essential amino acids
If you only had three foods to eat to stay alive, for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Beans? Eggs? Brown rice? Milk? Spinach? Salmon? Blueberries? Or maybe you would choose the top three in the super foods list.
Now, if I were trapped on a DESSERT island, I would surely be packing the dark chocolate bars, double chocolate brownie ice cream, and peeps. My peeps would keep me company and I would name one Wilson.
You’re just a peep, but let me tell you what I would choose and why.
Each food serves a purpose and a diet full of variety is what keeps one healthy. People often ask me: “what are the very best foods I can eat?” I sigh and tell them all whole and natural foods on this earth are good for you! Of course moderation is key. But Wilson, three foods! Just think! If you had just three foods to sustain life, what would you pick? What three foods would give you the best proportion of essential protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals to meet all the nutrition requirements the body needs to survive?
To start, I would choose a food that has all the essential amino acids, or building blocks of protein. Essential amino acids (phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, and histidine) cannot be made in the body and must come from the diet. A complete protein contains these nine essential amino acids in the correct proportion. While most foods contain all the essential amino acids, they do not necessarily have them in the correct proportions our bodies need. Animal sources like eggs, milk, poultry, meats, and fish are examples of complete proteins. Plant sources tend to have a lower amount of one or more essential amino acids and therefore need to be paired with a food that can compensate. For example, combining beans and rice is a popular way to achieve a complete protein.
That being said, I would choose milk to be my source of complete protein. It has a high protein digestibility score plus it is higher in calcium, magnesium, and B-12 than a serving of egg. (And I would be so bored on the island I would learn how to make yogurt and cheese.)
Then, it would hit me that I’m on this island alone; I will need a lot of energy to build myself a home and arrange logs to spell out “help.” Therefore, I need a high-energy food like a starch that will build up my glycogen stores as well as provide immediate energy. At first one might think potato. But I’m going to delegate a sweet potato to be my source of energy and added goodies like potassium, Vitamins A, C, and B-6, and fiber. (I’m totally making sweet potato fries over the fire. Wilson, you’re next! You delectable puffy golden brown s’more, you!)
Ok, now for my last choice. (Big puff of air through small opening of mouth.) Man, this is tough. I have many nutrient holes to fill such as Vitamins E and K, some of the B vitamin family, iron, and the list goes on.
The first food that comes to mind to fill these holes is spinach. Spinach is high in Vitamins C, A, and K, and folate, and is a good source of calcium, iron, and Vitamins E, B2 and B6. But even a 10-ounce package of spinach, a half-gallon of milk, and five cups of sweet potatoes, providing a total of 2137 calories, would leave me deficient in Vitamin E, iron, and zinc, and exceeding the safe upper limit for magnesium and calcium, and extremely exceeding the upper limit for Vitamin A.
Really Wilson, I hope this helps you realize you really can’t live off of just three foods and achieve all your daily requirements of every vitamin and mineral. It would be extremely hard. But what do you know about hard; you’re a marshmallow.
Please, don’t let Wilson and I carry on this ridiculous dialogue alone. Leave your comments below. What three foods would YOU take with you on this desert island?