Understanding Nutrition and its Importance
In my mind, understanding nutrition should, by right, be a simple thing. After all, you mean, after thousands of years, human beings still do not know what is best for our bodies? But, the reality is, there is so much health and nutrition information out there, so many kinds of supposed 'healthy diets', it really can get very confusing! Where do we go, then?
Below are links to various pages discussing food, diet and nutrition in more detail.
Click to go direct to each different topic.
Vegetarian-related Pages under "Understanding Nutrition"
What is a Vegetarian?
What Do Vegetarians Eat?
Different Types of Vegetarians
Pros & Cons
Planning a Diet
Organic-related Pages under "Understanding Nutrition"
What is Organic Food? | Definition of Organic Food
About Natural and Organic Food - some thoughts
You may wish to visit Starting-a-Garden.com to learn about organic gardening for beginners.
Raw Food-related Pages under "Understanding Nutrition"
Thoughts on Raw Food Lifestyle and Eating Raw
Whole Food-related Pages under "Understanding Nutrition"
A Whole Food Diet - some thoughts | Benefits of Whole Foods Diet Choices
Healing With Whole Food
Glycemic Index-related Pages under "Understanding Nutrition"
What is the Glycemic Index? - the glycemic index explained
Benefits of Low Glycemic Diets and Low Glycemic Food
Glycemic Index of Foods - limitations of the value
Eating Low Glycemic Foods - some tips | Glycemic Index Listing of Foods
Low Glycemic Food List | High Glycemic Foods to Avoid or Cut Down on
Other Food, Diet & Nutrition related Pages
More Than 10 Superfoods To Add To Your Diet
DISCUSSION ON "UNDERSTANDING NUTRITION AND ITS IMPORTANCE"
The importance of the right nutrition for health
by Webmaster, All4NaturalHealth.com
There is a reason for the saying "you are what you eat". After all, a building is only as strong as the quality of bricks which are used to build it. Therefore, it is critical to eat the right food for health. This is a very useful analogy in understanding nutrition.
There are in fact two deeper ways to look at the statement "you are what you eat".
Firstly, it's not just what you eat and drink - it's also about what your body is able to absorb. Assimilation of nutrients is very important, and many of us are lacking in this aspect. There are several main reasons for this - leaky gut, intestines which are clogged up with years of waste, lack of enzymes, etc.
I would also go further and add that "you think what you eat" and "you feel what you eat". You may not know this, but yes, the foods we eat not only affect our physical bodily functions, but also impact our mental functions and our emotions!
One key to understanding nutrition is knowing that the foods in our diet provide the fuel and nutrition for every single function in our bodies. Superior nutrition and health cannot be divorced. When our diets are wrong, improper or lacking, there are a hundred ways our bodies could go out of whack.
A poor diet and the wrong foods can result in:
The next step in understanding nutrition is knowing that, when combined, the above negative factors can lead to the development of serious degenerative diseases. Of course, diet only forms one part of the whole story, as our lifestyle habits, living environment and mental and emotional outlook also very directly impact our health.
In understanding nutrition, we have to next realize that food and diet must form the foundation of any health promoting lifestyle or protocol.
It all makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Firstly, as I had mentioned earlier, you can't build a strong house using flimsy bricks and substandard cement.
Many people today, myself included, use modern health-promoting devices and gadgets. In my opinion, some of these machines are good supplementary measures to take, especially because the lives we live today are highly toxic and stressful.
However, you may have the best drilling machinery, the most high-tech cranes, modern trucks and other sophisticated equipment, but if your raw materials are weak and of poor constitution, just HOW are you going to build a strong house?
How about natural, vitamin, mineral, herbal and other kinds of supplements? They form part of the raw materials too, right?
Yes, they do. But in terms of weight and volume, these supplements form only a small fraction of our total food intake. Hippocrates, widely regarded as the father of modern medicine, wisely told us to use 'food as our medicine'. That is a key statement in understanding nutrition and its importance.
Most of us living in more developed cities have horrible diets. We eat little natural and fresh foods, especially raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts; while stuffing ourselves with large amounts of harmful processed foods and fast food.
Our diets are high in saturated and unhealthy fats, refined sugar, carbohydrates, cholesterol, protein, etc, while lacking in vitamins, essential minerals, enzymes and other beneficial food substances such as phytochemicals (plant chemicals).
Worse still, the foods we eat contain a lot of harmful chemicals and substances, such as pesticides, hormones, steroids, artificial flavorings, preservatives, etc. This modern day diet is literally a disease and death promoting disaster!
So, then, amidst all the food and health information out there, what exactly is the best diet for health?
In my view, there may not be a simple, clear-cut answer for this. There are dozens of different kinds of supposed health-promoting diets. In my journey of understanding nutrition, the biggest controversy I've encountered is perhaps whether or not to eat meat.
On the page on good health habits, I encourage the consumption of a vegetarian diet. (Note that there are different 'degrees' of vegetarianism. For example, vegans do not eat animal by-products such as eggs and milk.)
In understanding nutrition and its importance, I read and listen to several experts. And vegan diets are strongly advocated by many proponents of natural health and healing, including Dr Richard Schulze, the famous herbalist, and Dr Lorraine Day, the medical doctor who undertook a natural healing protocol and recovered fully from late stage breast cancer, among others.
On the other hand, 'official' nutrition and health information provided by mainstream medical and health authorities maintain that meat and dairy products form essential parts of a healthy diet.
Some even say not eating meat would lead to nutritional deficiencies. Personally, I don't buy that theory. After all, there are millions of strong and healthy vegetarians in the world, and most of them are in much better shape than meat eaters.
Let me briefly discuss some famous diets.
A particular one is the 'Atkins Diet', which advocates high protein and low carbohydrate consumption.
Another diet is the 'Macrobiotic Diet', which emphasizes the consumption of natural, whole and unprocessed foods. It includes certain kinds of meat, but cuts down drastically on sweet foods, including fruits.
There is also the 'Budwig Protocol', which has been used successfully for over 50 years to treat many serious diseases, especially cancer. No meat is allowed in the diet, although cottage cheese is a core component, while yoghurt and milk may also be used.
Then there is the 'eat right for your type' diet or blood type diet, which abides by the theory that people belonging to different blood groups need different types of diets to enjoy optimum health.
The truth is, many people are enjoying great health and / or have been healed from many life-threatening conditions, even cancer, on many different types of diets. So, then, there must be valid truth in each of them.
Despite all the differences and controversy, there are some common takeaways which we can apply to our own diets.
One thing I wish to address is meat-eating.
Meat causes high cholesterol, clogged arteries, heart disease, stroke, and other serious ailments. This is an undeniable fact. Studies show that vegetarians suffer less from these diseases.
There are also studies which reveal that vegetarians live longer than meat eaters.
And I'm quite sure you know that much of today's meat is produced in an unethical and unhealthy manner, and contain many toxins such as drugs, steroids, hormones, etc.
Whether or not you believe that meat-eating is necessary for good health, detrimental to health, or if you are somewhere in between, the reality I've discovered in my journey on understanding nutrition is that most of us today are eating way too much meat. It's not only killing us, it's also killing the environment.
If you don't want to go vegetarian, do at least try to eat less meat.
Meat, milk, processed foods, refined sugar, alcohol, prescription drugs, etc - these make our body terrains acidic, which in turn provides an ideal environment for the development of chronic degenerative diseases, including cancer.
Most of us need to alkalize our bodies, and foods which help do so include raw fruits and vegetables and fresh juices. This is another key factor of understanding nutrition - alkalize our bodies!
Do I even need to say this? Avoid fast food. It is low in nutrition, (too) high in fat, carbohydrates, protein, and generally very unhealthy. I used to love fast food, but barely even touch it nowadays.
Most of us eat too much high glycemic foods i.e. they convert to sugar quickly, thereby raising our blood levels of sugar at an unhealthily quick rate. Eat less of these foods, and consume more low glycemic foods.
Another key point in understanding nutrition is knowing that foods which are natural are better accepted, absorbed and used by our bodies. The result is better nutrition and less harmful metabolic by-products being produced in the digestion process.
Commercially farmed fruits and vegetables are genetically modified and grown using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. When we eat these foods, we consume these chemicals too. Most of them are harmful and carcinogenic!
Genetically modified foods are tampered foods, and it is doubtful if our bodies are able to digest and assimilate them well. The nutrients in naturally grown foods, on the other hand, are in harmony with our bodies and easily absorbed and used.
In addition, commercially raised animals are fed hormones, steroids, drugs, and unhealthy junk foods.
If you can afford it, go organic. Organically grown fruits and vegetables have been shown in studies to have significantly more nutrients than their commercial counterparts. And of course, they are also natural, clean and health-promoting. In addition, organic farming protects our environment.
When fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are cooked, they lose a significant part of their nutrients. Almost all their enzymes, which are critical for proper digestion and vibrant health, are killed by heat.
Most of us eat way too much cooked foods, and we thus need more raw and fresh foods and juices in our diets.
Processed foods are usually devoid of nutrients and contain harmful chemicals such as preservatives and flavorings. Even if they are fortified with vitamins and minerals, these are probably not of natural sources, and thus not well absorbed by the body.
Eat more natural and whole foods, e.g. food which is not genetically modified and which is plucked from a tree or dug from the ground, with no or minimal processing carried out.
Understanding nutrition should not be tough. But it gets confusing with all the conflicting information and different kinds of 'health diets' out there. Perhaps, there could indeed be different answers for different people.
Most of us want an easy health diet. You see, basically, there are two main groups of people, those who 'eat to live' i.e. they view eating as a necessary function to continue existing, and those who 'live to eat' i.e. they enjoy food.
The latter group probably place taste above health, and therefore a healthy diet is not foremost on their priority.
The former group, on the other hand, perhaps view eating as a kind of chore, something which they would like to just 'get out of the way' before moving on to more important things. For this group, they probably just want to order all their food from a counter, or have them ready in cans and packets, or just have to pop them in the oven for ten minutes. If they could, some of them may even choose to get all the food and nutrition they need in a pill! I belong to this group, incidentally.
For more than two and a half decades, I consumed the 'usual' or 'conventional' diet - comprising foods from the different food groups, lots of meat and dairy products, processed foods, soft drinks, etc. I even saw many medical doctors for illnesses and took many kinds of prescription drugs.
But my health never got better. In fact, it spiraled downwards, and I developed new problems as the years went by.
Amazingly, I almost never saw the link between my poor dietary habits and my ill-health. Maybe I did, but pretended not to, because change is always difficult.
It was only when my health deteriorated more, and I panicked, that I started reading up and realizing that my poor dietary habits had played a big part in contributing to my state of health. Only then did I change.
I went vegetarian for some time. Went for more raw foods, kicked out most processed foods, and added organic produce. And I felt much better. It all makes sense.
At the moment, I am feeling my way around, grasping for and settling into a new equilibrium.
You will probably have to do some searching for yourself too - some experimentation, and some trial and error. The tips discussed above could be a good start in finding a better and healthier diet for yourself.
Regarding understanding nutrition, what I do know, is that when you are on a good diet, one which is in harmony with your body and satisfies its nutritional needs, you should not:
Importantly, you should feel good (or at least better).
I wish you all the best in your journey of seeking the best nutrition for life for the wonderful body which has been given to you.
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