People have realized for a long time that there is a relationship between food, and health.
However, it’s only been in recent years that the true benefits of eating a healthy diet have been understood.
Doctors and nutritionists alike know that there is a connection between nutrition and health due to the role vitamins and minerals play.
It’s not uncommon today for consumers to visit their doctor for their yearly checkups where they are given blood tests that check for vitamin deficiencies.
It may seem strange that in todays modern societies and first world countries that we would be the least bit concerned with nutritional deficiencies, but unfortunately due to the fast-paced, fast-food lifestyle, many people are overfed, but under nourished. TV shows like Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, where he tried to complete a healthy make-over of America’s school lunch programs, and HLN’s “Cook Your Ass Off” bring to light how important eating the right type of food is to the human body.
The truth is, eating the wrong food causes most of the illnesses first world inhabitants experience today. Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, some cancers, tooth decay, osteoporosis, and even depression can be traced to issues with people not eating meals composed of the right type of nutrition. There is even evidence today that many autoimmune illnesses like Fibromyalgia are linked to a deficiency of vitamin D (Pain Medicine, Volume 13, Issue 3, Pages 452-458).
Thankfully, humans are resilient, as you learn more about nutrition and how it affects your health, once you make the changes the results are usually dramatic and astounding. And, the thing is, it’s not even that difficult. It really is simple. The truth is that good health boils down to this: Eat as close to nature as possible, eat mostly plants, drink water, move around, get plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Supplement only when truly necessary.
Whether you choose a vegan lifestyle or one of everything in moderation — you can eat healthy, increase your nutritional quotient, and improve your health dramatically by understanding the role that nutrition plays in your health and disease prevention. In addition it helps to know where (and how much) fat, fiber, protein, and the various vitamins and minerals come from. Due to the commercialization of food and corporations lobbying the government, our information is tainted, the answers my surprise you.
Food Allergies & Intolerances
Some people have additional challenges to getting proper nutrition from their food such as food allergies and intolerances. Thankfully, true food allergies are rare. But, many people have serious food intolerances and should pay attention to those, avoiding the offending foods whenever possible.
Sometimes a problem surpasses a simple intolerance or even an allergy and becomes an actual disease. Celiac Disease has been in the press and in the forefront a lot lately. Part of the reason has to do with so many processed foods happening to contain gluten. Celiac disease is a condition where it is very dangerous for a person to ingest gluten due to the fact that their body lacks the ability to properly digest it.
Due to the reaction these people have from gluten they have experience actual damage to their stomach lining which then prevents them from absorbing nutrition through their food. If not caught soon enough Celiac Disease can actually be life threatening. Fortunately, you can do without gluten in your diet if needed by using substitutes. Today there are many substitutes available to help people who need gluten free food eats nutritionally healthy meals.
It’s become popular to eat for food issues when people don’t actually have food issues. There is no point in doing that. All you are doing is limiting the ways in which you can get the right nutrients through your diet. Don’t borrow problems from other people that don’t exist for you. You want to eat a wide variety of food, in mostly plant form, to get the nutrition that you need so that you are healthy, feel good, and avoid diseases when possible.
If you believe you might have a food intolerance, allergy or disease talk to your healthcare professional about your options.
9 Tips for Successfully Adding More Nutrition to Your Diet
Eating a more nutritious diet isn’t actually very hard. In fact, once you get used to avoiding processed food, excess processed sugars and the like, and within 30 days you will feel so good that it won’t be hard at all. However, getting through the first 30 days can be challenging. Some research suggests that many processed foods are addictive due to the additional flavonoids and killer combination of fat, sugar and salt. Due to that addiction, you might feel slightly worse before you get better, but not for long.
A properly balanced diet will improve digestion, energy, and weight will seemingly without trying become normal. Due to the fact that eating a diet full of nutrition that is as close to nature as possible, tastes good to, it will soon become second nature. Here are some tips to help you get a handle on your nutritional needs and stick to it.
1. Keep It Simple — Don’t overcomplicate anything to do with food. You don’t have to be a trained chef to prepare delicious meals for yourself or your family. Remember that most people typically rotate 12 to 14 meals all year long. If you discover nutritious meals that you and your family enjoy, there is no reason not to eat them every week.
2. Start Slow — Don’t try to change overnight. There is one caveat to this idea. If you are truly ill right now, if you have heart disease, or diabetes or other major illnesses, you might want to consider “going cold turkey” but if you are currently not in danger of imminent death, you can take it slow. Change one bad habit a week, and by the end of the year you’ll be a lot better off.
3. Remember The 80/20 Rule — You’ve likely heard of the Pareto Principle. This started as an economic principle but it can be used in every aspect of life. It says that 80 percent of your outcomes can account for 20 percent of your efforts. With food, we’ll flip that a bit and say that if you’re 80 percent “perfect” with your nutritional choices you’ll see the most results. The other 20 percent doesn’t really matter as much as you might think.
4. Eat The Rainbow — No, this isn’t about eating Skittles, in fact, you should never eat Skittles. Instead, eat nature’s skittles, sweet veggies, fruit and greens in all the colors of the rainbow when consumed in abundance will give you more energy, give you more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than any other food group. What’s more, when you eat them raw or cooked without additives, you can pretty much eat all you care to.
5. Healthy Carbs & Whole Grains — Incorporate healthy carbs and whole grains into your diet every single day. Starting your day with a big bowl of steal cut oats with fruit and some almond milk is super nutritious and healthy. You’ll feel better all day long. Your digestion will be improved you’ll get your metabolism hopping, and you won’t crave junk.
6. Eat When Hungry — One of the biggest problems with “diets” is that when people get hungry their natural instincts take over. They start craving the highest calorie items they can find. That usually means some form of fat, sugar and salt. Like donuts, cookies, chips, and processed cereals. Remember, it’s just nature. Anytime you get hungry, eat.
7. Plan Ahead — Taking the time to plan your meals and snacks for the coming week is an essential part of ensuring that you get enough nutrients in your diet to help get healthier and retain health. Lack of planning will have you in the drive-thru in no time. You’ll be tired, hungry and that natural instinct we talked about before will kick in. After all, you must eat, and the human body is designed to ensure that you eat the calories it needs.
There are even some studies that suggest calories are only half the problem. Someone can eat a 2000 calorie fast-food “dinner” and then be hungry an hour or two later. Why? Lack of nutrients. The body seeks more food to get the nutrients by signaling hunger. Eat enough nutrients some say, and you’ll be less hungry.
8. Drink Fresh Filtered Tap Water — So many people go for the bottled water, but the truth is, unless there is something wrong with your water supply, bottled water is not cleaner or healthier than tap water. In some cases tap water tests better than bottled water. You do want to invest in a charcoal filter for your tap to ensure that some contaminants stay out and so that your water tastes better.
9. Get Moving — While nothing to do with nutrition, it has everything to do with how your body feels. As you eat better you’ll find that you have more energy. You’ll need to find a way to burn that energy. Find a way to burn off some energy each day through moving your body. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 30 minute walk, or three 10 minute walks, try to move for at the minimum of 30 minutes a day.
Getting started on a new lifestyle can be intimidating, but using these tips to help you get started will work. The biggest trick or tip is to build new habits. Instead of having a habit of getting up, pouring out a bowl of sugary cereal or skipping breakfast and going for the coffee, start new habits that will lead to better health. Success isn’t outside of your grasp if you just take it one day at a time.
Foods to Avoid and / or Limit
In your quest to get more nutrition into your body the trick is to eat more foods that are high in important nutrition, vitamins, minerals and micronutrients and less of the foods that do not offer a variety of different nutritional components, and to completely avoid zero nutrition foods. The more nutrition you can get into your body the more you’ll reap the benefits.
Processed sugar has no nutritional value and is on the avoid list. Thankfully, there are alternatives. The alternative should still be limited because they are high in calories, and lower in nutrition than other foods.
* Alternatives: Honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup, and dates are all good substitutes for white table sugar. Some people have bought into the “agave” fad but agave has no nutritional value. However, it is still better than table sugar as it does not affect insulin levels as much.
* Tips: Drink tea with honey and lemon. But, limit honey consumption because it offers few health benefits outside of a few studies that suggest eating local honey may reduce allergies. Do not feed honey to a child under 3 because it may cause botulism. Put a small amount of real maple syrup on your pancakes and top with fresh fruit.
For your morning oatmeal try a little coconut sugar with a handful of raisins and chopped dates. Add a couple of pitted dates to your smoothies. Dates are actually very nutritious, rich in fiber, tannins, vitamin A, B-carotene, carotenoids, iron, potassium, calcium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. You can feel free to ad them for sweetness as much as you want. They make a great dip for apples when soaked in water, then blended in a high speed blender.
Many people get so used to processed food that they don’t realize how bad they are. Frozen TV dinners, and convenience foods have very little to do with actual food in their chemical makeup. Crackers, overly processed cereals, white flour, white rice, white noodles, crackers, chips, cookies, are all made up of processed foods that try to get the most out of fat, sugar and salt to make you crave them.
* Alternatives: Make your own homemade treats. Find alternative recipes that make even treats nutritious. Some specialty stores like Whole Foods are starting to carry more nutritious alternatives but the truth is nothing can beat fruit and crunchy veggies and a healthy dip like date dip, or hummus as a snack.
* Tips: Believe it or not you can make a more healthy chip right at home, simply use a mandolin to cut a potato extra thin, soak in vinegar, pat dry, sprinkle with sea salt, place on parchment paper and microwave on high for a couple minutes a time until crisp. Homemade salt & vinegar chips without the additives.
Eliminating processed foods might be difficult, but you can do it if you give yourself time. It takes 21 days to make a habit, if you start today, in less than a month you can be off processed foods and on to a whole new level of nutrition.
Table salt is very heavily processed salt from underground mines. It has no minerals left other than sodium and chloride. Plus it has been exposed to aluminum to keep it from sticking together. It’s very acidic on the body and can cause a whole host of problems even heart burn, high blood pressure and stroke.
* Alternatives: Many people stop eating any type of salt when they are trying to get healthy but you really don’t have to do that. Simply add sodium at the end of cooking in the form of non-iodized sea salt and dried celery. Your body does need some sodium, so you don’t need to skip it entirely.
* Tips: Some foods are naturally high in sodium and this type is good for you. No need to limit it unless a doctor has asked you to due to a health issue. These foods are asparagus, barley, celery, coconut, cabbage, carrots, lentils, kale, strawberries, seeds, and even raisins. When you learn what natural foods contain sodium you can add them strategically to a meal to up the salt flavor. Even lemon juice drizzled on your salad can trick your taste buds to think it’s eating more salt.
If you have thyroid issues you may want to discuss that with your doctor to find out what kind of salt is the best for you to eat. Some people may need to supplement with iodine when they give up table salt. Others would be putting themselves in danger by doing so. Check with your healthcare professional before using most supplements.
The studies on fat are still confusing to everyone. One person says eat “good fat” and one person says eat “no fat” the next person says you can eat all the fat you want. The fact is, there are two types of fat. Saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fat is worse than unsaturated but they’re both fat. Avoid entirely saturated fats, and limit unsaturated fats in your diet.
* Alternatives: It’s amazing how heavy handed we can become with fat in our diet when not paying attention. Good for you fats like coconut oil, olive oil and grapeseed oil are good alternatives to use and each has their own purported benefits, but you should limit them and only use them when you feel it’s necessary. Get most of your fat needs met through fatty plants like bananas, coconuts, olives, avocados nuts and seeds because these also provide a huge amount of nutritional bang for your fat buck.
* Tips: If making a soup or chili or one pan dish, you won’t miss the added fat at all. Skip it entirely. When you do choose to put in added fats, choose healthier alternative and use a measuring spoon. A huge pan of roasted veggies only needs to be tossed in 1TBS of olive oil with seasonings to be completely coated. Drizzling is dangerous and leads to using too much. Parchment paper is your friend. Put anything that goes on a pan like roasted veggies, pizza, biscuits, etc… on parchment paper instead of spraying with oil and your creations will come out crisp and delicious. Plus clean up is a snap.
There are a lot of myths proliferating started by the food industry regarding fat and fat free products. Even though you want to eliminate excessive fat, many fat free products have extra sugar so you don’t want t use those either. Stick to food in its natural state, and you’ll be a lot better off.
In spite of all the studies that show how good wine is for you, alcohol should be either avoided or limited severely. Drinking one glass of red wine with dinner or after dinner is okay, the benefits can be argued but not as much as other types of alcohol which usually have no benefits whatsoever.
* Alternatives: Create freshly juiced veggies and fruits as a “cocktail”. You can make delicious nonalcoholic and healthy drinks that you’ll enjoy to have on festive occasions that won’t cause problems later.
* Tips: Bring your own concoctions to parties, you can make a delicious virgin marry with your juicer by juicing tomatoes, carrots, and even jalapenos together. Garnish with a lime or olive and enjoy.
It’s okay to go to a party on occasion and have a few drinks. Just accept that they’re not good for you, enjoy them a few times a year and move on. If you find you have trouble giving up alcohol you might want to get professional help if you think you have a problem. However, most people can live just fine and still have fun without alcohol.
If you’re underweight a great thing to eat is raw or roasted unsalted nuts and seeds. But, if you have a weight problem, suffer from constipation, or any heart related illnesses, it’s best to avoid nuts. Limit them if you’re healthy and a normal weight, avoid them if you’ve got any health issues at all including an extra 10lbs. Nuts are high in fats and calories and can make it harder to lose weight. They’re easy to overindulge in too.
* Alternatives: Some seeds are better than nuts in terms of their fat content so if you like to munch on something try a seed. Try munching on grapes instead of nuts or seeds when others are snacking on those types of things.
* Tips: If you pick nuts still in their shells that you must crack, it will take longer to get to the meat of the nut so you’ll eat less. Try to eat nuts raw and as unaltered as possible.
If you find that you are craving a lot of fatty foods like nuts, you might want to check the calorie level of the foods you’re eating. Our bodies are amazing creations and they want you to get enough food. Use an online program to ensure that you are getting enough calories for your desired healthy weight.
High Fat Fruits
In spite of the warnings about eating sugar, fruit is good for you. The sugar in a whole ripe fruit will not hurt you. However, eating too many high fat fruits can be bad on your waistline. If you’re a normal weight you can eat at will all fruits, including high fat ones. If you are overweight or have any health issues, limit high fat fruits such as bananas, coconut, durian and avocados.
* Alternatives: It’s easy to just substitute a high fat fruit for a different one since only very few have high fat contents. Just pick any alternative and eat.
* Tips: Bananas may be high in fat, but they’re good to use in baked goods as a replacement for other unnatural forms of fat. Instead of making guacamole with two avocados you can replace half with organic canned peas, drained. You’ll lower the fat content, up the nutrition, ad it won’t taste much different.
In every fad that starts regarding food and nutrition there is always someone who wants to go off the deep end and tell you to eat more of something. It happened when soy became popular, and it’s now happening with coconut oil. People are adding it to their coffee to get benefits from it. However, these actions are dangerous. Now it’s happening with bananas. You don’t need to eat more than a couple bananas a day. Just eat good, natural food, in as close to its intended state as possible, in reasonable amounts and you’ll be fine. You don’t need to go out of your way, unless you are underweight to get more fat whether it’s so called good fat, or bad fat.
If you look at long term studies it’s true that societies who limit meat consumption are healthier. It’s harder and harder to find societies like that due to the Americanization of the entire world, but it makes sense to pay attention. Besides the only nutrient in most meat is protein and small amounts of B12. You can get most of your protein needs met through plant based sources and if you’re deficient in B12 you’ll need to supplement anyway. Limit if you are otherwise healthy, avoid if you have health problems.
* Alternatives: Most people really only like the flavors associated with meat. You can use the same seasonings on vegetables to get the same idea. Beans, legumes, eggplant, are all good replacements for meat in casseroles. Organic non-GMO tofu is also a healthy alternative and caches the flavors well.
* Tips: Use meat as a condiment instead of the main course in all your meals. Choose lean, organic, grass fed alternatives to get the most healthy choice for you and your family. Try adding shredded veggies to casseroles, spaghetti and using a lot of mushrooms and beans to give a meaty feel.
You can read more about meat, the impact it has on your body, nutrition, and the environment by reading, The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell.
A good source of Omega vitamins, it’s okay to eat fish occasionally. But like most animal sources it should be limited. One problem we are experiencing today is bad practices with farming fish. Even wild caught fish are having issues to the pollutants such as plastic and mercury found in fish. Therefore, due to that you must limit your fish to, once or twice a week and pregnant women must avoid it entirely.
* Alternatives: There really aren’t any alternatives for fish that haven’t been mentioned for meat but if you happen to like tuna sandwiches you can make a non tuna version with canned chickpeas. Just replace your tuna with drained chickpeas. You will be surprised at how good it is.
* Tips: Take care to know where you food comes from. Buy fish that you eat from reputable businesses owners to ensure that they are farmed or caught with sustainable practices in mind.
It is a shame that farming practices, and pollution are causing such a problem with Fish, something that could be a healthy source of B12 and other important nutrients. You can learn more about the problem by reading about unsustainable fishing.
The commercial, “Milk, it Does a Body Good” is kind of misleading. No other animal drinks milk after infancy other than humans. While milk does taste good and offers calcium it also causes a lot of problems for adults such as acne, phlegm, mucus, and heart burn. Milk may seem gentle but it’s actually very acidic and can make it hard for your body to absorb nutrients. It’s better to put milk on the avoid or limit list.
* Alternatives: There are so many alternatives today when it comes to milk. Did you know that there is more absorbable calcium in 3 ounces of kale than in a glass of milk? Almond and rice milk also taste great and don’t cause the same health problems. If you’re sensitive to nuts try rice milk. You can buy it prepared or make your own for a more nutritious and tasty version.
* Tips: Calcium more readily absorbed from plants that dairy products. Most adults need about 1000 mg of calcium per day. Add about 500 more mg if you are an adolescent, pregnant or elderly. You can easily get that by eating leafy green veggies, oranges, oatmeal, sesame seeds( 1 oz o sesame seeds has 280 mg of calcium) and other plant based sources.
Some newer studies have suggested that drinking too much milk could be responsible for an increase in breast cancer and other diseases such as osteoporosis in women. That’s right, new studies are showing that drinking milk may be depleting the calcium in your bones. The problem is that the milk lobby doesn’t want you to know (American Journal of Epidemiology. Vol. 12, No. 5, 1994).
Finally, one of the worst places to find all the substances you should try to avoid is restaurants. The reason the food tastes so good at restaurants is they are high in the what some people refer to as the “Holy Trinity” of food: Fat, Salt & Sugar. When you do find yourself going out, stick to the salad bar and skip the fatty dressings. To give your salad taste use vinegars, peppers, and fat free condiments. If you must indulge, share an entree with two or three people. Most restaurant entrées are enough for a family of four.
The Case for Moderation or Elimination
There is an argument that there is a time and place for everything. But, if someone told you something like “it’s okay to use meth occasionally” you would rightly determine them to be a quack. The same can be said for fast food, junk food, and processed foods. These foods have zero nutritional value and always will.
One should likely not even refer to the above as “food”. There is no real room for moderation when it comes to these types of foods. The impact they have immediately on your body is just like that of a drug, and probably should be classified as a drug. If you incorporate them on a regular basis into your diet even in moderation, you could be buying trouble. These treats are addictive.
However, when it comes to real food, there are still some items you need to practice moderation. You can eat any raw fruit or veggies, other than a couple super fatty ones like coconut, banana and avocado in abundance with abandon. You literally can’t eat too much. But, you can still eat far more of the fatty fruits and veggies that than you can of something like a donut.
So, in all honestly, moderation isn’t something that needs to be worried about other than to mention that it’s important to take it easy on very condensed foods such as nuts, beans, rice, and grains. Food that is high in water content will be hard to over eat due to the large amount of space ingesting those takes up in your stomach. Read the book by Douglas J. Lisle, The Pleasure Trap, to learn about how moderation can still kill you.
There are so many delightful concoctions that you can make out of healthy food, that you might find after some experimentation that eating nutritionally devoid snacks on a regular basis just isn’t as important to you as it once was. There is no deprivation within the abundance of nature. Try a few switches. For instance instead of a caramel apple pie, try to make a dip from blended dates, cinnamon and water (use a high speed blender), then slice apples thinly and dip in the date dip. This treat is delicious and sweet enough that you won’t miss the fake food.
Even so, it’s true, a donut is not meth, and you may decide that your health is good enough to enjoy an occasional donut as long as you realize it is not food, and offers zero nutritional benefit to your body. In addition, “occasional” probably needs to be defined as once or twice a year to indulge in a very small amount of your “drug” of choice, such as on your birthday or anniversary.
Enjoy Your Food
Another component not often talked about when it comes to nutrition is flavor. The truth is food that is also nutritionally complete also tastes good. Our taste buds are designed to like foods that are good for us. Even if you have spent a lifetime eating processed, fake foods, you will come to love whole, natural, unadulterated food. However, there are some instances due to genetics where some foods that are good for you taste bad, like broccoli.
For some so-called “super-tasters” it tastes too bitter to eat, and to others it tastes sweet. But due to the many other green veggies available to choose from there is no reason to eat something that you simply find repulsive. Simply take note of the vitamins and minerals you’re missing by not eating that item, and find a replacement that you do like. Or, find a different preparation method that makes the bitter veggies more palatable, such as steaming. But, don’t force it. It’s important to love your food so that you stick to eating nutritious, healthy meals during your lifetime to build a healthy body that lasts you your entire lifetime.
So many times when someone goes on a “diet” they end up sacrificing a social life to do it. Everything we do as human beings seems to revolve around food. There is an old joke that if it wasn’t for church and social gatherings that there would be no such thing as green Jell-O. Who knows if that’s true or not, but one thing that is true is that socializing and food goes hand-in-hand and that’s okay. Share your bounty with everyone.
Don’t rush meals. It can be very difficult in today’s fast-paced society not to rush. After all, even schools are cutting lunch times. What used to be an hour long school lunch period became a 30 minute one, and in some schools students get only 12 minutes to eat lunch. As crazy as that maybe its part of the problem we have in society encouraging children to eat well, and not associate food with stress.
If you pay attention to where your food comes from, how it’s prepared, and exactly what’s in it, you’ll become more involved in the entire food cycle. When you get involved in the food cycle, that awareness will cause you to naturally choose healthier food. It will be hard to consciously choose the wrong thing when you educate yourself.
Start Each Day Right
It’s not an old wives tale, but starting your day with eating something healthy is imperative to keep your day going well. If you’re like a lot of people who hate eating when you first get up, that’s okay. Don’t force it, but don’t wait too long before you eat something healthy. If you’re not too hungry try starting your day with a green fruit smoothie instead of coffee for longer lasting energy and a metabolism kick.
Avoid Night Time Eating
One of the hardest parts about changing your diet is learning when enough is enough. There are some studies that show that night time eating (when it’s dark outside) is very bad for digestion. If you want to encourage proper digestion which can help you absorb more nutrients from your food, it might be a good idea to try not to eat too long and too much after dark, giving your body a break so it can focus on sleep instead.
The thing that makes food most enjoyable to most of us is to share it. Find ways to enjoy sharing healthy food with your friends and family and you’ll find that your healthy lifestyle not only rubs off on others, but becomes a lot simpler to continue.
Common Nutrition Deficiencies and How to Avoid Them
With all the talk of protein on commercials, magazines, and on the net you’d think the entire first world is suffering from a protein deficiency. But the truth is, outside of literal starvation, no one in the developed world is suffering from a protein deficiency. Most people are getting many times over the amount of protein they need in a nutritional diet. Having said that, there are two common types of nutritional deficiencies today, they are vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
With few exceptions you can get all your nutritional needs met with healthy whole foods. The only exception is vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause many problems such as a type of anemia that can sap your energy. In addition to tiredness, people who have a B12 deficiency can experience weakness, constipation, appetite loss, nerve problems, depression and even dementia. What’s more the damage caused by B12 deficiency, once neurological is not reparable. (NIH.gov)
The problem with B12 is that it comes from bacteria in soil. That’s right, dirt. In some cases meat eaters manage to get enough vitamin B12, however, both meat eaters and vegans are subject to experiencing B12 deficiency. Some people simply lack something called “intrinsic” factor which helps them metabolize the vitamin. Meat eaters tend to get more B12 because animals eat their food from the ground without washing it, thus getting the bacteria into their systems. When you eat the animal you get the B12. Vegans don’t eat animals and like most people, tend to wash their veggies before eating (thankfully). So, due to that problem you may need to supplement.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to increased body pain, lower back pain, and even fibromyalgia. Vitamin D helps your body absorb the calcium that you ingest. A vitamin D deficiency can also cause rickets children and osteomalacia in adults. In addition to bone issues, vitamin D deficiency can lead to nerve problems, and cause a decrease in immunity. The main issue when it comes to vitamin D is D3 and D2. So, if you do choose to supplement, ensure that you choose the right kind (nih.gov)
The problem with vitamin D is that so many people work inside today. The only way to get D outside of supplementation is through the sun. This is harder than it sounds since most people wear sunscreen to protect from contracting skin cancer, plus people tend to shower daily. It requires 24 hours after sun exposure for the vitamin D to metabolize. Unfortunately, the protective benefits of sunscreen also protect you from the good benefits of the sun, which is getting your vitamin D.
Keep in mind it can take years for a deficiency to show up or cause problems, so it’s important to get regular blood tests to check for vitamin deficiency. It also won’t hurt to supplement in low doses both of these vitamins. If you are deficient follow your doctor’s recommendation for supplementation. Neither deficiency is something to sneeze at, so take care to check with your doctor whenever you have any new symptom and get your blood tested at least once a year for blood serum levels to be safe.
Getting Nutrition from Your Food
Outside of the issues mentioned above, for the most part, you can get every nutritional need met via a healthy diet. It doesn’t matter if you want to practice a vegan diet or a paleo diet, it’s fine , the food has what you need to help you prevent disease and even make yourself better if you are already sick due to a food borne illness. You just need to understand what type of nutrition you need and why.
It’s actually quite simple to get enough protein regardless of the diet you choose. Protein is in everything we eat including meat and even leafy greens. Vital for humans, protein is an important nutrient. But, most people only need about 8 to10% of their daily caloric consumption to be from protein and many people can get by with 5%. You can easily get this amount of protein in your day with and without meat, and most people consume much more.
Foods offering a good source of protein besides meat, foul and fish include beans, lentils, legumes, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, tofu, soy milk, veggies and fruits. The important thing to do is eat the appropriate number of calories needed to maintain your weight and you will automatically get enough protein as long as you limit empty calories.
Modern nutritional information comes to light constantly about fat. You have two camps. One camp says avoid saturated fat, and eat moderate amounts of “good fat” from olive oil, fish oil, coconut oil and the like. But there is a new movement that says that any type of processed fat, which is not found naturally in nature, is unneeded. They believe that you can get all the fat you need from whole foods like nuts, avocados, olives, and coconut without adding additional processed fat.
The best way to approach this is based on your current state of health. If you currently are overweight, or suffer from diabetes, heart disease or other illnesses such as those, cutting back on all fat processed fat and eating moderately from natural sources of fat as mentioned above, can only help you.
About 1.2% of your daily caloric intake should be from fiber. For a 2500 calorie diet that means you should eat 30 grams of fiber. A high fiber diet lowers blood pressure, prevents constipation, lowers risk of colon cancer and helps you get more nutrients. High fiber foods include whole grain breads, oats, brown rice, beans, fruits and vegetables.
The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has stated that a diet high in fiber (and low in fat) contributes to a healthy diet that may lower, prevent and reverse obesity, diverticulitis and type 2 diabetes. Fiber can also reduce your risks of colon cancer and breast cancer. The benefits of getting enough fiber are clear, yet most people don’t get enough due to the proliferation of overly processed foods in their diet. To benefit from eating a nutritious diet, don’t forget the fiber.
Most vitamins are abundant in fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes. Eat a variety of these and you will not need to take extra vitamins other than the ones discussed elsewhere in this report. Vitamin B12 and vitamin D (D2 & D3) supplementation should be considered based off the results of your blood tests performed by your healthcare professional. If you choose to supplement without the advice of a physician remember that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
Minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, iodine and others are very important to a healthy, nutritious diet. Thankfully, a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is automatically rich in these minerals. 1 banana for instance, has 450 mg of your daily 4700 mg daily recommendation of potassium. Just eat a wide variety of plant based food and you will be sure to get enough minerals in your diet.
Everyone knows by now that water is an important component in a healthy diet. Most experts recommend 8 glasses of water per day. But, did you know that if you eat a high content of fruit and veggies you’re already getting a lot of your needed water each day. Therefore you can likely drink less to stay hydrated.
The important thing to remember is to drink enough that you don’t often feel thirsty. Sometimes, if you’ve ignored your thirst, you will get a hunger signal instead of a thirst signal. If you get hungry a lot between meals, just try drinking a glass of water first. If you’re still hungry eat some fruit or a snack of carrots and hummus to curb your hunger until the next meal. No reason to go hungry.
While exercise has absolutely nothing to do with nutrition, it’s got to be mentioned that exercise along with a diet high in fruit and vegetables and low in fat is a prescription for good health and disease prevention. You don’t even have to do a lot of exercise each day to get benefits. Try moving around at least 30 minutes a day in an aerobic fashion to get your blood pumping. It’s good for your heart and your lungs. Add an additional 10 minutes of resistant exercise and you’re set.
In order to properly digest the food that you eat, your body needs rest. Most people should sleep at a minimum of 8 hours per night on average. You should sleep the amount of time that makes you feel most energetic so that you can make it through your work day without bottoming out. If you have problems falling asleep at night there are several things you might try such as eating at least 3 hours before bedtime, avoiding liquids more than 1 hour before bedtime, and going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. Being properly rested will help you make better choices throughout our day, including dietary choices.
It’s important to eat at regular intervals throughout the day, but give yourself at least 3 hours between each meal and snack. Your digestive system works better you’re actually hungry when you eat, and when you give your body time to digest. You should be hungry enough that your mouth waters before you eat. This is all part of the natural digestive process that often gets interrupted in most people, causing poor mineral absorption and issues with constipation. Everything goes together when it comes to nutrition and a healthy body.
Why Proper Nutrition is So Important
In our hurried and busy lives we’ve forgotten why nutrition is important. Not only that we’ve gotten confused. There is so much information out there that it can often be confusing, but the truth is nutrition is simple. Eat as close to nature as possible, avoid additives, eat when you’re hungry, and you’ll get, for the most part, the right nutrition for your body.
Maintaining proper nutrition levels will:
* Energize You — If you want to feel great and have plenty of energy, eat energy enhancing food like leafy greens, fruits, and veggies all the colors of the rainbow as much as possible. Think of the fact that you’re adding food, not taking it away. You’re just replacing processed nutritional devoid food with more delicious, natural, health promoting plants.
* Normalize Your Weight — Simply by avoiding processed food, and limiting animal products and replacing those items with more plants you can normalize your weight faster and easier than you ever thought possible. Having a normal weight isn’t just about appearance, but it’s a nice addition to the benefits good nutrition has on your body.
* Boost Immunity — Want to avoid colds, flu, and other illnesses? Eat a nutritionally balanced diet and the benefits will amaze you. It might seem like a pain sometimes, but the thing is, fresh squeezed orange juice tastes good too. Much better for you than pasteurized and proceed things you can get at the store, and you’ll enjoy it more too along with boosting your immunity.
* Improve Moods — We’re just now starting to learn the effects poor nutrition can have on mental health. Studies continue to come out suggesting that vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals play an important part in preventing mental illness, dementia, and other issues including depression. If just eating your veggies can rid you of depression, why not do it?
* Protect Your Gums & Teeth — Gum disease is a precursor to heart disease. When a person is healthy, inside and out they will have less problems overall with their teeth and gums. By eating a healthy diet comprised of all the nutritional components that you need on a daily basis you will give yourself the protection it needs to ward off problems with your teeth and gums.
* Enhance Mental Stamina — Having trouble staying up without that cup of coffee? Try having a green smoothie or green juice every morning instead. It will give you all the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your mind working fast, and help you avoid the post coffee mid morning slump too.
* Improve Physical Performance — When your body gets the nutrients it needs to work at full capacity your physical performance will improve drastically. That might be just the ability to weed your garden, ride a bike, or maybe you’ve had sexual issues in the past. Studies show a diet high in plants often eliminates the need for ED drugs because of improved circulation as arteries become unclogged, also eliminating a need for bypass surgery.
* Act as a Fountain of Youth — Want to look and feel younger, with healthy hair, skin, and clear eyes? Eat high nutrition density foods and within 60 to 90 days you’ll see a huge difference in your appearance. The whites of your eyes will become whiter, your skin will become clearer and even some people report age spots disappearing or getting smaller.
Finally, the biggest change in your health will be the fact that you can and will prevent food borne illness by eating right. You’ll avoid cardiovascular problems which is the number one disease affecting society today due to all the nutritionally devoid foods that are eaten by most people today.
Wrapping It Up
It’s clear that eating right is an important part of being healthy. Studies show that eating right is more important than any one other element of your life to ward off illness and regain health. It’s more important than exercise or any other change that you can make in your life.
Eat Low Fat
Despite the constant parade of high protein diets that prevail the truth is for long term health eating low fat is an essential component of a nutritious diet. Saturated fats are especially problematic. Having too much fat in your diet has shown to cause heart problems and cardiovascular issues for even thin people who have been biopsied. (The China Study)
The problem is the food industry in their desire to increase profits keeps creating so called “healthy” replacements for fat, that aren’t healthy at all. It’s better to just avoid eating fat as much as possible regardless of where it comes from. Stick to eating natural, whole foods and you’ll be safe.
Starch is Not Bad
The much maligned potato is not bad for you. Neither are rice, pasta, breads and cereals that are created as close to nature as possible without additives. It’s what we do to them that makes them bad. Plants are good and it doesn’t matter if it’s a root veggie or another type of veggie it’s good for you. Prepare it correctly, and enjoy them.
Eat Plenty of Fiber
Today, many people are only getting about half the fiber that is recommended. It’s imperative that you ensure that you are eating enough fiber. You can get fiber in more places than bran cereal. It’s in our fruit, beans, breads, cereals and more. Eating a high fiber diet will keep you from getting gallstones, colon cancer and keep you at a healthy weight.
Vitamins, Minerals & Antioxidants
Today the media and commercials seem very concerned about where everyone is getting their protein even though most people get too much. But they don’t mention vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are even more important, and fewer people get enough of than protein. Fruit, veggies and grains are abundant in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which help fight off damaging free radicals. What’s more, people who eat a lot of fruit and veggies have lower incidents of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
What To Do Now
You’ve been given an enormous amount of information. Benefiting from a healthy diet by getting more nutrition into your system isn’t as difficult as you might thing. Everything you need is right at your local grocery store. You don’t need superfoods, and massive amounts of expensive products to get the nutritional benefits from a healthy diet.
The good thing is, you don’t have to give up variety. Did you know that most families recycle the same 12 to 14 meals month after month, year after year, hardly ever eating anything new? It’s likely that with a new, more nutritional diet you’ll introduce more variety, not less into your diet. So, never let anyone tell you that eating well is boring. It’s not. It’s exciting, vibrant, colorful and it all tastes delicious.
Right now what you should do is consider going through your cabinets and tossing out all the processed food you can find, or if you prefer set a date to do so. It’s important not to tempt yourself with these foods being in the house. Your children don’t need them either.
Write out a menu, organize a shopping list, and go shopping. It’s easy to shop when you don’t fill your cart with processed foods. Now you’ll mostly shop around the perimeter of the store, buying all the whole food that you can afford.
Remember the 80/20 rule. You only have to be perfect 80 percent of the time, and do what you want the other 20 percent to see the best results in the changes you make. Over time you might want to try for the other 20 percent but for now, settle on doing what’s right 80 percent of the time and you’ll be shocked at the results you’ll experience in your health by eating highly nutritious meals.
The final step is to eat and enjoy your food. Food was put here for you to enjoy, share, and love. If you choose correctly deprivation will be a thing of the past, and health will be your permanent state of being. Pay attention to how your body feels, get regular checkups with your healthcare professional, and pay attention to your blood work. Before long you’ll experience all the benefits that a nutritional diet has to offer.