Guide to Good Health

 Congratulations! You've proven that you're interested in being as healthy as you can be by coming to this Internet site. I'm Tony V. Iaquinto, your guide on the journey to wellness. I have put together this information to help you understand the role of good nutrition plays in our lives. For the past 30 years, I've helped my clients focus their attention on these basic principles of being healthy. Today, as a professional fitness and weight management consultant, I am bringing my knowledge of fitness, fat loss and nutritional products to you. Understanding Nutrition will give a solid foundation of information to help you navigate you own path to good health.

The custom tailored Fitness and Weight Management program offered by Commit to Be Fit, Inc. is founded upon the principle of enhancing life through the proper education of Fitness and Weight Management.

Generally, there is nothing we value more yet abuse more than our health and physical well-being. We normally only concern ourselves with our health when it is in jeopardy. It is a tragedy that we emphasize sickness rather than optimum health, that we are concerned with not dying rather than really living and that we fail to accept the challenge of life's great potentials.

Commit to Be Fit; Inc. is committed to helping you live life to the fullest, to become a participant in life rather than spectator and to maintain enthusiasm for each and everyday. Educating, motivating, and demonstrating the needs of physical fitness and proper weight management will lead to a new and greater appreciation of what can be achieved in order to add life to one's years and remain healthy.

It is my fondest wish that each person share the uncommon and intangible experience of living life at highest possible level. It is my goal to design safe and efficient programs including all of the components of fitness...aerobic, strength training and flexibility with a sound weight management program.

I would like to thank the clients that I have already have been able help to understanding the important role that fitness, the quality of foods, nutritional products you take will bring you back to good health, and the support they have given me throughout the years.

So... Get Out... Get Active.... Get Fit... with the Commit to be Fit for Life Program!

In these days of ready-to-eat meals, few of us think about where our food comes from, what it contains, or what it can do. It's easier to just put something into our stomachs to stop those pesky hunger pangs (or nagging cravings) than to think about what our bodies are going to do with the food once it's in there.

Good nutrition encompasses not only the foods we eat, but also every aspect of the way we live our lives. It is affected by anything that affects our bodies including our emotions, our relationships, and the stress we encounter in day-to-day life. It depends not only on foods, but also on the ability our bodies have to digest, distribute, use, and store the nutrients contained in those foods. Anything that interferes with this ability is going to interfere with nutrition.

Addictions, eating disorders, emotional stress, food allergies, poor absorption, and many other disorders interfere with almost every aspect of the body's ability to carry out its nutritional tasks. Add to this fact the harsh reality of what most of us are eating, and it's small wonder that so many diets are nutritional disasters. If something can be done wrong nutritionally, most of us have been doing it for some time.

According to the Random House College Dictionary, Food is any nourishing substance that is taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc. Nutrients, on the other hand, are chemicals within food that our bodies use to conduct the myriad biochemical reactions of life. Give a relatively small number of nutritional building blocks (around 50 at least count), the body can construct an astonishing array of biochemical compounds and conduct thousands of complex biochemical processes. From the killer cells of the immune system to the most delicate reproductive cell, every fiber of our being depends on the presence (and balance) of nutrients within the body.

The degree to which a given food is nourishing depends on the number and proportion of nutrients it contains. Food, like gasoline, can be either high-or low-octane. The more nutrients a food contains, the better its ability to sustain life, provide energy, and promote growth.

Ironically (given their overriding importance in the quality of our lives), the significance of nutrients in food has only recently been recognized. For centuries, humans have mistaken quantity for quality when dealing with food·and have suffered the consequences. Millions of sailors died horrible deaths from scurvy (a chronic vitamin C deficiency) before the importance of providing fresh fruits (particularly limes) on long voyages was recognized and acted upon.

Untold millions in Asia succumbed to beriberi, a thiamin deficiency caused by consuming a diet that consisted primarily of refined white rice.

In the American South of the turn of the twentieth century, thousands of individuals were confined to mental hospitals when they were in fact suffering from pellagra, a chronic niacin deficiency characterized by dementia (madness), diarrhea, dermatitis, and eventually death. These men and women had been living on the prevailing diet of fatback pork, molasses, and corn bread, which might have been filling, but also was markedly deficient in niacin. When their in-hospital diet was changed to include more nutritionally rich foods (including liver extract and fresh vegetables), theses supposedly mad patients were miraculously healed.

Dramatic cases such as these are what most people think of when they hear the world malnutrition. Nevertheless, malnutrition has many guises.

The Essential Nutrients

Water

Carbohydrates

Fiber

ProteinProtein

Lipids/Fats


Amino Acids

Trace Minerals

Fat Soluble Vitamins

Arginine (for children)

Iron (Fe)

A (retinal)

Histidine (for children)

Iodine (I)

D (calciferol)

Leucine

Chromium (Cr)

E (tocopherol)

Isoleucine

Fluorine (F)

K (Phylloquinone)

Lysine

Molybdenum (Mo)

 

Methionine

Silicon (Si)

Water Soluble Vitamins

Phenylalanine

Cobalt (Co)

B-1 (thiamin)

Threonine

Arsenic (As)

B-3 (niacin)

Tryptophan

Copper (Cu)

B-6 (pyridoxine)

Valine

Manganese (Mn)

Folic Acid (Folacin)

 

Zinc

Biotin

Fatty Acids

Selenium (Se)

C (ascorbic acid)

Linoleic acid

Tin (Sn)

Choline

Linolenic acid

Vanadium (V)

B-2 (riboflavin)

 

Nickel (Ni)

B-5 (Pantothenic acid)

Major Minerals

 

B-12 (cyanocobalamin)

Sodium (Na)

 

 

Magnesium (Mg)

 

 

Phosphorus (P)

 

 


The person who binges and purges constantly, the cocaine addict, the alcoholic, and the Valium addict---all are malnourished to some degree. Even grossly overweight individuals, who seem to have too much nutrition, are usually critically, malnourished. Like the pellagra victims of the past, they are consuming the wrong balance of nutrients.

In the body, nutrients function like an orchestra. In order for a symphony to reach its full expression, all the instruments must perform together. Similarly, in the symphony of human biochemistry, nutrients always act in concert.

If you were attending a symphony and the entire string section went on strike, you would certainly notice the difference. If, however, only one violinist chose to walk out, you might not consciously notice the difference in sound, but something would be missing.

Major nutritional diseases such as pellagra are equivalent to the entire string section going out on strike. However, even in the case of pellagra, niacin is not the sole culprit. Just as the string, section consists of many different instruments, so the disease of pellagra involves several nutrients. Lack of niacin is the primary deficiency, but niacin requires other nutrients in order to perform its functions. When niacin alone is used to treat pellagra, many symptoms remain. A full nutritional program that includes intensive niacin supplementation is needed to fully restore pellagra victims.

The same is true for all of the single-nutrient diseases. In Additional, one particular nutrient may be missing most conspicuously (Oh, the violins are missing!); it's not the only one (And I don't hear any cellos, either.).

To take it a few steps further, any nutrient deficiency, no matter how small, is going to have a very wide impact. Like a snowball rolling downhill, a seemingly insignificant nutrient deficiency can grow to enormous significance as its effects spread through the nutritional system.

Although we have learned a tremendous amount about nutritional science in the last century or so, it is still a very young field that is growing rapidly. Unfortunately, new knowledge still takes a long time to get into mainstream practice. From a recovery perspective, the thing to remember is that the nutrients in food work as a team, and that it is crucial to your body's health to have all the team members present at all times.

We must look beyond the mere appearance or amount of food and consider in contents. Although food is remarkably hardy (grain can be stored for years, wines and cheeses have to be aged, and dehydrated foods can be stored for decades), nutrients are fragile and easily lost or destroyed. This is why eating whole, unprocessed foods is so vitally important in recovery, since any level of processing÷be it cooking a raw vegetable or hydrogenating an oil÷removes nutrients. Many of the wonders of our modern food production system are stripping our foods of most of their nutritional value.

Before we discuss the various individual nutrients, it's important to get a handle on one of the most misunderstood concepts in nutrition: calories.

Strictly speaking, a calorie is not a specific thing at all. It is a measurement of how much energy a given food provides. When we talk about the number of calories in a food, we are really discussing how much energy the body gets from that food. Calories are not nutrients, and it possible for a food to provide plenty of calories without providing many nutrients.

Ideally, we want to have an even balance between the number of calories we consume and the amount of energy we expend. However, caloric need varies a great deal among individuals. If you are a professional figure skater who practices six hours a day and competes ten months out of the year, you burn a lot of energy and need a fair number of calories to power all that activity and maintain normal bodily processes. If, on the other hand, you are an accountant who does a lot of detail work behind a desk and exercises only intermittently, your energy needs are a lot less spectacular. If you eat foods that provide more calories (energy that your body needs at the time, your body will store it away÷in fat cells÷for later use.

Calories, then, are only the most basic and simplistic of nutritional measures. A food such as sugar or bourbon may provide energy in the form of calories, but it won't provide any of the nutrients that the body needs to help run the furnace that burns all that energy. The calories-to-nutrients balance in a give food is usually referred to as nutrient density. Nutrient-dense foods provide many nutrients in relatively few calories, while low-nutrient-density foods have far more calories, while low-nutrient-density foods have far more calories than nutrients.

Most teenagers, many adults, addicts of all kinds, and people with eating disorders tend to consume low-nutrient-density foods in the form of fast foods, junk foods, and so called convenience foods that contain huge amounts of refined carbohydrates, artificial additives, and unnatural fats. When this poor diet is compounded by alcohol intake, drug use, or the devastating effects of binging and purging, it provokes an even greater nutritional crisis wherein the already overburdened body must draw on stored nutrients in order to function.

If we really intend to nourish the body, we must give it not only the nutrients it needs to function right now, but also the nutrients it requires to replenish those lost nutritional stores. Moreover, in order to do that, we need to understand what the various nutrients are and how they are processed within the body

Not all nutrients are created equal. Some, such as water, must be consumed in large amounts every day. Others, such as arsenic, should only be taken in infinitesimal amounts. Whether we need them by the pound (macronutrients) or by the fraction of a milligram (micronutrients), all nutrients are important. The body (and mind) will eventually become just as ill when deprived of a micronutrient like niacin as it does when deprived of a macronutrient like water; just ask all those pellagra victims in the south during the early 1900s.

The five macronutrients are protein, carbohydrate, fat (containing all the essential fatty acids), water and fiber. Most of the foods we eat come from these five groups. The micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and trace elements) are found within the macronutrients.

Protein is a crucial part of all animal bodies, accounting for 10 percent to 20 percent depending on age and body weight. Most of the rest is water, fat, and the calcium of bones and teeth. The human body builds and uses more than 50,000 different proteins in its day-to-day functioning.

In order to carry out this amazing feat, the body requires only 22 protein building blocks÷the amino acids. About half of these are essential nutrients; without them, the body cannot function. With them, the body can build all the other nonessential amino acids and function at peak efficiency.

We get amino acids by eating protein foods, which our bodies then break down into their constituent amino acids. The primary protein foods÷poultry, fish, soybeans, meats and dairy products÷contain all the essential amino acids and are called complete proteins. However, the secondary sources, which come from the vegetable kingdom, usually contain only incomplete proteins. Cereals, for example, are low in the amino acid lysine, but high in methionine and tryptophan. Beans, on the other hand, have reverse amino acid profiles. When foods from the two groups are eaten together, the body gets the full set of necessary amino acids

The Essential Amino Acids

Arginine (for children)

Lysine

Tryptophan

Histidine (for children)

Methionine

Valine

Leucine

Phenylalanie

 

Isoleucine

Threonine

 

 

Many cultures have developed meals centered on complementary proteins. In the Middle East, bread and cheese are traditionally eaten together; in Mexico, rice and beans are eaten together. Various cultures rely heavily on such protein complements, as well as on fish, chicken, and other protein sources. If you choose to eschew meat entirely, it is critical that you eat complementary foods to ensure that you get enough dietary protein. We have seen many vegetarians who believed they were eating healthy, when they were in fact quite malnourished and protein deficient.

Protein foods are among the first to fall by the wayside in addictions and eating disorders. Primary protein sources (such as meat and fish) are either too expensive or too time-consuming to prepare for an individual in the throes of addiction, while anorexic and bulimic individuals often avoid them because of the calories they contain. Besides, most protein foods do not provide the unique emotional and biological satisfaction derived from the next nutrient group: carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are the primary source of calories (fuel) for the body's cells. They burn quickly and easily to produce energy and heat. Carbohydrates are found almost exclusively in the vegetable kingdom÷in fruits, vegetables, and grains.

Carbohydrates foods range from the complex, called starches, to the simple called sugars. Starches are potatoes, rice, corn and other vegetables, bread, cereal, and pasta. Sugars include table sugar, fruit, syrups, and honey. Actually, starches and sugars are part of a continuum, in which the molecularly complex starches degrade into the more simple molecules of sugar. We see this process every time a fruit ripens, as the starches of the young fruit gradually break down into the sweet sugars of ripeness.

The individual cells of the body cannot use carbohydrates until the have been reduced to their simplest form: glucose. During digestion, starches are broken down into complex sugars; complex sugars are broken down into simple sugars are absorbed into the blood, chiefly as glucose. The bloodstream carries the glucose (along with oxygen from the lungs) to all the body's cells, where it fuels all life processes. Glucose that is not needed at the time of digestion is processed and stored as fat.

The body needs a constant supply of energy, in the form of blood glucose, to carry out its myriad functions. As we see in the case of millions of teenagers and adults, not properly meeting this need results in a hose to physical, emotional, and psychological problems.

The form of a specific carbohydrate has a tremendous influence on its effect in our bodies. The more refined the carbohydrate be it rice, sugar cane, or wheat, the fewer nutrients it contains and the more abruptly it enters the system as blood sugar. The body's metabolism is designed to convert complex and natural sugars into glucose in a slow, steady process that keeps blood glucose levels stable so that cells are constantly and steadily nourished. When refined sugars are dumped into the system, blood sugar levels rise to abnormal levels and the body reacts by trying to decrease them. It does this by releasing extra adrenaline and insulin. Over time, this biochemical overcompensation affects the production of critical brain chemicals, causing fatigue, depression, mood swings and optimally could lead to type 2 diabetes.

Although they may be the most dreaded of the macronutrients, fats (or, to use the technical term lipids) are good for the body. Dietary fats are essential to the absorption, transport, and use of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K; and the body's fat cells serve as insulation to help maintain proper temperature, as storage for fat-soluble vitamins, and as a source of energy in times of caloric need.

Like proteins, fats occur in all animal foods, from sirloin steak to yogurt. However, like carbohydrates, they are also found in the vegetable kingdom. Seeds nuts, and related foods such as grains and beans all contain fats; hence, we have corn oil, peanut oil, olive oil, and so forth.

Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats all contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Fats, however, have a much higher concentration of carbon and hydrogen, which take longer to burn than oxygen. As a result, high-fat foods provide more long-term energy (calories) than high-carbohydrate or high-protein foods. Both proteins and carbohydrates provide about four calories per gram. Fat provides nine. So an ounce of butter or olive oil will give you about 255 calories to burn, while an ounce of carbohydrates or pure protein will provide 113 calories

Examples of Dietary Fats

Saturated

Monounsaturated

Polyunsaturated

Chicken Fat

Olive Oil

Safflower Oil

Lard

Canola Oil

Corn Oil

Beef Tallow

Peanut Oil

Soybean Oil

Palm Oil

Sunflower Oil

Cottonseed Oil

Butter

 

Sesame Oil

Cocoa Butter

 

Sunflower Oil

Palm Kernels/Oil

 

Fish Oils

Coconut Meat/Oil

 

 

The basic structural components of dietary fats are the fatty acids. Nutritional science is still discovering the many roles these substances play in human health. At least two fatty acids÷linoleic acid and linolenic acid÷are know to be absolutely necessary to the functioning of the body's cells. These beneficial fats are known collectively as the essential fatty acids (EFAs). The body also derives EFAs from some of the more complex fatty acids. Essential fatty acid deficiencies have been linked to several biological and emotional disorders, including alcoholism and depression.

Fatty acids are differentiated based on saturation÷that is, the balance of carbon and hydrogen in the molecule. In saturated fatty acids, every carbon bond is occupied by a hydrogen atom. The molecule is thus saturated with hydrogen. Unsaturated fatty acids or more (in polyunsaturated fatty acids) hydrogen atoms, so the carbon atoms form double bonds to make up for these missing links.These seemingly simple molecular variations make a tremendous difference in both the form of the fat and the way it behaves in the body. Saturated fatty acids molecules are very straight, rigid, and molecularly stable. They stick together and resist chemical and temperature changes, both inside and outside of the body. Dietary fats that contain a lot of saturated fatty acids remain solid at room temperature and gel together quickly even after being heated. Lard and other animal fats contain primarily saturated fatty acids, as do cocoa butter, palm kernels (and oils), and coconut products.

In unsaturated fatty acids, the molecule bends at the site of the carbon double bond, making it flexible and sensitive to heat and chemical influences. Since the double bond also gives the molecule a slightly negative electrical charge, unsaturated fatty acids not only don't stick together, they actually repel each other. Most vegetable oils (with the exception of palm and coconut) are composed of unsaturated fatty acids, and they remain liquid at room temperature.

What about cholesterol? Despite cholesterol's bad reputation, it too plays an important part in the body's normal functioning. Cholesterol is a hard, waxy substance that is a critical component of all cell walls. A major component of the brain and nerve tissue, and a forerunner of many hormones, particularly the sex hormones which is part of the bile acids that digest fats. As nutrition researcher Dr. Henry Schroeder has noted, without cholesterol the skin would dry up, the brain would not function, and there would be no vital hormones of sex and adrenal.

Because cholesterol is crucial to so many of the body's functions, the body makes it all the time. The building blocks of cholesterol are carbon fragments that the body derives primarily from dietary fats (once the essential fatty acids have been metabolized), carbohydrates (when they have been broken down into simple sugars), and occasionally proteins. In foods, ready-made cholesterol is found only in the saturated fats of animal foods (meats, whole milk products, lard, and so forth). Most vegetable oils are cholesterol-free.

The cholesterol controversy stems from the fact that cholesterol is a major component of the plaques that clog arteries and kill millions of people each year. This fact has led many eminent researchers and health authorities to conclude that we are eating dietary cholesterol, and that his overload is the cause of arterial plaque and heart disease.

This explanation seems logical, but the situation is a bit more complex than most people realize. The relationship between cholesterol in the diet and cholesterol in the blood is debatable, at best. There are some human groups÷most notably Eskimos still living above the Arctic Circle in traditional fishing and whaling communities÷who consume a diet composed almost entirely of saturated fats and protein. Yet, these people have virtually no incidence of atherosclerosis (or many other chronic diseases). However, members of this same group who live below the Arctic Circle, and who consume a diet similar to ours, do suffer from these conditions. As we shall see, similar patterns hold true in several other regions. Heart disease, cancer, and other degenerative diseases rise precipitously whenever a natural, whole foods diet÷even one that is high in saturated fat÷is replaced with a modern diet high in refined carbohydrates and processed foods.

Such evidence indicates that more that dietary cholesterol is at work in the development of heart disease. Refined carbohydrates are prime suspects, since dietary excesses of these simple sugars prompt the body to build more cholesterol. In addition, research has indeed shown that sugar and other refined carbohydrates cause significant increases in blood cholesterol. Lifestyle factors such as cigarette smoking, lack of exercise, alcoholism, and addiction also are implicated. Some researchers theorize that the arterial walls themselves have been damaged, and that arterial plaques are the body's attempt to patch these damaged regions.

The perpetrators of this arterial damage are thought to be free radicals÷that is, hyperactive molecules that are destructive by-products of many chemical reactions. Once released in the body, free radicals damage cells walls, break apart other molecules, and generally create havoc. In addition to heart disease, free radicals are though to be involved in many other degenerative diseases, including cancer.

Free radicals are always present in the body but are kept in control by the action of a variety of micronutrients, including vitamins E, C, and A and antioxidant enzymes. Deficiencies in these nutrients are now suspected as potential factors in the development of heart disease, and promising research is being done on using nutritional supplementation in the prevention of heart disease.

The problem of fat, then, is far from simple. To borrow an old clich?', we can't live with it, and we can't live without it. Since dietary fat comes in many forms, we must concentrate on quality as well as quantity when making choices about these particular macronutrients. There is no doubt that the vast majority of us consume far too much saturated fat, in the forms of red meat and dairy products. Cutting back on these forms of dietary fat is a sensible part of any health-conscious program. Nevertheless, we must also be careful when choosing unsaturated oils.

Although food oil companies (and some scientists) would have us believe that all vegetable oils are perfect, heart-healthy alternatives to saturated fats, there are some very serious drawbacks to many processed mono- and polyunsaturated oils. The carbon bonds in unsaturated fat are often pale and toxic shadows of their original, nutritionally sound selves.

For anyone concerned about their health, the best sources of dietary fat are natural whole grains and seeds, various fish, and unsaturated oils that are as fresh and unprocessed as possible. Dairy and meat products should be used sparingly. For those of you who are worrying about calcium, keep in mind that calcium is found in many foods other than milk.

Good nutrition comes down to one simple idea (although it's not so simple to achieve): balance. Too often, in good-hearted attempts at healthy eating, people cut out too much of one thing and not enough of another. Witness the fat-free and carbohydrate-free diet crazes. Be wary of any radical program that focuses on one nutrient group to the exclusion of all others. Understand your own personal balance. Moreover, yes, like it or not, watch your fat consumption.

In the strictest sense, fiber isn't really a nutrient at all. Instead, it is the part of some foods that our bodies cannot digest÷the hard outer shells of seeds and grains and the peels of certain vegetables and fruits. Bran, one of the most familiar fiber foods, is the outer shell of the wheat grain (or germ). High-fiber foods include oatmeal, whole grains of any kind and any raw fruit or vegetable.

Fiber is generally found in the plant kingdom where it services as a form of defense, protecting the more delicate inner tissues of plants and their toughness, so that even after they have been broken up by our teeth and the physical action of the stomach, they still resist being dissolved by the enzymes and acids of our digestive system.

As a result, these hardy bits of food pass through the digestive tract virtually unchanged. Although they may have been ground down a bit, they retain their basic structure, giving form to solid wastes and giving the muscles of the intestinal tract something to work with. This mechanical effect of fiber is the basis of many of its positive health effects. For example, fiber is known to:

  • Alleviate diarrhea and constipation by keeping bowel contents moving smoothly.

  • Reduce pressure within the intestinal tract that can contribute to the development of diverticular diseases (split and pouches in the tract), appendicitis, hiatus hernias, hemorrhoids and varicose veins.

  • Prevent cancers of the bowl and intestinal tract by shortening the time potential carcinogens are actually in contact with the cells of the bowel, colon, and intestines.

In addition to its helpful physiological effects, some forms of fiber may also be beneficial biochemical. Research on several forms of fiber has shown that increased fiber intake can lower blood levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein, sometimes called bad cholesterol) cholesterol, often as effectively as the cholesterol-lowering drugs currently in use. Furthermore, fiber is though to bind other toxic substances and speed them out of the body, like a biochemical detergent.

Whatever the mechanisms, it's clear that the fibrous parts of our food supply, be they apple peels, cucumber seeds, wheat bran or the hulls of brown rice, are an integral part of the nutritional spectrum and should not be discarded. The body needs fiber, both for its physiological action and its still-to-be understood chemical properties. For this reason, you will find that it is important÷in as many instances as possible÷to use whole fruits and vegetables, peels and all, rather than selected parts. To get the most out of our foods nutritionally, it is important not to waste any of their life-giving nutrients.

Water is the one nutrient that no living creature can do with out. There are bacteria and viruses that can live without air, but no life form (on this planet, at least) can survive without water.

Not only is water a nutrient in and of itself, it also often contains other nutrients, particularly minerals. Ground water absorbs minerals. Ground water absorbs minerals from the rock and soil surrounding it and passes these absorbed minerals on to us.

Water purification plants and improve health standards have largely eliminated most bacterial threats to our water supply. Now a range of chemical substances imperils our water, including lead form old pipes, pesticides and chemicals from agricultural runoff, and toxic substances from landfills and illegal dumping. These threats to our most essential essential nutrient are becoming an increasingly present problem. In general, it is best to assume that most drinking water in the United States is polluted (until proven otherwise) and rely on bottled, distilled, or filtered water.

Blood volume and pressure drop without it. Muscles stiffen. The brain overheats. After all, we are creatures of water. We dehydrate without it. Water makes up 85 percent of blood, 70 percent of muscles and 75 percent of the brain. About 60 percent of men, and about 50 percent of women, is water.

There's a lot more going on inside our bodies when we work or play too long in the heat than just our perceptions of heat and thirst.

When health officials give warnings about the importance of drinking water, they are serious. That is because when the body begins to dehydrate, it is thrown into a struggle that can turn into an all-out war to survive.

Dehydration disrupts a fragile, complex balance of water and other substances. Too much sweating, without the replacement of electrolytes as well as water, can set of a dangerous internal balance.

Dehydration interferes with several of the body's essential functions.

  • Blood is 85 percent water. As the body loses water and salt through sweat, the volume of blood decreases, lowering blood pressure and making it harder to get blood to the brain.
  • Dehydrated muscles can't rid their cells of byproducts such as lactic acid. The muscle stiffens or cramps.
  • As brain cells lose water, and low blood pressure makes it hard to get oxygen from blood, confusion, irritability and unconsciousness can result.
  • During perspiration, we lose water and electrolytes from the blood that bathe cells. Blood pressure drops and the heart don't pump as much blood. If cardiac output decreases enough, the brain won't get enough blood and will become too hot.
  • The balance of electrolytes-substances such as sodium and chloride that are dissolved in water-is disrupted, as some are lost through sweat.
  • Kidneys need water to regulate blood and electrolytes to flush toxins for the body. People with diabetes or heart disease who take diuretic medications that extract water could have kidney failure. If they become dehydrated.
  • Urine, which should be clear and regular in a hydrated person, becomes deep yellow to brown and infrequent as the body acts to conserve water, irritation of the bladder.

The five macronutrients are the most familiar nutrients÷the basis for the much-vaunted four food groups. However, one of their primary functions, nutritionally, is to serve as host for the micronutrients÷that is vitamins and minerals. When raw fruits, vegetables, fats, grains, or meats are made into prepared jellies, oils, flours or sandwich meats, their original stores of micronutrients are depleted and destroyed. For those in recovery, who are already in the red when it comes to their nutritional balance, it is important to look beyond the macronutrients when choosing foods, and consider their micronutrient content as well.

Vitamins and minerals are a source of confusion to many people. Health food stores and pharmacies are full of various nutrient formulations designed to strengthen the immune system, help you sleep, help you stay awake, make you more virile, make you less anxious, cure menstrual cramps, ease headaches, and so forth, ad infinitum. We've gone from and era when vitamins and minerals were completely unrecognized to one in which they are viewed as either miracle cures or snake oils. While some scientists (and food faddists) tout various individual vitamins and minerals as the cure for everything from acne to cancer, many physicians are telling their patients they don't really need supplements. What's person to do?

Far too many people are looking at the micronutrients the same way they look at drugs. (Do you have a cold? That two Cs and call me in the morning.) Nutrients÷no nutrients÷are drugs, and vitamins and minerals are not instant cure-alls for any disease or disorder, be it alcoholism, anorexia, or cancer. The micronutrients, like the macronutrients in which they are found, are players in a much larger nutritional game. In tandem with the other elements of good nutrition, they help the body maintain its internal healing processes. Vitamins and minerals won't make you better, but they will with balance amounts, help your body make itself better.

The first group of micronutrients, the minerals, is generally divided into two categories: major and trace. The major minerals are those we need in grams down to tenths of a gram per day. The trace minerals are required in only minute amounts, often measured in millionths of a gram.

As a group, the minerals play several fundamental roles in maintaining the overall structure of the body. Among other functions, minerals:

  • Form the basis for our entire skeleton, giving bones rigidity and strength

  • Activate many enzymatic systems

  • Control the balance of fluids within and around individual cells

  • Regulate the pH balance

The pH balance (literally, power of hydrogen) is the balance of hydrogen in the fluid surrounding the body's cells. Just as the body as a whole needs the correct concentration of oxygen in the air in order to survive, so individual cells need the right concentration of hydrogen in order to function. When hydrogen levels drop too far, a condition known as acidosis, the body's systems become depressed; mental activity slows, consciousness is lost, and the person can progress into a fatal coma. When levels go too far up (alkalosis), the body becomes hyper-reactive and severe muscular contractions and potentially fatal convulsions can result. Even relatively minor fluctuations in pH balance can critically influence cellular function.

Poor diet, lack of absorption from the intestinal tract, most illness as well as smoking, alcohol abuse, drug addictions, anorexia and bulimia all have profound effects on these critical minerals and therefore on the body's all-important extra cellular environment. All of these disorders may cause severe fluid imbalances, with a corresponding loss of minerals.

The Essential Minerals

Major Minerals

Major Minerals

Trace Minerals

Sodium (NA)

Copper (Cu)

Molybdenum (Mo)

Magnesium (Mg)

Iodine (I)

Tin (Sn)

Phosphorus (P)

Manganese (Mn)

Silicon (Si)

Chlorine (Cl)

Chromium (Cr)

Vanadium (V)

Potassium (K)

Zinc (Zn)

Cobalt (Co)

Calcium (Ca)

Fluorine (F)

Nickel (Ni)

Sulfur (S)

Selenium (Se)

Arsenic (As)

Iron (Fe)

 

 


Up until the turn of this century, it was generally assumed that a diet containing carbohydrates, protein, fat, minerals, and water was enough to sustain life. Despite the hard lessons of scurvy, beriberi, and pellagra; medicine, governments, and society had not caught on to the difference between the quality of a food supply and its quantity. This critical difference did not become generally recognized until scientists began nutritional experiments with lab animals. When researcher tried to raise animals on diets made up of relatively pure nutrients consisting solely of protein, or fat, or carbohydrates÷they invariably die and often of diseases that looked remarkably like the disease seen in man, such as scurvy. Obviously, calories alone were note enough to sustain life. What was missing?

During the first half of the twentieth century, scores of researchers around the world embarked on a search for the mysterious missing factors of nutrition. Within a forty-year period, all fourteen know essential vitamins were discovered and the chemically synthesized in laboratories.

Vitamins hold a unique position in the nutritional universe. They do not serve as building blocks, sources of energy, or basic elements. Instead, vitamins are co-enzymes in the body's metabolic processes, fitting like keys into the thousands of chemical locks to free the body's enzymes to carry out their tasks. Enzymes control every biochemical reaction in the body by bringing together all the necessary ingredients for each individual reaction. They are the all-important catalysts for the body's most basic and integral functions.

The Essential Vitamins

Fat Soluble

Water Soluble

Water Soluble

A (retnol)

B-1 (thiamin)

B-12 (cyanocobalamin)

D (calciferol)

B-2 (riboflavin)

Folic Acid (folacin)

E (tocopherol)

B-3 (niacin)

Biotin

K (phylloquinone)

B-5 (pantothenic acid)

C (ascorbic acid)

 

B-6 (pyridoxine)

Choline

 

As a key for which there is no master, no vitamin can substitute for another in a given metabolic system. At the same time, no vitamin carries out a basic function all by itself. As with the orchestra referred to earlier, every component of the vitamin-enzyme system must be in place for the symphony of life to proceed in harmony.

Since the body cannot produce vitamins on its own, we have to turn to foods to obtain these vital missing factors. Although animal tissues÷particularly organ meats such as liver÷are rich sources of the B group and other vitamins, our primary source of vitamins exists in the plant kingdom.

Like most of the nutrients we have discussed thus far, the vitamins are divided into two distinct groups, based on their ability to dissolve in water. The water-soluble vitamins (vitamin C and the B vitamins) are absorbed more easily by the body and are not kept in long-term storage in any appreciable amounts. Water-soluble vitamins that are not needed by the body are flushed out in the urine. Because of this, it is virtually impossible to overdose on these vitamins and we need to have a fairly steady and constant supply of them in the diet.

The fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), on the other hand, can only be absorbed from the intestinal tract in the presence of fat (hence the importance of having some fat in the diet). Because of their affinity for fat tissue, these vitamins can be stored in the fatty deposits of the body. As a result, it is possible (albeit unlikely) to consume toxic levels of the fat-soluble vitamins.

The vitamins and mineral that comprise the micronutrients are the most vulnerable members of the nutritional team. We have never met a recovering alcoholic, bulimic, anorexic, chronic overeater, or any other addict who was not deficient in vitamins and minerals÷both as a result of their abys


info@Committobefit.com