Eat, Drink, and be healthy
Back to the basics
Date: 4/30/2009 8:37:19 PM ( 10 y ) ... viewed 9164 times
Next to water and air, food is the most important requirement for the maintenance of human life. We must rely
on food to supply us with the nutrients we need: proteins, vitamins, minerals, fats and carbohydrates. Good health requires that all these be provided in sufficient quantities and in proper proportions. The reason for modern diseases is partially due to dietary abuse: eating to much of an unbalanced diet of overprocessed foods. The vegetable world has much to offer for practically every dietary requirement.
Protein makes up 15 to 20 percent of the human body, about half of it being concentrated in muscles and bone cartilage. The other half is dispersed throughout the body as an essential part of cell and cennective tissues, enzymes, hormones, antibodies, hereditary material and other body elements. To make protein the body needs to have all the amino acids available at the same time, the protein value of food is measured in terms of both quantity and quality. Quality is judged by the content levels of all eight essential amino acids.
Eggs, dairy products, fish, poultry and meat provide more concentrated, higher quality protein than do vegetable sources. Most plants and plant products used individually. fall into partially incomplete protein catagory. HOwever, there are innumerable combinations of plant foods in which the amino acid deficiencies of one can be supplied by others to make a complete protein meal. This is a desirable
alternative to relying on meat for protein.
The follwing plants ar good sources of protein when properly supplemented to provide complete protein value. Dried legumes (beans, lentils, peas) have the highest protein content, followed by nuts and seeds, grains and then vegetables. Artichoke, asparagus, barley, black walnuts, brazil nuts, brewers yeast, broad beans, broccoli,
brussels sprouts, cashews, cauliflower, chard, collards, cotton seed, garbanzo beans, kale, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, millet, mushrooms, mustard greens, oats, okra, peanuts, peas, pistachio nuts, rice, rye (whole), sesame seeds, soy beans, soy bean sprouts, spinach, sunflower seeds, turnip greens, wheat (whole), wheat germ.
Vitamins are organic compounds that are necessary in regulating the biochemical processes of the body. Some vitamins dissolve in water; these are easily lost when cooking water is discarded. Some are destroyed or impaired by heat; cooking times for foods containing these should be as short as possible. Some are affected by light or oxygen; these must be protected during storage.
In nutrition, the term "minerals" refer to chemical elements that are necessary for proper functioning of the body. Our supply of minerals comes almost exclusively through the food chain -- plants take them from the ground and incorporate them into organic compounds that we consume by eating either the plants or the animals that ate
the plants. The main exception is table salt, which provides sodium and chlorine (however, table salt is the worst kind of salt to consume because it is iodized. You might want to use sea salt instead).
Minerals are grouped into two types: macro-minerals and micro-minerals. Macro is found in large amounts and micro is found in small amounts.
Macrominerals -- Clacium, Chlorine, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Sulfur.
Microminerals -- Copper, Iodine, Iron, Maganese, Zinc.
FATS AND CARBOHYDTRATES
Fats and carbohydrates share the primary function of being energy sources for the body, but they also perform various other functions. Fats consist of fatty acids and glycerol,
the fatty acids being either saturated or unsaturated. Unsaturated fatty acids are more readily "burned" for energy than saturated ones, and they appear also to be connected with lower blood cholestrol levels. Animal fats are generally high in saturated fatty acids, and vegetable
fats in unsaturated fatty acids.
Carbohydrates are sugars or compounds that break down into sugars in the digestive process. This is why complex carbohydrates are much better to eat because it makes your body work harder to break these sugars down than a simple sugar. Starch is a common form of carbohydrate found in grains, bulbs, roots, and tubers; the various sugars are common expecially in fruits, sugar cane, sugar beets, and milk. Meats may provide small amounts of stored carbohydrates in a form called glycogen.
Sources of vegetable fats: avocados, nuts, olives, seeds, soy beans, vegetable oils, wheat germ.
Sources of carbohydrates: apples, apricots, bananas, beets blackberries, blackstrap molasses, blueberries, brussels sprouts, carrots, cherries, dates, figs, grapes, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, nuts, oats, parsnips, peas, potatoes, prunes, raisins, raspberries, rice, sesame seeds, soy beans, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, wheat, yams, yeast (edible).
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