People today do not eat as well as they did even 30 years ago and many of us are starved for essential nutrients and don’t even realize it. With today’s fast paced lifestyles, it’s more convenient to grab a fast food meal or energy bar then to cook up a balanced meal full of the nutrients our bodies need to work their best.
Our diets are woefully lacking in fruits and vegetables which provide us with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fiber that help your immune systems fight off illness and disease. And when we do eat fruits and vegetables chances are they are full of pesticides and chemicals. No wonder our health on the whole is declining!
Below are several essential nutrients that are probably missing from your diet. Going for the quick fix and replacing them with supplements won’t make up for the synergistic effects of these nutrients found in food and if you want to avoid the harmful effects of pesticides then it’s best to go with organic foods when possible.
Vitamin A gives us healthy eyes as well as helps to maintain the linings of the intestinal, respiratory, and urinary tracts. It also helps keep our skin healthy. To get more vitamin A in your diet, eat darkly-pigmented foods such as spinach, carrots, winter squash, kale, and sweet potato.
Vitamin C is needed in order for our body to create collagen, which is basically the glue that holds our skin, bones and blood vessels together. It also aids in making brain chemicals, neutralizing damage from free radicals, and metabolizing cholesterol. Vitamin C has also been shown to help reduce arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. To add this vitamin to your diet, drink add a glass of orange juice or eat an orange every day. Other foods that contain vitamin C are strawberries, kiwifruit, red bell peppers, cantaloupe, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to neutralize free radicals and protect cells from damage. It plays a key role in the immune system and can even help prevent the common cold as well as lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Foods high in vitamin E include sunflower kernels, almonds, and sunflower oil especially when used in salad dressings, which helps you get nutrients from the vegetables as well as carry the vitamin E into the bloodstream.
Fiber is the part of fruits, vegetables and whole grains that is not digested. Whole grains can lower your heart disease risk by 30 percent. It is recommended that you get 14g of fiber for every 1000 calories you eat. To get more fiber in your diet have a 1/2 cup serving of Fiber One cereal and add more beans to your diet. Switch to whole grain bread and eat lots of fruits and vegetables with your meals.
Calcium helps us build and maintain healthy teeth and bones. It prevents bone-thinning osteoporosis and also contributes to healthy blood pressure. Recent studies have shown that calcium can reduce the risk of colon cancer. To get enough calcium, drink three glasses of low-fat or fat-free milk a day, or eat eight ounces of fat-free yogurt along with 2-3 ounces of low-fat cheese evert day.
Magnesium and Potassium
Magnesium works together with calcium and along with potassium it is linked to healthy blood pressure. These two nutrients are also though to help protect against osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. To get more magnesium, add a half-cup of bran and cooked spinach each day. For more potassium, eat sweet potatoes, white potatoes, bananas, and white beans.
Research has shown that vitamin B1 (also known as thiamine) plays a key role in diabetic health. In addition to kidney dysfunction, thiamine deficiency has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular problems. It is an essential nutrient first classified in 1936 by the chemist Robert Williams.
Thiamine is one of eight water-soluble B vitamins. All B vitamins help the body to convert carbohydrates into glucose (sugar), which is “burned” to produce energy. These B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, are essential in the breakdown of fats and protein.
Thiamine is similar to other vitamins in the B group in that itâ€™s helps relieve stress, and increases the immune system. It is found in both plants and animals and also plays an important role during exercise, when you use a lot of energy.
Thiamine deficiency is rare, but tends to occur in people who get most of their calories from sugar or alcohol. Individuals with thiamine deficiency have difficulty digesting carbohydrates. As a result, a substance called pyruvic acid builds up in the bloodstream, causing a loss of mental alertness, difficulty breathing, and heart damage. In general, thiamine supplements are primarily used to treat this deficiency known as beriberi.
In a new study researchers recruited 40 type 2 diabetics who received 300 mg of vitamin B1 or a placebo daily. Those in the thiamine group had significant reduction in urinary albumin excretion. Actually 35 percent of the B1 subjects, urinary albumin excretion returned to normal levels.
The team stated a high dose of supplemental thiamine may provide “improved therapy for early-stage diabetic nephropathy.”
An organic super food from Brazil packing a healthy dose of nutrients. Just the mention of a product coming from the Amazon has the overtones of possessing mysterious health benefits. Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is the high-energy berry of a special Amazon palm tree. Its nutritional benefits are so powerful, Studies have shown that the Acai berry is one of the more nutritious and powerful foods on the planet. Harvested in the rainforests of Brazil, Acai tastes like a mix of berries and chocolate. Hidden within its purple pigment is what makes it the perfect energy fruit. Acai is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. You probably won’t find it in your local supermarket, but you may have better luck at health food stores, or from the many products springing up online.The benefits of Acai are purported to be good for detoxing and maintaining optimal health for balancing your pH level. Proper pH balance is vital to our immune health and for disease prevention and correction.