This year is all about health and wellbeing, especially considering how 2020 threw the world into a pandemic that claimed many lives affecting the wellbeing of millions of people. For many the awareness of what we eat and how healthy we actually are, is in the forefront of our minds. Taking vitamins daily as well as getting an abundance of fruit and vegetables are conscious choices many have made. Although, a lot of people already suffer with conditions that put their health and wellbeing at risk, upgrading your health will improve your wellbeing and life.
In the discovery to the secrets of creation, the most fundamental is that the entire body is made from foods, water, air and light. From this basic truth we must understand human health and the products and methods we must use to care for it.
According to the book titled ‘Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill’ Udo Erasmus goes on to say, research has discovered about 50 essential factors (of which about 45 are nutrients) that must come from our environment. They include :
essential nutrients : 20 or 21 minerals; 13 vitamins; 8 essential amino acids and 2 essential fatty acids [Find the list in detail at end of article]
a source of energy (most commonly starch or glucose)
Our body cannot make these 50 factors, but it must have them to live, function properly and be healthy. The 50 factors must therefore come from outside, from our surroundings.
In addition to the 50 essential factors, several substances that are not considered essential are also required for good health. Among these are fibre and friendly bacteria that keep our intestines healthy, and hydrochloric acid, bile and digestive enzymes that digest the food we eat.
The great thing is that we get a lot of vitamins and minerals from the foods we eat! Such as the humble apple is filled with phenolic compounds that have strong anti-oxidant activities and are rich in soluble fibre. Apple nutrients bolster your gastrointestinal tract with healthy bacteria to promote digestive health and immune function.
Berries are also high in fibre and contain potassium, vitamin C and polyphenols which move into body tissues, such as those of the brain, eye, and prostate, where they get to work reducing oxidation and inflammation and boosting immune response.
Citrus fruits not only contain high levels of vitamin C but also a bevy of important nutrients including potassium, folate, calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and fibres such as pectin and lignan.
Try replacing your sugars with natural fruits, just not in your coffee or teas!
Another wonderful contender is garlic. Garlic contains potassium, phosphorous, a significant amount of B & C vitamins, as well as calcium and protein. Garlic has been found to be effective in cleansing the blood of excess glucose and may alleviate grippe, sore throat and bronchial congestion. So don’t be shy when you prepare those meals!
Green vegetables supply a raft of vitamins and minerals especially when eaten raw. One cup of spinach contains at least 19 essential nutrients and are rich in calcium as well as phyto-chemicals such as beta-carotene. The nutrients found in green leaves of edible plants appear to work together to fend off disease, and is linked with reducing inflammation and oxidation levels.
Tomatoes contain a symphony of nutrients, including fibre; vitamins A, C, K; iron and potassium as well as the important antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene has amazing benefits including heart health, lowers inflammation and oxidation levels, improves cholesterol and blood pressure levels, bone health and offers protection for the skin from UV damage.
Complex carbohydrates in the form of grains, corn, and starchy vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, contain fibre and other materials that are digested slowly. Their starches are slowly converted into glucose, which is then burned in body functions at the same rate at which it is produced. Complex carbs also contain vitamins and minerals that enable our body to burn them cleanly into carbon dioxide, water, and energy. And getting your essential fatty acids from sunflower seeds and vegetable oils; these supply your omega -6, while omega-3 comes from fish oils and green leafy vegetables.
Even over cooler months staying hydrated is very essential to the natural functioning of the body. Getting a little sunlight tops up your vitamin D levels, taking a walk or exercising and focusing on yourself by taking a bit of time out to destress and rejuvenate are all essential for a healthy body and mind.
Lastly, for optimum health make sure you are getting the correct amount of vitamins and minerals daily, and top it up with a good supplement.
By not taking the correct amount or not taking any at all causes deficiencies which appear as symptoms. For example, a deficiency in the mineral selenium can cause fatigue, susceptibility to infections and diseases, premature ageing, predisposition to cancer and a low sexual potency. Ridges on your nails signify a calcium or vitamin A deficiency, so listening to your body is key!
Try this delicious recipe for a winter warmer!
This article is written as an advice piece with health in mind, and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. When taking supplements especially in conjunction with other medications, check with your health care practitioner and always stick to taking the recommended dosage.
Fats that Heal Fats that Kill - Udo Erasmus
Complete Nutrition - Dr Michael Sharon
The Plant-Powered Diet - Sharon Palmer, RD