MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
THE FOUR BASIC NUTRIENTS
For Informational Use Only
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The human body is two-thirds water. Water is an essential nutrient that is involved in every function of the body. It helps transport nutrients and waste products in and out of cells. It is necessary for all digestive, absorption, circulatory, and excretory functions, as well as for the utilization of the water-soluble vitamins. It is also needed for the maintenance of proper body temperature. By drinking an adequate amount of water each day - at least eight 8-ounce glasses - you can ensure that your body has all it needs to maintain good health.
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Choosing The Best Water - Types of Water
Carbohydrates supply the body with the energy it needs to function. They are found in almost exclusively in plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, peas and beans. Milk and milk products are the only foods derived from animals that contain a significant amount of carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are divided into two groups - simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.
- Simple Carbohydrates: These are sometimes called simple sugars and include fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (table sugar), and lactose (milk sugar), as well as several other sugars. Fruits are one of the richest natural sources of simple carbohydrates.
- Complex Carbohydrates: These are also made up of sugars, but the sugar molecules are strung together to form longer, more complex chains. Complex carbohydrates include fiber and starches. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates include vegetables, whole grains, peas, and beans.
Carbohydrates are the main source of blood glucose, which is a major fuel for all of the body's cells and the only source of energy for the brain and red blood cells. Except for fiber, which cannot be digested, both simple and complex carbohydrates are converted into glucose. The glucose is then either used directly to provide energy for the body, or stored in the liver for future use. When a person consumes more calories than the body is using, a portion of the carbohydrates consumed may also be stored in the body as fat.
When choosing carbohydrate-rich foods for your diet, always select unrefined foods such as fruits, vegetables, peas, beans, and whole-grain products, as opposed to refined, processed foods such as soft drinks, desserts, candy, and sugar. Refined foods offer few, if any, of the vitamins and minerals that are important to your health. In addition, if eaten in excess, especially over a period of many years, the large amounts of simple carbohydrates found in refined foods can lead to a number of disorders, including diabetes and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Yet another problem is that foods high in refined simple sugars often are also high in fats, which should be limited in a healthy diet. This is why such foods - which include most cookies and cakes, as well as many snack foods - are usually loaded with calories.
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Disorders: Diabetes
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Disorders: Hypoglycemia
Fiber is a very important form of carbohydrate. Referred to in the past as "roughage," dietary fiber is the part of the plant that is resistant to the body's digestive enzymes. As a result, only a relatively small amount of fiber is digested or metabolized in the stomach or intestines. Instead, most of it moves through the gastrointestinal tract and ends up in the stool.
Although most fiber is not digested, it delivers several important health benefits. First, fiber retains water, resulting in softer and bulkier stools that prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. A high fiber diet also reduces the risk of colon cancer, perhaps by speeding up the rate at which stool passes through the intestine and by keeping the digestive tract clean. In addition, fiber binds with certain substances that would normally result in the production of cholesterol, and eliminates these substances from the body. In this way a high fiber diet helps lower blood cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease.
It is recommended that about 60 percent of your total daily calories come from carbohydrates. If much of your diet consists of healthy complex carbohydrates, you should easily fulfill the recommended daily minimum of 25 grams of fiber.
MoonDragon's Womens Health Disorders: Constipation
MoonDragon's Womens Health Disorders: Hemorrhoids
Protein is essential for growth and development. It provides the body with energy, and is needed for the manufacture of hormones, antibodies, enzymes, and tissues. It also helps maintain the proper acid-alkali balance in the body.
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Disorders: Acidosis
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Disorders: Alkalosis
When protein is consumed, the body breaks it down into amino acids, the building blocks of all proteins. Some of the amino acids are designated nonessential. This does not mean that they are unnecessary, but rather that they do not have to come from the diet because they can be synthesized by the body from other amino acids. Other amino acids are considered essential, meaning that the body cannot synthesize them, and therefore must obtain them from the diet.
Whenever the body makes a protein - when it builds muscle, for instance - it needs a variety of amino acids for the protein-making process. These amino acids may come from dietary protein or from the body's own pool of amino acids. If a shortage of amino acids becomes chronic, which can occur if the diet is deficient in essential amino acids, the building of protein in the body stops, and the body suffers.
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Nutrition Basics - Amino Acids Index
Because of the importance of consuming proteins that provide all of the necessary amino acids, dietary proteins are considered to belong to two different groups, depending on the amino acids they provide.
- Complete Proteins: These constitute the first group which contain ample amounts of all of the essential amino acids. These proteins are found in meat, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, and milk.
- Incomplete Proteins: These constitute the second group and they contain only some of the essential amino acids. These proteins are found in a variety of foods, including grains, legumes, and leafy green vegetables.
Although it is important to consume the full range of amino acids, both essential and nonessential, it is not necessary to get them from meat, fish, poultry, and other chemicals in the raising of poultry and cattle - most of those foods should be eaten in moderation. Fortunately, the dietary strategy called mutual supplementation enables you to combine partial-protein foods to make complementary protein - proteins that supply adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids. For instance, although beans and brown rice are both quite rich in protein, each lacks one or more of the necessary amino acids. However, when you combine beans and brown rice with each other, or when you combine either one with any number of protein-rich foods, you form a complete protein that is a high-quality substitute for meat.
To make a complete protein, combine beans with any one of the following:
- Brown rice
Or combine brown rice with any one of the following:
Most Americans eat too much protein, largely as the result of a diet high in meat and dairy products. However, if you have reduced the amount of meat and dairy foods in your diet, you should make sure to get about 50 grams a protein a day, unless you are pregnant or breastfeeding your infant, in which you will need more. To make sure that you are getting a great enough variety of amino acids in your diet, add protein-rich foods to meals and snacks as often as possible. Eat whole grain bread with nut butters, for instance, or add nuts and seeds to salads and vegetable casseroles. Be aware that a combination of any grains, any nuts and seeds, any legumes (such as beans, peanuts, and peas), and a variety of mixed vegetables will make a complete protein. In addition, cornmeal fortified with the amino acid L-lysine makes a complete protein.
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Nutrition During Pregnancy (Page 1)
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Nutrition During Pregnancy (Page 2)
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Nutrition Index
All soybean products, such as tofu and soy milk, are complete proteins. They contain the essential amino acids plus several other nutrients. Available in health food stores, tofu, soy oil, soy flour, soy-based meat substitutes, soy cheese, and many other soy products are healthful ways to complement the meatless diet.
MoonDragon's Nutrition Client Handout - Vegetarian Food Guide
Yogurt is the only animal-derived complete protein source recommended for frequent use in the diet. Made from milk that is curdled by bacteria, yogurt contains Lactobacillus Acidophilus and other "friendly" bacteria needed for the ingestion of foods and the prevention of many disorders, including candidiasis. Yogurt also contains vitamins A and D, and many of the B-complex vitamins.
Do not buy the sweetened, flavored yogurts that are sold in supermarkets. These products contain added sugar and, often, preservatives and other unwanted chemicals used in the commercial product. Instead, either purchase fresh unsweetened yogurt from a health food store or make the yogurt yourself (which is quite easy to do), and sweeten it with fruit juices, fruits, nuts and other wholesome ingredients. Yogurt makers are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, and are available at most health food stores.
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Recipes - Homemade Yogurt
Although much attention has been focused on the need to reduce dietary fat, the body does need fat. During infancy and childhood, fat is necessary for normal brain development. Throughout life, it is essential to provide energy and support growth. Fat is, in fact, the most concentrated source of energy available to the body. However, after about two years of age, the body requires only small amounts of fat - much less than is provided by the average American diet. Excessive fat intake is a major causative factor in obesity, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and colon cancer, and has been linked to a number of other disorders as well. To understand how fat intake is related to these health problems, it is necessary to understand the different types of fats available and the ways in which these fats act within the body.
Fats are composed of building blocks called fatty acids. There are three major categories of fatty acids. There are three major categories of fatty acids - saturated, poly-unsaturated, and mono-unsaturated. These classifications are based on the number of hydrogen atoms in the chemical structure of a given molecule of fatty acid.
Saturated Fatty Acids: These are found primarily in animal products, including dairy items, such as whole milk, cream, and cheese, and fatty meats like beef, veal, lamb, port, and ham. The fat marbling you can see in beef and pork is composed of saturated fat. Some vegetable products - including coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and vegetable shortening - are also high in saturates.
The liver uses saturated fats to manufacture cholesterol. Therefore, excessive dietary intake of saturated fats can significantly raise the blood cholesterol level, especially the level of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), or "bad cholesterol."
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Disorders: High Cholesterol
Guidelines issued by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) are widely supported by most experts and recommend that the daily-intake of saturated fats be kept below 10 percent of total caloric intake. However, for people who have severe problems with high blood cholesterol, even that level may be too high.
Desirable Borderline Undesirable Total Cholesterol Below 200 200 to 240 Above 240 HDL Cholesterol Above 60 40 to 59 Below 40 Triglycerides Below 150 150 to 499 Above 500 LDL Cholesterol Below 130 130 to 160 Above 160
Poly-unsaturated Fatty Acids: These are found in greatest abundance in corn, soybean, safflower, and sunflower oils. Certain fish oils are also high in poly-unsaturates. Unlike the saturated fats, poly-unsaturates may actually lower your total blood cholesterol level. In doing so, however, large amounts of poly-unsaturates also have a tendency to reduce your high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) - your "good cholesterol." For this reason - and because, like all fats, poly-unsaturates are high in calories for their weight and volume - the NCEP guidelines state that an individual's intake of poly-unsaturated fats should not exceed 10 percent of total caloric intake.
Mono-unsaturated Fatty Acids: These are found mostly in vegetable and nut oils such as olive, peanut, and canola. These fats appear to reduce blood levels of LDLs without affecting HDLs in any way. However, this positive impact upon LDL cholesterol is relatively modest. The NCEP guidelines recommend that intake of mono-unsaturated fats be kept between 10 and 15 percent of total caloric intake.
Although most foods - including some plant-derived foods - contain a combination of all three types of fatty acids, one of the types usually predominates. Thus, a fat or oil is considered "saturated" or "high in saturates" when it is composed primarily of saturated fatty acids. Such saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature. Similarly, a fat or oil composed mostly of poly-unsaturated fatty acids is called "poly-unsaturated," while a fat or oil is composed mostly of mono-unsaturated fatty acids is called "mono-unsaturated."
One other element, trans-fatty acids, may also play a role in blood cholesterol levels. also called trans fats, these substances occur when poly-unsaturated oils are altered through hydrogenation, a process used to harden liquid vegetable oils into sold foods like margarine and shortening. One recent study found that trans-mono-unsaturated fatty acids raise LDL cholesterol levels, behaving much like saturated fats. Simultaneously, the trans-fatty acids reduced HDL cholesterol readings. Much more research on this subject is necessary, as studies have not reached consistent and conclusive findings. For now, however, it is clear that if your goal is to lower cholesterol, poly-unsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats are more desirable than saturated fats or products with trans-fatty acids. Just as important, your total calories from fat should not constitute more than 20 to 25 percent of daily calories.
AROMATHERAPY: ESSENTIAL OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
Allspice Leaf Oil Angelica Oil Anise Oil Baobab Oil Basil Oil Bay Laurel Oil Bay Oil Benzoin Oil Bergamot Oil Black Pepper Oil Chamomile (German) Oil Cajuput Oil Calamus Oil Camphor (White) Oil Caraway Oil Cardamom Oil Carrot Seed Oil Catnip Oil Cedarwood Oil Chamomile Oil Cinnamon Oil Citronella Oil Clary-Sage Oil Clove Oil Coriander Oil Cypress Oil Dill Oil Eucalyptus Oil Fennel Oil Fir Needle Oil Frankincense Oil Geranium Oil German Chamomile Oil Ginger Oil Grapefruit Oil Helichrysum Oil Hyssop Oil Iris-Root Oil Jasmine Oil Juniper Oil Labdanum Oil Lavender Oil Lemon-Balm Oil Lemongrass Oil Lemon Oil Lime Oil Longleaf-Pine Oil Mandarin Oil Marjoram Oil Mimosa Oil Myrrh Oil Myrtle Oil Neroli Oil Niaouli Oil Nutmeg Oil Orange Oil Oregano Oil Palmarosa Oil Patchouli Oil Peppermint Oil Peru-Balsam Oil Petitgrain Oil Pine-Long Leaf Oil Pine-Needle Oil Pine-Swiss Oil Rosemary Oil Rose Oil Rosewood Oil Sage Oil Sandalwood Oil Savory Oil Spearmint Oil Spikenard Oil Swiss-Pine Oil Tangerine Oil Tea-Tree Oil Thyme Oil Vanilla Oil Verbena Oil Vetiver Oil Violet Oil White-Camphor Oil Yarrow Oil Ylang-Ylang Oil Aromatherapy
Healing Baths For Colds
Using Essential Oils
AROMATHERAPY: HERBAL & CARRIER OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
Almond, Sweet Oil Apricot Kernel Oil Argan Oil Arnica Oil Avocado Oil Baobab Oil Black Cumin Oil Black Currant Oil Black Seed Oil Borage Seed Oil Calendula Oil Camelina Oil Castor Oil Coconut Oil Comfrey Oil Evening Primrose Oil Flaxseed Oil Grapeseed Oil Hazelnut Oil Hemp Seed Oil Jojoba Oil Kukui Nut Oil Macadamia Nut Oil Meadowfoam Seed Oil Mullein Oil Neem Oil Olive Oil Palm Oil Plantain Oil Plum Kernel Oil Poke Root Oil Pomegranate Seed Oil Pumpkin Seed Oil Rosehip Seed Oil Safflower Oil Sea Buckthorn Oil Sesame Seed Oil Shea Nut Oil Soybean Oil St. Johns Wort Oil Sunflower Oil Tamanu Oil Vitamin E Oil Wheat Germ Oil
HELPFUL RELATED MOONDRAGON NUTRITION BASICS LINKS
MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Amino Acids Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Antioxidants Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Enzymes Information MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Herbs Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Homeopathics Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Hydrosols Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Minerals Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Mineral Introduction MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary & Cosmetic Supplements Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary Supplements Introduction MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Specialty Supplements MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Introduction
NUTRITION BASICS ARTICLES
MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: 4 Basic Nutrients MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Foods That Contain Additives & Artificial Ingredients MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Is Aspartame A Safe Sugar Substitute? MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Guidelines For Selecting & Preparing Foods MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Destroy MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Heal MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: The Micronutrients: Vitamins & Minerals MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Overcooking Your Foods MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Phytochemicals MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Increase Your Consumption of Raw Produce MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Limit Your Use of Salt MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Use Proper Cooking Utensils MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Choosing The Best Water & Types of Water
RELATED MOONDRAGON HEALTH LINKS & INFORMATION
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Therapy Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Analysis Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Diet Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Recipe Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Therapy: Preparing Produce for Juicing MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Additives Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Safety Links MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Index MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Articles MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Back Pain MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Labor & Birth MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Blending Chart MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Essential Oil Details MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Links MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Miscarriage MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Post Partum MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Childbearing MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Problems in Pregnancy & Birthing MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #1 MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #2 MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Tips MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Uses MoonDragon's Alternative Health Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information Overview MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Touch & Movement Therapies Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy: Touch & Movement: Aromatherapy MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Touch & Movement - Massage Therapy MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Therapeutic Massage MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 1 MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 2 MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Nutrition Basics Index MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy Index MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Massage Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Hydrotherapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Pain Control Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Relaxation Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Steam Inhalation Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy - Herbal Oils Index
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