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What Nutrients Does My Body Need To Be Healthy

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By Olivia Cross


There are some things people cannot live without. These necessities are found in fresh, organically-grown food. Because food produced for the mass market may not be as wholesome as that grown or raised at home, taking targeted nutrients is now recommended by many health practitioners. "What nutrients does my body need?" often refers to vitamins, minerals, and other supplements.

Research shows that food sold in American grocery stores has almost fifty percent less nutrition than the same products had fifty years ago. This is in part because agricultural land farmed by conventional methods - drenched with chemical fertilizers and tainted by pesticides and herbicides - has fewer minerals than soils did in former days. Picking vegetables and fruits before they are fully ripe also diminishes their food value, as does long periods in cold storage.

The daily diet must provide protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Water is needed for body fluids that digest, transport, and metabolize these elements. Even if the gross amount of calories is adequate, malnutrition may occur if vitamins and minerals are lacking. Remember the sailors who lived on dried beef, peas, and hard tack; many died of scurvy before the need for vitamin C was discovered.

Fats, for instance, easily turn rancid and are harmed by heat. In fact, high heat can turn good fats into toxic substances. Manufacturers of packaged foods often remove healthful fats to extend the shelf life, replacing them with other forms of fat to mimic the desired taste and texture. This is why many people are deficient in important fatty acids, and why experts counsel supplementation for people of all ages.

Many people in even affluent societies suffer from a lack of quality protein. People may limit meat, dairy, and eggs for weight-control purposes or because they have allergies. These important protein sources should be replaced by fish or high-protein vegetables like whole grains and greens. However, many lack the knowledge to plan a balanced diet and in consequence suffer from fatigue, a loss of mental acuity, brittle nails and hair, and other results of dietary insufficiency.

Carbohydrates tend to make up too much of the diet for many. Baked goods, sweets, sugary drinks, and fruit juices are often replacements for whole foods, fresh vegetables, and pure water. Especially when carbohydrates are refined, as in white flour and sugar, the resulting food products are hard to digest and provide little but empty calories. This can cause obesity, diabetes and hypoglycemia, and the fatigue that plagues so many of us today.

Fats are another category that many people don't understand. There are nutrients in fish oils, for example, that cannot be found in any other food. These fats are easily destroyed by processing and can contain environmental pollutants if not taken from cold-water, deep-sea fish. Careful processing and testing is needed to ensure that supplemental fats from fish oil are pure and undamaged.

Other good fats are found in organic whole milk, unprocessed coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, fresh nuts, sardines, and grass-fed meats. Many people avoid fats in a misguided attempt to prevent weight gain. They would do better to cut out refined carbohydrates and sugary drinks.




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