He has been a doctor for more than 50 years and is a research leader and professor at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Metabolism Center at the Pannum Institute at the University of Copenhagen.
For large parts of his working life, he studied the internal chemistry of the body and worked in hormone and metabolic research.
Since 2008, he and his international research team have been working on how fungi, bacteria and viruses in the gut affect health and well-being.
Therefore, it also knows how it interacts with the food it sends to the intestines. Here’s his advice on foods you should avoid and look for.
-With the knowledge you have gained about diet and health through your work, are there any particular foods that you try to avoid completely?
– In our family, we follow the general recommendations from the authorities to eat a varied diet based mainly on plants.
Of course there are deviations and differences from day to day, but I and my family of three generations eat only organic foods on a daily basis:
They include vegetables, legumes, root vegetables, berries, fruits, fish, poultry and meat.
We rarely eat meat from four-legged animals, namely cows, pigs and lambs, because intestinal bacteria convert the choline and carnitine content in meat into trimethylamine oxide, which causes blood clots in the brain and heart.
In daily life, I never eat any food containing gluten, such as regular wheat or rye bread, because gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye and barley, is immunomodulatory.
This means that it activates the immune system in an unfortunate way and may increase the risk of developing many different autoimmune diseases.
As a family, we avoid all fatty foods from animals and never eat processed and ready-made foods that contain “dead and empty” nutrients added with many addictive chemicals that manipulate your food choices.
We also do not eat sugary, sweetened or fatty ready-made cakes, sweets, licorice, potato chips or soft drinks.
When we are invited to go out with friends or family, on a trip abroad or at home, or to a restaurant, we like to eat what is served or what is on the healthy menu.
In other words: There is a big difference between daily life, which is the vast majority of days of the year, and the special days when we are not at home.
– Why do you avoid these foods?
– Several population studies have shown that those who follow a Mediterranean diet or a mostly vegetarian diet, supplemented with small amounts of fish, poultry, and low-fat dairy products, have a lower incidence of common diseases such as blood clots in the heart and brain. Obesity, diabetes and many types of cancer over many years.
In addition, laboratory studies have shown that foods containing a lot of sugar and fat cause inflammation in all organs of the body, including the brain, leading to fatigue and difficulty concentrating.
Are there any specific studies or discoveries that left a special impression on you?
The advice to eat more vegetables has been strengthened over the past 10 years, as we begin to understand the functions and importance of the gut microbiome to our health.
The intestinal flora consists of billions of bacteria, viruses and fungi.
We know a lot about intestinal bacteria, the vast majority of which are beneficial to health. That is, if they are given a primarily plant-based diet.
Bacteria function as an organ in the same way as the heart, brain, lungs, and kidneys.
The bacteria in the intestine are like a giant internal chemical factory, producing thousands of different molecules around the clock, which, through the intestinal nervous system and circulatory system, affect the functions of all the body’s cells and organs.
We know a lot about the impact of the gut microbiome on metabolism, the immune system, and brain function.
When we eat a mostly plant-based diet, our gut microbiome produces thousands of different molecules that protect us from about 30 different hereditary diseases.
On the other hand, if the fuel we provide the microbiome is sugary, fatty, and rich in the meat of four-legged animals, the internal chemical factory changes its production to a number of substances that cause inflammation and inhibit the production of a number of substances. Signaling substances that affect, among other things, the psyche and brain biology.
If you were to give specific advice regarding diet and health, what would it be?
Eat organic greens, greens and more greens. At least 30 different vegetables and berries weekly. There is no maximum limit.
Eat half a kilo of vegetables daily, preferably a lot of them. Feel free to start the morning with half a kilo of raw vegetables mixed with delicious berries depending on the season.
-What do you wish everyone knew about diet and health?
A meal is impressively transformed into about 50,000 different molecules, most of which are absorbed through the intestinal wall into the blood and regulate all of the body’s organs, including the brain and heart.
But the type of these molecules and their health value depend entirely on what we choose to eat.
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