It’s possible to eat lots of food but to still be under-nourished. It might sound crazy, but if you don’t know how to go about constructing a well balanced healthy diet – “well balanced” being the key word, that’s exactly what can happen.
When your well-being suffers
What happens next is that your well-being suffers. Your immune system doesn’t function as well as it should, you start getting inflammation and picking up various illnesses, and developing certain conditions. Then, instead of addressing the root cause of the problem – the fact that you are actually nutrient deficient, – you start to take medications. All you do of course it to help treat the symptoms, but the underlying cause is still there.
What are the basic components of a healthy diet?
First of all, let’s take a look at what nutrition really means. What are its different elements and why are they so important? Basically there are 6 elements to nutrition:
For a good holistic health and well-being point of view you must have the right blend of all 6 elements. It’s important to understand what each of these 6 elements of nutrition do; why they’re so important to us, so let’s address that now.
Your body gets most of its energy from the carbohydrates that you eat. In terms of your body’s daily intake, somewhere around 50% to 60% of your calorific intake should come from this type of nutrition. So if your daily overall calorie target is 2000 calories, this means that between 900 to 1300 of those calories, (or 225g to 325g), should be carbohydrates. Or on a daily target of 1200 calories, the amount of carbohydrate should be between 540 to 780 calories, or 135g to 195g.
Despite what some people think, not all fat is bad; in fact it is an important part of any well balanced nutritional diet. It helps to insulate your body and maintain temperature, whilst also providing a cushion for your organs which helps to protect them from impact damage. In terms of your daily calorific allowance, you should aim for 20% to 35% fat, which means that on an overall target of 2000 calories, between 400 to 700 calories of fat, and on an overall target of 1200 calories between 240 to 420 calories of fat.
Minerals help your body to grow and develop and are divided into two groups; major minerals, and trace minerals.
The major minerals are calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur. All of these are needed in large quantity.
The trace minerals are chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc, all of which are needed in small quantities. The exact amount of both major and trace minerals that your body requires is dependent on each mineral type.
Protein is vital for many body functions, and it helps to grow and maintain our body tissues. When we consume protein from food, our bodies break it down and reconstitute it through genetic instruction into various other types of proteins, each of which has a unique function. Our antibodies, enzymes, hormones, and muscles, are all made from protein. It is also used as an alternative source of energy when carbohydrate and fat levels are low.
The importance of water cannot be overstated. Without it we wouldn’t exist. Our bodies are made up of over 70% water, our blood more than 80%, our brains more than 75%, and our livers almost 96%. Your body uses 2½ quarts of water per day, and in effect, the replacement water that you drink becomes you. The majority of enzymatic and chemical reactions that take place in our bodies are totally dependent on water, and it also acts as a transport medium, moving antibodies, hormones, and oxygen around our body systems. You should be looking to drink at least eight fluid ounces of water per day.
Getting the balance right
As you can see, getting the right amount and balance of nutrition on a daily basis is fundamental, not only for any holistic health lifestyle, but for our body functions and systems too. A nutrient deficiency will affect your body in one way or another – none of them good.
Seven Signs You have a Nutritional Deficiency:
Nutrient deficiency sign # 1 – Your nails
Although it is often said that white spots on your nails indicate a deficiency of zinc, this is not necessarily true. It is however an indication that the nail has undergone some sort of injury or trauma. If however you nail is thin, or has raised ridges, and/or curved inwards, this could be an indication that you are iron deficient, or anemic.
Nutrient deficiency sign # 2 – Leg cramps
Many people suffer from cramps in their legs and calves, especially at night time. This can be an indication that you have a potassium deficiency. If you are physically active during the day, and/or you go to the gym and exercise, you will lose fluids and electrolytes through perspiration. Rehydrating with water does not always replace all of the electrolytes that have dissipated, especially potassium. You can address this by eating certain foods that are rich in potassium, such as bananas, broccoli, grapefruit, and spinach.
Nutrient deficiency sign # 3 – Numbness in Hands and Feet
Some people experience a numbness in their hands and/or feet, thinking it may be a sign of diabetes. Whilst this can be true, it can also however indicate that you have a deficiency of certain B vitamins including B6, B12, plus folic acid. This is because low levels of certain B vitamins can affect the nerve endings in your skin. To help to combat this, you should include lots of dark leafy vegetables in your diet, such as spinach, collard greens, and dark cabbage, plus other lean proteins foods like eggs, legumes, poultry, and whole grains.
Nutrient deficiency sign # 4 – Skin inflammation
The appearance of small, red or white bumps in your skin can also be a sign that you are vitamin deficient. These bumps, (which look a little like acne), usually appear on people’s arms, faces, and thighs, and can be an indication that your reserves of vitamin A are too low. Vitamin A assists your pores to shed dead skin, which, if left in place can cause clogging which will promote the growth of acne bacteria. To replenish your levels of vitamin A, include plenty of colorful vegetables in your diet, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, plus some dark green leafy vegetables too. All of these are rich in beta-carotene, a substance which is known to be a precursor to vitamin A.
Nutrient deficiency sign # 5 – Feelings of anxiety and/or depression
The lack of certain vitamins (B6, B12, C and D), minerals, (calcium, chromium, iron, and selenium), and fatty acids, (Omega 3 and Omega 6), can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.
Nutrient deficiency sign # 6 – Fatigue and lack of energy
Fatigue is a problem for many people in today’s busy society. It can be brought about through being under constant stress, and also because you are not getting the correct amount of nutrition into your diet. Iron deficiency, or anemia, is a well-known cause of fatigue. But low energy can also be brought about by low levels of certain vitamins, including B1, B3, B11, B12, C, D, and H; and by being deficient in the minerals potassium and/or magnesium.
Nutrient deficiency sign # 7 – Poor immune system function
Being nutrient deficient can also lead to a drop in your immune system’s performance too. So if you are constantly having to fight off illnesses, it could down into a deficiency of the vitamins A, C, D and E; plus low levels of the minerals chromium, magnesium, selenium, and/or zinc.
We’ve really only discussed nutrition deficiency in very general terms. For a blow by blow account of many symptoms and the particular nutrient deficiencies that apply, you can follow this link to a summary report by Walter Last on the health-science-spirit.com website.
The importance of a well balanced nutritional diet
Diet has never been more important than it is today. The pace and stress of life, and the abundance of fast, and processed foods, can easily mean that you are not eating a proper, healthy, well balanced diet, with all of the necessary nutrients for good body function and holistic health well-being. The signs outlined above, and the link to the Walter Last summary, may help you to identify specific deficiencies which you can then take the necessary steps to redress.