Diet has the distinction of being the only major determinant of health that is completely under your control. You have the final say over what does and does not go into your mouth and stomach. You cannot always control the other determinants of health, such as the quality of the air you breathe, the noise youre subjected to, or the emotional climate of your surroundings, but you can control what you eat. It is a shame to squander such a good opportunity to influence your health
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Good nutrition is the foundation of good health. Everyone needs the four basic nutrients water, carbohydrates, protein, and fats, as well as vitamins and minerals. Your body is composed entirely from molecules derived from food. Macronutrients (fat, protein, carbohydrate) and Micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) are absorbed through the digestive tract, whose health and integrity depends fundamentally on what you eat. Your nutritional status determines, to a substantial extent, your capacity to adapt and maintain health. No one diet is perfect for everyone, although there are general guidelines that apply to us all. In Chinese Medicine we look at food to balance your body. For example, if your body constitution is cold and damp and you are eating mainly raw fruits and vegetables which are cool foods, this will create a further imbalance in your body. You would need more warm and drying foods to balance you. If your body constitution is hot and dry and you are eating fried, broiled, fat, rich, and spicy foods which are very warm to the body, this will create further imbalances and exacerbation of your symptoms. You would need cool moistening food such as salads and fruits. At Therapeutic Systems, Inc. we will try to work with you using a unique culmination of Eastern and Western concepts to find out what diet works best for you.
1. Water: Our body is 25% solid matter and 75% water. Brain tissue is 85%water. Water is an essential nutrient that is involved in every function of the body. It helps transport nutrients and waste products in and out of the cells. It is necessary for all digestive, absorption, circulatory, and excretory functions, as well as for the utilization of water soluble vitamins. It is also needed for the maintenance of proper body temperature. Many people think that tea, coffee, alcohol and sodas are desirable substitutes for water. It is true that theses beverages contain water, but they also contain dehydrating agents. They get rid of the water they are dissolved in as well as some more water from the reserves of the body. You should generally drink about 1 quart (32 ounces) per pound of body weight. You would need to drink more if you are very active especially in a hot environment.
2. Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates supply the body with the energy it needs to function. They are the bodys main source of blood glucose which is a major fuel for all of the bodys cells and the only source of energy for the brain and red blood cells. The glucose is either used right away or stored in the liver. If a person consumes more calories than the body is using, a portion of the carbohydrates consumed may also be stored in the body as fat.
There are two groups of Carbohydrates.
Simple Carbohydrates: Also called simple sugars, including fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (table sugar), and lactose (milk sugars) among others.
Complex Carbohydrates: The sugar molecules are strung together to form longer more complex chains. They include fiber and starches. Food rich in complex carbohydrates include vegetables, whole grains, peas, and beans.
When choosing a carbohydrate for your diet, always select unrefined foods such as fruits, vegetables, peas, beans, and whole grain products. Stay away from refined processed foods such as soft drinks, desserts, candy, and sugar. Fiber is also very important. It is part of the plant that is resistant to the bodys digestive enzymes. Therefore only a relatively small amount of fiber is digested as the rest of it moves through the gastrointestinal tract and ends up in stool. Fiber helps retain water, resulting in softer, bulkier stools that prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. High fiber also reduces the risk of colon cancer.
3. Protein: Protein is essential for growth and development. It provides the body with energy, and is needed for the manufacture of hormones, antibodies, enzymes, and tissues (hair, skin, muscle and cartilage) and forms blood protein such as hemoglobin. It also helps maintain the proper acid-alkaline balance in the body. Proteins can be found in meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, beans etc. It is not recommended to eat a large amount of meats due to their high fat content and the use of antibiotics and other chemicals in the raising of cattle and poultry.
4. Fats: Fat is the most concentrated source of energy available in the body. However, the body only requires a small amount after the age of two. Excessive fat intake is a major causative factor in obesity, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and colon cancer. Fats are composed of building block fatty acids. There are three major categories of fatty acids.
Saturated Fatty Acids are primarily found in animal products, including dairy items, such as whole milk, cream and cheese and fatty meats like beef, veal, lamb, pork and ham. The liver uses saturated fats to manufacture cholesterol. Therefore, excessive consumption of saturated fats can lead to high level of cholesterol.
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids are found in corn, soybean, safflower and sunflower oils. Certain fish oils are also high in polyunsaturated fatty acids. The consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids may actually lower your total blood cholesterol level including the good cholesterol, the high density lipoproteins. Therefore, watch your intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Monounsaturated Fatty Acids are found mostly in vegetable and nut oils such as olive, peanut and canola. These fats appear to reduce the bad cholesterol and not affect the good cholesterol.
5. Vitamins are considered micronutrients because the body needs them in relatively small amounts compared with other nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water. They contribute to good health by regulating the metabolism and assisting the biochemical process that releases energy from digested foods. Water-soluble vitamins such as C and B, must be taken daily and cannot be stored in the body. Oil-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K can be stored in the bodys fat and liver for longer periods of time.
6. Minerals are needed for the proper composition of body fluids, the formation of blood and bone, and the maintenance of healthy nerve function. Minerals are stored in bone and muscle tissue. There are two groups of minerals.
-Bulk Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and phosphorus are need in large amounts.
-Trace Minerals such as zinc, iron, copper, manganese, chromium, selenium, iodine etc. are needed in smaller amounts.
|All Content © 2005 Therapeutic Systems, Inc.|