Nutrition – Foundation for Life: is one of the key elements responsible for developing and maintaining optimal health. Optimal health is defined and understood as a state of where your mind, body and soul/spirit are functioning in optimal unison together.
What is Nutrition?
Previously the references to nutrition mainly involved molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetic variations. However, there is far more to nutrition in fulfilling the body’s requirements for healing, repair and optimal health. Nutrition has now become more focused on metabolism and metabolic pathways – biochemical steps through which substances inside us are transformed from one form to another in order to nourish, heal and keep the body functioning in optimal health.
Naturopathic and integrative medical studies focus on how proper or adequate nutrition can prevent disease, ill-health and other debilitating problems, that can be prevented, reduced and sometimes reversed with a change of diet. That being from unhealthy, processed foods to fresh wholesome foods.
To allow Nutrition to be the building block and foundation for optimal health it is essential that an understanding and identification of how certain diseases and conditions can be caused by dietary factors, such as poor or unhealthy diet bringing about malnutrition, food allergies and food intolerances. It is the increase of chemically laden processed, packaged and fast foods being readily consumed as part of the norm daily diet that these chemicals are causing toxic poisoning leading to ill-health and disease. Making your diet a chemical bomb that instead of nutrition being a building block and foundation for Optimal Health it is breeding ground for ill-health and disease.
Optimal Nutrition is dependent on eating a wide variety of Fresh, Healthy Foods Everyday
An example of this would be to eat four or five different vegetables each day such as –
Sweet potato (more nutritious that regular potatoes): Pumpkin, Carrots, Broccoli, Spinach, Carrots, Peas, Kale, Cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, Cabbage, Capsicum and Healthy protein see below:
Example serve per day: 1 x Sweet Potato: 1 x pumpkin 1 x Broccoli, 1 x Kale 1 x Peas
You can change these around on a daily basis or every few days. For extra flavour and health support add onion and garlic when cooking these vegetables.
Bake, Roast or Stir fry your firm vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potato: less cooking in needed for your softer vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, spinach, even cauliflower is nice with little cooking, capsicum.
Salads can include your baked vegetables and raw vegetables, dark green vegetables and lettuces.
Fruit eat two to three pieces per day – Choose from ½ cup of berries, 1 banana, 1 apple, 1 pear, pineapple, and kiwi fruit. There are many different fruits that are great to choose from these are just a few.
Healthy Protein sources: Chicken without the skin, Lean red meat occasionally, Fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines. Beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, artichokes, root vegetables, soy beans and eggs
Eating a Rainbow of Colours
The benefits of eating a variety of colours with your fruit and vegetables, is because they have specific health benefits and support certain functions in your body. So focus on getting some of each colour in your diet every day for maximum nutritional benefits.
Fruits and vegetables generally contain little fat, cholesterol or sodium and provide complex carbohydrates, fiber and nutrients. Most are low in calories, and they contain natural sugar, as opposed to refined sugar. Refined sugar being the cause of abrupt fluctuations in your blood sugar level.
Red fruits and vegetables, such as raspberries, tomatoes, guava, watermelon, red cabbage, kidney beans, cherries, strawberries and beets, are rich in the antioxidants lycopene and anthocyanins. A medium raw tomato provides 3.2 micrograms of lycopene, a carotenoid that helps your body make vitamin A. Although there is no set daily value for lycopene, research by the Mayo Clinic recommends getting 2 to 30 milligrams per day.
Orange and Yellow
Most orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are rich in beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A, a nutrient that not only improves night vision, but also helps keep your skin, teeth and bones healthy. They also contain folate, an antioxidant that prevents neural tube defects in unborn infants. A 2-cup serving of sliced cantaloupe provides 541 micrograms of vitamin A, more than 100 percent of your recommended daily intake of 500 micrograms, and 67 of the 320 micrograms of folate you need each day.
Green vegetables are good for your eyes, bones and teeth, and their vitamin K content helps your blood to clot properly. A 2-cup serving of raw spinach provides 290 of the 90 to 120 micrograms of vitamin K you need each day. These foods’ antioxidant vitamins, particularly vitamins C and E, have been found to lower your risk of chronic diseases. They provide the phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which may protect you from vision loss due to eye diseases such as macular degeneration, according to North Dakota State University.
Blue and Purple
Blue and purple fruits and vegetables contain anthocyanins, natural plant pigments with powerful antioxidant properties that may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. They also contain flavonoids and ellagic acid, compounds that may destroy cancer cells, according to Cancer Research. The anthocyanins and ellagic acid in blueberries have been shown to fight cancer cells in the lungs, stomach, breasts and pancreas. Anthocyanins and ellagic acid also show anti-inflammatory properties that may prevent cancers of the esophagus and colon.
White fruits and vegetables, including apples, pears, bananas, cauliflower and cucumbers, are high in dietary fiber, helping to protect you from high cholesterol, and antioxidant-rich flavonoids, such as quercetin, which is abundant in apples and pears. They may also lower your risk of stroke, according to a group of Dutch researchers who published a study with the American Heart Association in 2011. After a 10-year diet study, they found that people with a high intake of white fruits and vegetables had a 52 percent lower risk of stroke.
By increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables and lowering your intake of animal protein will decrease your risk of bowel cancer, stomach cancer and will improve your immune function.
There are so many reasons and benefits that you will reap by making positive improvements to your daily eating:
Here are the Top 5
Better Quality of Life right through to your mature years. Long, healthy life – Research shows that by consuming a healthy diet, you will live longer, be more vital and happier.
Reduced risk of disease – Nutrition has a positive impact on preventing and recovering from any form of disease, examples include heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. Eliminating the risk of obesity that causes a myriad of health problems.
Digestion and stomach disturbances such as heartburn, indigestion and other digestive dysfunction when no which can lead to disease states such as cancer. Fresh foods and produce have a positive effect on healthy digestion that is essential for optimal nutrient transport to your organs with improved cellular function to support healthy ageing.
Mental Health: the brain and nervous system require essential nutrients only available from the foods you eat. These being mainly your purple and green vegies. It has been recorded that there is little evidence of dementia and alzheimers in people who have eaten their green vegetables.
Healthier kids – Kids body’s grown at an enormously fast rate as you are well aware of. By including Fresh foods that provide optimal nutrition will definitely be of great benefit to your children’s health and in the future. Breastfeeding your baby and introducing fresh healthy vegetables and fruit from the time they are ready for solid food is the key to your child’s road to healthy eating.