To prevent and cure chronic diseases, what should we eat?

40 trillion to 60 trillion cells of the human body are distributed in specific parts of the body and perform specific functions.
For example, muscle cells are distributed on the limbs, performing contractile movements and performing motor functions; retinal cells are stimulated by light so that people can see objects; and brain cells transmit information like a network.
The formation of various cells is the result of selective gene expression.
Genes determine how the heart beats, what the liver does, what the kidneys do, and how long people should sleep, when they should get up and go to bed, how much water they should drink, how much food they should eat, and how much they should exercise.
When people live according to the needs of genetically defined cells, they can live a long life.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

If we are stubbornly self-willed, eat whatever we want and go to bed whenever we wan…, when our lifestyle is not equal to genetic coding, disease will come to us.
What exactly do genes say about diet?
It would be nice if we could know exactly what the genetic code for diet is, so that we can follow the above instructions to eat what we should and eat as much as we should.
However, according to the current technology, the gene coding in diet can not be accurately located, but there is a simple way to get a preliminary understanding of gene expression: review the history of human development and find some rules.

Paleolithic Age: the first time we balance portion of vegetables and meat, our brain volume soared.

Since about 2.5 million years ago, the crust of eastern Africa has changed, and Australopithecus, who make a living entirely by collecting plants, have to go to the fields to find food, thus starting a meat-and-vegetarian diet.

The behavior to satisfy hunger only brings about a widening of the food chain, a smarter brain, a stronger physique, and the beginning of evolution towards human beings.

The environment has created the conditions for human survival, and the balance portion of vegetables and meat and the widening of the food chain have made human progress.

Photo by Valeriy Evtushenko on Unsplash

About 800,000 years ago, some people found that the animal meat burned by wildfire was delicious and easy to digest, so they introduced the fire into the cave, which made mankind take another big step forward.

When the animals are cooked or roasted, the protein and lipids consumed are easier to digest and absorb, and the brain gets more nourishment.

Photo by Paul Hermann on Unsplash

Because it is much more difficult to get meat than to pick wild fruits and leaves, it is necessary to fight a battle of wits and courage in the process of chasing and killing wild animals, human physique becomes stronger, survival skills become more sophisticated, and at the same time, dietary changes in the combination of meat and meat make the brain get more essential nutrients for brain development.

As Engels said, “the transition from eating only plants to eating meat at the same time is an important step for Australopithecus to become an adult.”

In the process of changing the living environment and eating style, our ancestors gradually began to walk upright.

At this time, humans have some very important features in appearance: a significant increase in brain capacity (as the brain gets more nutrients, thus promoting the rapid development of the brain), the chin gradually shrinks in. Teeth are also smaller (because food is easy to chew and digest when cooked).

In that hunting age, to get meat, you had to chase animals in the wild mountains from morning till night.

Human beings are not the tallest or the most powerful among animals. It is not easy to besiege a large animal. We should unite as one and use our brains to think of ways.

It was also from this stage that human beings began to consciously make some stone tools, which opened the Paleolithic Age.

The age of agriculture and animal husbandry: our recipes narrowed and evolution stagnated.

150000 years ago, humans and modern humans were basically similar in appearance except for some primitive nature, and anthropologists called them Homo sapiens.
150000 years ago, man was able to make fires and make tools.
With the use of tools and the development of society, people began to choose a suitable place to build a fence in the field to drive in the inexhaustible wild horses, bison or deer, and let them live there temporarily, forming the embryonic form of animal husbandry.
From 9500 BC to 8500 BC, people left some seeds of wild vegetables and wild fruits and reclaimed a piece of land to plant them. This is the sprout of agriculture.
People grow crops such as barley, wheat, beans, vegetables and fruits, and no longer migrate around for domesticated pigs, cattle, sheep, horses, camels and other animals.

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By about 5000 years ago, the agricultural revolution had swept through Europe, Asia and Africa, and mankind unanimously chose this comfortable way of life: sowing in spring and harvest in autumn.
People began to have time to think about other things, such as words, art, manufacturing technology, etc., and the era of human civilization began.
But in terms of access to nutrients, the beginning of the agricultural revolution is actually the beginning of the decline of food nutrition.
Human beings no longer need to fight with large animals, and the food they eat every day is actively planted plants or raised animals, and the diet has become narrower; due to the increase in plant food, food, vegetables, fruits and so on from planting to harvest to storage are becoming easier and easier, and animal foods are beginning to decrease.
In addition, people no longer need to chase prey and actively collect all kinds of food in nature as they did ten thousand years ago, but go nearby to exchange or buy, and their physique gradually deteriorates.
The development of agriculture has greatly changed the structure of human diet, the proportion of meat food has decreased, the proportion of plant food has significantly increased, and settlement life has brought an abrupt end to the increase of human brain capacity and physique.

After the era of the Industrial Revolution: the emergence of artificial food and the prevalence of chronic diseases.

More than 200 years ago, the industrial revolution in Europe once again brought about great changes in the diet: it is easier for human beings to get food and have more leisure to enjoy delicious food; automation has replaced manual labor so that people can get food without leaving home; refrigerators, food additives and special food processing methods have solved the difficulties in food storage, but fresh food has become scarce.

Chemical fertilizers and ripening agents shorten the ripening period of plant and animal foods, and people have more time to learn, create and enjoy.

Mankind seems to have reached the peak of “man’s triumph over nature” in history.

Photo by Medina Catering on Unsplash

As a result of all this, the nutrients in almost all foods are depreciating.

According to a survey released in Japan in 2006, spinach has less than 20% of its nutrients left compared with 20 years ago.

At the same time, food safety has become an important issue, and some foods that have never appeared in our lives have emerged, such as:

All kinds of additives: taste agent, preservative, antistaling agent, pigment and so on.

Industrial trans fatty acids (margarine, shortening).

Refined rice, refined noodles.

Photo by Ke Vin on Unsplash

Milled rice and refined noodles are the result of industrial development in recent decades. our ancestors ate whole grains. At that time, food processing had to be done by hand, and it was impossible to produce fine rice and noodles.

Photo by Orijit Chatterjee on Unsplash

Milled rice, refined noodles derived from a variety of food, such as a variety of snacks, noodles, rice noodles and so on.

All kinds of snack, such as puffed food, candy, chewing gum and so on.

All kinds of drinks. Our ancestors drank clean river water, boiled water, mineral water and tea.

All kinds of convenience food: instant noodles, biscuits, puffed food and so on.

In retrospect, human beings used to be the animals that ate the most kinds of food on earth, with the most distinctive features of a meat-and-vegetarian diet.

Compared with other animals, the intake of nutrients is much richer, so that human beings gradually evolve and become the hegemons of the world.

But the agricultural revolution of the past 10,000 years and the industrial revolution of nearly 200 years have made some uninvited “guests” unknown to our cells become the usual midday meals, and people’s pursuit of food has become “waiting for it to be cooked” and “buying cooked food effortlessly”.

There is no doubt that in terms of diet, the combination of meat and vegetables and the broadening of recipes are the catalysts of human evolution, and the changes in dietary structure and the subversion of the way of food acquisition are the main reasons why human beings are trapped by various chronic diseases.

From the Paleolithic Age tens of thousands of years ago, our genetic structure and digestive system have basically not changed, but our diet has changed dramatically, especially in the last 100 years.

It is the contradiction between the old genes and the new diet that has led to the spread of chronic diseases today.

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