likely to have difficulty with are, in descending order of risk: dairy products, gluten grains (wheat, oats, rye, barley, spelt, kamut), soy, eggs, corn, citrus, and nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant).

Supplement Basics (every day)

  1. Take a basic multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement. For women who are having a cycle, these should probably include iron. A good vitamin will have levels of most B-vitamins that are many times the government “Recommended Daily Value” (DV), and minerals at the level of the DV.
  2. Supplement omega-3 essential fatty acids in fish oil that has been “molecularly distilled” for purity (Nordic Naturals is excellent); take enough capsules to get about 500 mg each of two key ingredients, DHA and EPA, which will be listed on the label.
  3. Take a B-vitamin complex, a B-50 or B-100.
  4. Take at least one to two grams of vitamin C.
  5. Take 1000 – 1500 mg of calcium and 400 – 600 mg of magnesium. (Some of this could be in your multi-vitamin.)

A Healthy Digestive Tract
Avoid food allergens, and supplement with beneficial bacteria – acidophilus and bifidus.

Category : Articles &Diet &Vitamins Posted on January 6, 2012

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