Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Building Blocks of Health

Source: Health Quest Newsletter
Dr. Frank M. Painter, Editor

It’s sad but true – most Americans fail to meet the basic requirements of good health. Statistics gathered by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) are frightening:

Only 27% of adults eat three servings of vegetables per day (3 – 5 are recommended)

Only 13% of students meet the vegetable goal

Only 33% of adults eat two servings of fruit day (2-4 are recommended)

Only 32% of students meet the fruit goal

Even worse, these numbers are artificially inflated, because foods like sugared fruit drinks and French Fries are still counted as servings.

The next nutritional issue comes from the fact that industrial farms force-grow crops, with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The measured vitamin levels in “conventional” crops are continuing to decline. And it gets worse. More and more American staple crops are grown from genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), which have no established track record of health effects or benefits. European clinical trials, that only fed animals GMO foods, have under-reported subject deaths, damage found in their intestinal tracts, and second- and third-generation sterility.

All the problems in the food chain, and the dietary habits of most Americans, emphasize why it’s important to adopt a basic nutrition program that provides all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants we require to maintain our health.

When selecting health products, you want to look for ones that are made from non-GMO crops that are completely free from pesticides, heavy metal residue or other toxic contaminants, and are guaranteed to be bacteria and virus free.

Selecting vitamin supplements can be a daunting task. There are so many out there, how does one know which brand is going to be effective and actually work? You may want to refer to my blog post on selecting good quality supplements for guidance.

The Basic Nutrition Program:

1. The core of any nutrition program starts with a multi-vitamin. We require vitamins everyday to maintain our immune system, energy levels, detoxification systems, and for managing billions of cellular processes, from producing hormones to cell repair and reproduction. Many diseases occur when we lack a particular vitamin, mineral or amino acid. These are referred to as nutrient deficiency diseases. Researchers are discovering that suboptimal levels of these nutrients, along with exposure to xeno-toxins (chemicals that are foreign or poisonous to the body) seem to be associated with the onset of many disease processes.

2. The second building block of health is protein. The average healthy person requires at least 180 grams of protein per day (1800 calorie diet). The ideal, fat-free source of plant-based protein is soy. A word of caution – most soy powder manufacturers use the alcohol extraction process, which leaches out the two most important isoflavones – (Genistein and Daidzein). You want to find a company that uses the water-wash method, because it retains the critical soy isoflavones most associated with soy’s reported health benefits.

3. The third building block of health is antioxidants. The classic antioxidants are vitamins A, C and E. Every time scientists discovered a new photochemical in plants, it invariably displayed powerful antioxidant properties, sometimes ten to hundreds of times more powerful than the classic antioxidants. Phytochemicals (also called phytonutrients), are non-nutritive plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventing properties. It is understood that plants produce these chemicals to protect themselves. Recent research suggests that they also protect humans against various diseases. Some of the best known phytochemicals are lycopene, (think tomatoes), isoflavones from soy, and the flavenoids from fruits. There are many health databases that clearly demonstrate that those individuals who eat the most fruits and vegetables also have the lowest incidence of the deadly diseases: cancer, vascular disease, and diabetes.

These are the three basics of a sound nutritional program. There are many other types of products that can boost your immune system, increase energy or memory, improve stamina in sports, etc. But they should all rest upon these three basics. To your good health!