Understand What’s in Your Food–
When I was in high school, I kept the latest nutritional information booklets by my bedside table. I would read them to help me understand what foods should be on my “good” list if I wanted to be in shape. Unfortunately, I followed the wrong advice and began eating mostly low-fat foods, essentially high carbohydrate and highly processed foods. These low fat, processed foods on the ‘good food list” lacked the essential nutrients we need to stay healthy and fit. Now we know the guidance in those nutrition booklets was not only pretty bad, it was dead wrong. I wish I had known then what I know now.
Food is Medicine
We’ve come a long way baby since the low fat, high carb diets became the rage in the 70’s. We now know the guidance back then to eat low fat, high processed foods was completely wrong. We now have long term studies and decades of evidenced based research that reveal the truth: Food is Medicine. The right foods have the power to keep us alive. The wrong foods consumed over many years have the power to threaten our survival and hasten an early death.
Can an “Apple a Day” Help Keep Death Away?
We’ve moved on from the cliché, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” to serious talk: “An apple a day keeps cancer away”. Now we are moving to even more serious talk: “An apple a day keeps early death away!” So, what’s in the proverbial “apple”? How does the proverbial “apple a day” help keep death away? Well, it’s back to our basic A, B, C’s of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
We need to understand what vitamins and minerals are in the food we eat and what they do for our bodies. Vitamins and minerals are essential and necessary for our bodies to function at the cellular level. Unfortunately, and alarmingly, the modern-day diet worldwide is lacking in sufficient amounts of the essential vitamins and minerals humans need to live well and live long. Many people are dying too young due to consuming so much bad food and not enough good food.
Poor Diet is Associated with 20% of Deaths World-Wide
Poor diet is associated with 1 in 5 deaths world-wide, according to a new large study. That’s 11 million deaths a year due to putting the wrong foods in our mouths. The study, published in the journal, The Lancet, tracked trends in consumption of 15 dietary elements from 1990 to 2017 in 195 countries. These included diets low in fruits, vegetables, legumes (peas and beans) whole grains, seeds, milk, fiber, calcium, seafood, omega 3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fats, and diets high in red meat, processed meats, sugar -sweetened beverages, and trans fatty acids and sodium. These are diets low in good foods and high in bad foods.
Essential Vitamins and Minerals Our Bodies Need to Function
We all need to understand the basics of nutrients in the food we eat. We need to understand what vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function properly so we can eat what we need to keep our bodies functioning well. If you don’t want to be a chronically malnourished, underproductive, at risk for early onset of chronic disease, or early death, be sure you are getting enough of the following vitamins and minerals:
Vitamin A functions include the formation and maintenance of teeth, bones, soft tissue, white blood cells, the immune system, and mucus membranes.
Vitamin B1 enables the body to use carbohydrates as energy. It is essential for glucose metabolism and plays a key role in nerve, muscle and heart function.
Vitamin B5 know as Pantothenic Acid helps turn the food you eat into the energy you need. It’s important for many functions, especially breaking down fats.
Vitamin B6 is involved in protein metabolism, brain development during pregnancy and infancy as well as immune function.
Vitamin B12 helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and. Helps make DNA, the genetic material in cells.
Biotin helps turn protein, fat, carbohydrates you eat into energy you need.
Vitamin E helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and helps boost the immune system to fight bacteria and viruses.
Vitamin K is important for blood clotting and healthy bones.
Phosphorous is an essential mineral that your body uses to build healthy bones and teeth, create energy and make new cells.
Calcium is important for building and protecting bones and teeth. It plays important roles in other functions including nerve, muscle and heart function.
Sodium is used by the body to control blood pressure and blood volume. Your body also needs sodium for your muscles and nerves to work properly.
Magnesium is important for many processes in the body including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels and blood pressure, and making protein, bones, and DNA.
Iron is a mineral the body needs for growth and development. Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Your body also uses iron to make myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles. Your body needs iron to make some hormones and connective tissue.
Iodine is used by the body to make thyroid hormones. These hormones control the body’s metabolism and many other important functions. The body also needs thyroid hormones for proper bone and brain development during pregnancy and infancy.
Fluoride is contained in bones and teeth. Your body needs fluoride for the formation and health of bones and teeth.
Zinc helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. The body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA, the genetic material in all cells.
Copper works with iron to help the body form red blood cells. It also helps keep the blood vessels, nerves, immune system and bones healthy. Copper also aids in iron absorption.
Chromium is an essential nutrient for sugar and fat metabolism. Normal dietary intake of Cr for humans is suboptimal. Most diets contain less than 60% of the minimum suggested intake of 50 micrograms. Insufficient intake of chromium leads to symptoms similar to those observed for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Selenium is important for reproduction, thyroid gland function, DNA production and protecting the body from damage caused by free radicals and from infection.
Learn Basics of Nutrients, Vitamins, and Minerals You Need to Live!
Whether you or someone in your family suffer from a chronic disease or not, it’s essential to get informed on the basics of food nutrients. It’s not only about what not to eat, but more importantly it’s about what to eat to stay well and live well with zest! Here is my free E-book that provides comprehensive nutrient information, the best food sources for each nutrient, and recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals. Click here to receive free E-book.
I am a widow and I want to live as long as possible to be here for my two sons. I live by the mantra that Food is my Medicine. I need to eat well to take care of my body and be here for my sons. For my own benefit, I gathered a summary of what I needed to know to be informed about nutrients in food and now I’d like to share it with you. It’s exciting and empowering to get to know food as medicine on a more intimate level.
Click here to receive free E-book of comprehensive nutrient information, the best food sources for each nutrient, and recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals.
What I’ve learned is it’s important is to love good food and to feed our bodies the good food that loves us back. Love your body by eating foods with the essential vitamins and minerals that will help keep you healthy and strong. Learn what foods are the best sources to help you live long and live well with zest!
Cheers to Living Well with Zest!
Written by Bev Hope
Reviewed by Board Certified MD
Well with Zest Disclaimer: We are not medical doctors or RD’s, and we do not treat disease. The information provided does not substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment by your doctor or other qualified clinician.