A new study carried out by scientists by the University of British Columbia and the University of La Rochelle, in France, may shed some light onto the importance of having a balanced diet, by looking at some unusual subjects: dolphins and whales. More importantly, this research highlights the importance of choosing high quality nutrients over low quality ones, even though we may not immediately recognize the difference.
More is not necessarily better
Andrew Trites, one of the study's co-authors, explains: "The conventional wisdom is that marine mammals can eat anything. However, we found that some species of whales and dolphins require calorie rich diets to survive while others are built to live off low quality prey, and it has nothing to do with how big they are."
Even though they are large, for whales and dolphins, the quality of their food is more important than how much they eat. The same stands true for humans, and understanding this core principle of good dieting could help us shake off some bad eating habits.
How is any of this relevant to humans?
In humans, a high quality diet is a nutritionally dense, water-rich, low fat and low sugar regime, centered on consuming plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, as well as food items that contain slow release carbohydrates, such as bananas and whole grains. High quality foods are preferably organic, grown naturally and free of synthetic additives, like colorants or flavorings.
Some basic dietary guidelines suggest that of what we eat every day, 15-20 percent should be protein, 50-60 percent should be slow release carbohydrates, and 25 percent should be fat.
Proteins help build muscle, strengthen the body against disease, and boost vitality. Good vegan sources of protein are green leafy vegetables, nuts, quinoa, seaweed, chickpeas, lentils, and sprouts.
Carbohydrates are our primary fuel source, or fat in some cases, and are required in all bodily processes and functions, from walking, to digestion, to solving mental problems. Healthy diets are rich in complex carbohydrates that can supply the body with energy throughout the day, and they are most common in whole grains and legumes.
Fats are vital to maintaining the health of our cells, but also function as energy storage. It is also important to distinguish between the kinds of fats we consume. Saturated fats, that are typically found in meats and whole milk, many say should to be avoided, while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats should be consumed in moderate quantities. Healthy fats are abundant in seeds, nuts and avocado.
Clean foods keep the world clean
Furthermore, a study carried out by Dartmouth scientists shows that the consumption of high quality foods helps maintain the food chain clean. According to one of the scientists involved in the study, "this research provides evidence that by eating high-quality food, organisms may reduce their bodily concentration of a contaminant." Essentially, this means that by consuming healthy foods, and feeding healthy foods to livestock, we can improve the environment and later grow more healthy foods with greater ease.
Moreover, the study also suggests that by supporting the consumption of clean foods on different levels of the food chain, we can reduce the concentration of some poisons in our environment, like methylmercury, which is responsible for the high mercury concentrations in ocean fish.
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About the author:
Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general. In 2010, Michelle created RawFoodHealthWatch.com, to share with people her approach to the raw food diet and detoxification.