By Becky Wilson
The human body’s ability to regenerate has always fascinated me.
It all began when I was younger, with my slight obsession with the movie X-men. My interest in the power of cells was piqued when I saw that one of the mutants in the series (Wolverine) had the amazing ability to heal himself in a matter of seconds.
This got me thinking… Could you imagine if we had the powerful regenerative ability that he possesses? How would our day-to-day decisions differ? For example, what if humans could grow limbs back like salamanders? That careless car mechanic down the street would surely still have a full set of fingers.
It turns out, soon after our primordial ancestors slithered out of the dirt, limb re-genesis was chucked out of our genetic portfolio. So while we may not be able to squeeze bullet wounds shut with our minds, we do have our own incredible version of cell regeneration.
Let’s get down to the good stuff:
As human beings, we often don’t think about the incredible power of our cells and all the hard work they do below the surface. With a basic understanding of the process of renewal, restoration, and growth we can contribute to a healthier way of living.
Every species, from bacteria to humans, is capable of regeneration! However, in times of illness, the regeneration process is interfered with. Here’s the good news: cultivating diets, lifestyles, and attitudes that promote cell regeneration can interrupt the circuit of disease and help us to attain a healthier state.
One of the extraordinary things about being human is that we are in a default state of ceaseless body regeneration. How cool is that? Without this process of continual cell turnover within the body – life and death ceaselessly intertwined – the miracle of the human body would not exist. We want to optimize our regenerative powers using healthy foods, herbs, and nutrients, so we can become badass regenerators!
Your arteries, skin, liver, lungs, digestive tract, and certain parts of your brain are all continually refreshed - if you're healthy.
Let me enlighten you…
SKIN- Everybody completely regenerates his or her skin every seven days. For example, when you cut yourself, it heals and disappears in a week or so. And guess what people? This is called skin cell regeneration. We owe a lot to our skin. Not only is it our biggest organ, it further assists us as a protective barrier between our internal organs and the often damaging outside world.
LIVER - The liver has a remarkable capacity to regenerate after injury and to adjust its size to match its host. The liver will repair completely after 30 days if no complications arise. Your liver is one of the only organs that can spring back after part of its tissue dies (the process is called compensatory hypertrophy). But that's only if you don't booze it to the point of cirrhosis, a chronic liver disease in which normal liver tissue is replaced with scarred, nonfunctional tissue. "People who are at risk consume more than 14 drinks a week or regularly have more than five at a time," says Mark Mailliard, M.D., director of the hepatitis C program at the University of Nebraska.
GUT - Cells here have one of the fastest cellular turnover rates in the body. I read a study that found significant changes in the makeup of the gut bacteria, occurring just three days after a dietary change! This demonstrates the amazing power of the foods we eat.
Some pretty neat stuff don't you think?
Evidently, just like putting the right fuel into your car, we want to be putting the right fuel into our bodies. We need to give it all the support it needs, so it can bloom in what it was created to do.
WHOLE FOODS TO REPAIR AND RENEW
So we all love food, some more than others – granted! We can all fight inflammation and enhance cell regeneration through the foods we eat - I can't stress how simple it actually is! Eat clean and you will have a thriving machine of a body.
Through our food choices, we are deciding if the replacement cells are vibrant or dysfunctional. The quality of the replacement cells relies on the building materials that are available when the new cells are being created. By eating anti-inflammatory foods, newly formed cells can actually be stronger and healthier than the old cells they replace.
COLOR IS KEY
My message to you, intrigued readers, out there is this: true regeneration occurs when we eat all colors of the food rainbow. Beta-carotene, the orange pigment in carrots, squash, and yams, converts to vitamin A, which is important for healing the gastrointestinal tract, lungs, and skin. Green foods such as asparagus and green beans are rich in vitamin B complex that nourishes the nervous system, increases absorption of omega-3s, and balances our hormones. Vitamin C-rich foods are often red, as in berries and purple cabbage, and are critical for the production of collagen, the protein that repairs skin, bone, and joints.
When I’m cooking, I always look down at my plate and make sure I have as many colors present as possible!
Get colorful, it’s as easy as that! Your body will thank you.
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National Institutes of Health: Liver Regeneration
Sciencing: How Does Skin Regenerate?
The Harvard Gazette - Health & Medicine: Understanding how the intestine replaces and repairs itself
Becky Wilson - Born and raised in Manchester, England, grew up horse riding competitively, with immense love for animals and the outdoors. She spent her time traveling and working before settling down in Canada, BC in 2011.
Always being health conscious, Becky decided she wanted to expand her knowledge and enrolled in a Diet Specialist program with the Association of Nutrition School, based in London, England. Upon becoming AFN certified as a level 3 & 4 Diet Specialist, Becky wanted to delve deeper into the science of food, expand her knowledge and share with the world what she is learning. This lead her to join the 3-month Nutrition+Detox Certification Course to become a Richer Health Nutrition+Detox Coach.
Becky seeks to work with communities to help guide, educate, and support health and well being through food and lifestyle choices. She resides in Pemberton, BC.