Nutrition and Health – What Is Good Nutrition?
What is good nutrition?
I’ve seen lots of confusion as to what is “good nutrition”. I’ve seen lots of confusion on what supplements are and confusion as to the difference between vitamins and herbs. I’ve seen these definitions not understood and used incorrectly. Let’s get down to basics.
What your body needs
There are forty nutrients that cannot be made in the body. They are essential fatty acids, 15 vitamins, 14 minerals, and 10 amino acids. Collectively these forty nutrients are the body’s requirements to function optimally. All the forty nutrients work together; therefore, the lack of any one can result in deficiencies that can create problems for your health.
Where do you get these nutrients? From the food we eat.
When do we supplement? You supplement these vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and amino acids when you aren’t getting what your body needs from food you are eating.
Yes, that’s where organic unprocessed foods come in. You get more of these forty nutrients when you get it from real food, not processed foods with a list of “other ingredients” on the label.
Organic foods are certified organic products that have been grown and processed according to strict standards. No harmful chemicals have been applied to the land where these foods grow for at least 3 years. They use ecologically-friendly methods and substances to improve the soil and control pests. The result of this is that organic foods have more of the nutrients required by the body.
Repair of the body
Knowing that the body will repair itself, if it had the right tools (or nutrients as above), we can see how natural healing comes about.
In natural healing, you supplement with the nutrients that the body needs for that specific health problem. There is usually a deficiency of specific nutrients that created the problem to begin with. These deficiencies can be one or a combination of the forty nutrients needed by the body to function properly; which means creating energy and repairing itself.
Repair? The body is composed of cells and cells are always dying and new cells are always being made. Whether it is making new healthy cells, or unhealthy cells depends on the correct nutrients being available for this repair. A good carpenter can make a beautiful piece of furniture, but he would need good sturdy wood and nails. He would not get a good piece of furniture if he only had plywood and staples.
What about herbal supplements?
Herbs are not part of the essential nutrients for health. Are these the same sort of supplementation?
Herbs are referred to as the green pharmacy. Herbs are used to replace or enhance pharmaceuticals (be careful though that you’ve checked with your pharmacist before you mix a drug and an herbal remedy).
Herbs are natural: they are not man-made chemicals. They can be taken as compresses, teas or infusions. They are also available as extracts in many herbal remedies.
Herbs are medicinal remedies and were used by doctors and taught in medical schools before 1920. Herbs can help the body to recover, but you always need to know that you have to address the underlying cause of the problem and get the body to heal itself. To heal itself, the body needs its ingredients for health which is the forty nutrients as outlined above.