” If we want our bodies to be healthy, and to function at peak performance level, the best long-term investment we can make is to eat the natural way“.
By adopting a mainly plant-centered diet including fresh fruit, raw vegetables, pulses and whole grains, supplemented by organically reared meat and fish if we wish, we can provide ourselves with all the basic nutrients we need to increase our energy levels and live life to the full. Another benefit of healthy eating is that it can also stimulate our often forgotten, in-built capacity to heal ourselves.
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Nutrition For Vitality
In a world of rich diversity, there is one thing on which scientists, scholars, and sages all agree, life is the movement of energy. From the first heartbeat to last breath, our bodies are constantly transforming food-energy into warmth, movement, thought, emotion and activity. By eating in tune with nature and tapping into the vitality of fresh, organic ingredients, we can move closer to the sources of life energy, the sun, and the soil, and so enhance our health and wellbeing. Here are five natural nutritional principles to help you transform your diet into one based on energy foods.
Too much refined and processed food robs the body of vital nutrients and increases our intake of fat, sugar, and additives.
Food that is free from chemical residues and genetic manipulation improves our health and that of the planet.
Eating fresh fruit and raw salad each day increases our fiber and reduces our salt intake, helps to optimize our absorption of protein and ensures a rich supply of cancer-busting phytochemicals (health-enhancing substances found only in plant foods).
Invest in your long-term health by including more plant-based food in your diet. Try to eat more vegetables and less meat.
Replace cow’s milk by soya, rice, oat or almond milk, and replace butter with unhydrogenated plant spreads, free from trans-fatty acids. Use polyunsaturated plant oils (such as safflower or sunflower oil) in cooking and salad dressings.
Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are satisfied. Chew your food well and try not to eat when you are angry, frustrated, stressed or in a hurry. Cut down on refined sugar, use honey, and maple and fruit syrups in place of sugar whenever you can. Also, decrease your intake of stimulants, beverages containing caffeine give you short-term energy at the expense of long-term vitality.
Energy Foods For Healthy Bodies
As societies have become more urbanized and developed, so the number of people suffering from the effects of heart disease, strokes, and cancer has increased. At the root of these changing health, patterns are the move away from a diet based on grains, fruits, and vegetables to one based on processed foods, fat, sugar and animal produce.
The scientific evidence is clear, if we want to have healthy bodies, we should change our food focus and put fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, pulses and whole grains back in the center of our plates(supplemented by fresh, organically reared meat and fish according to taste). Here are some of the most important components of a healthy, energy-full diet.
Crucial for building and maintaining healthy bones and teeth, calcium also plays an important role in the function of nerves, muscles, enzymes, and hormones. Most plant foods contain calcium, spinach, watercress, parsley, dried figs, nuts, seeds, molasses, seaweed, and soya are all rich suppliers. Gram for gram, bean curd(tofu) contains four times more calcium than whole cow’s milk.
The building blocks of the body, protein consist of long, folded chains of amino acids. It is not widely known that plant foods contain protein and that vegetables, grains, and pulses are all good sources, gram for gram, soya flour contains more protein than beef steak, and butterbeans have more than plaice.
Complex carbohydrates are made of sugar molecules linked together into long, branched chains. Found only in foods made from plants, they are a major source of energy in our diet and have beneficial effects on the way we absorb and use other nutrients. Foods containing complex carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta, are usually rich in vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
In the process of metabolism, our body’s cells produce molecules called free radicals, which can attack and harm cell membranes. Antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium, neutralize these unstable chemicals, in turn protecting our cells. Fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains and cold-pressed plant oils are the main sources of antioxidants in our diet.
Two polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid, are known as essential fatty acids because they can be obtained only from the food we eat. They are necessary for normal growth of the fetus during pregnancy, and play a central role in blood-clotting and healing wounds. They also help to maintain the health of the brain and the cells of other parts of our bodies. Important sources of essential fatty acids include green leaves(such as lettuce and cabbage) and vegetable oils(for example, sunflower, safflower, wheat germ and corn oils).
Energy Foods For Healthy Minds
Energy foods benefit the brain as well as the body. They provide glucose and micronutrients, such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, and iron to maximize our mental performance and to help us cope better under pressure. They enhance the carbohydrate, protein balance in our diet to make us calmer and more alert, and improve the quality of our sleep. They also reduce our reaction to common causes of food intolerance and make us less prone to depression, headaches, and general tiredness. Here are six Simple ways to boost your brain power.
Eat a good breakfast to avoid low blood sugar in the late morning, and to sharpen your memory and mental clarity. For a selection of delicious high-energy breakfasts to launch the day.
Boost your vitality mid-morning and mid-afternoon with a quick-fix snack or drink. These will help to keep you alert right up until the end of the day.
Ensure your body gets a rich supply of essential fatty acids by including salads, green, leafy vegetables and some safflower and sunflower oil in your diet. Low in saturated animal fats, energy foods are high in plant polyunsaturates, which keep our brain cells in peak condition.
Keep regular meal times and do not skip meals. Research shows that eating several small meals per day helps the brain to work more efficiently than having one or two big meals.
Take a power nap after your midday meal. Brain efficiency naturally drops after lunch, and the short time it takes to recharge your batteries will more than repay itself in extra mental energy later in the day.
Eat more wholegrain cereals, pulses, and green vegetables to boost your iron intake. Drink a glass of vitamin C rich, fresh fruit juice each day to maximize iron absorption.
Balancing Energy Input And Output
Converting what we eat into energy to fuel the things we do is one of the fundamental processes of life. Here are some suggestions as to how to fine-tune your energy burn for maximum health and vitality.
Eat more complex carbohydrates to spread out energy release from your food throughout the day and avoid energy lows. Pasta wholemeal bread, pulses, and fresh vegetables are all good sources.
Keeping warm when it is cold and cool when it is hot uses a surprising amount of energy. Try to keep your body at a constant, comfortable temperature and avoid sudden changes in surroundings that make you shiver or sweat.
Anxiety and mental stress use up physical energy even when you are not active. Taking time to deal with these two energy drainers repays itself many times over in extra vitality gained.
Nicotine and caffeine increase energy burn without putting new energy into the body. Avoid cigarettes, coffee, tea and stimulant soft drinks which deplete your energy reserves.
Do not underestimate the effects of minor illness on energy burn. Fever uses energy and suppresses your appetite to encourage rest. Fighting this natural mechanism depletes your energy stores and increases the time it takes to heal.
At different times of our lives, we have different energy needs. As we grow older our energy burn decreases and daily calorie needs reduce. Understanding our varying energy requirements helps to maintain good health at any age.
Ten percent of our daily energy is used for digesting, absorbing and metabolizing food. Allow yourself some quiet time after eating for digestion, and avoid high protein meals when you need to keep alert.