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5 Steps to Wellness - STEP 4: A Healthy Balanced Diet
A balanced diet is when all the nutrients are present in every meal. Those nutrients are known as:
1. Proteins2. Essential Fatty Acids3. Vitamins4. Minerals5. Trace Minerals6. Carbohydrates7. Fibres8. Water
Ideally one should have 6 meals a day, but one should first work towards 3 meals a day and snacks in between with breakfast being the biggest meal and dinner the smallest.
Protein comes from greek “proteios” prime, “protos” first.
Our bodies are made up largely of protein – the skin, muscles, organs, immune (warrior) cells, nails, hair, brain, base of bones.
Only when protein is supplied can each cell function normally and keep itself in constant repair. With adequate protein intake, energy is readily produced and maintained.
A lack of proteins causes hair to break, nails break and peel, muscles lose their elasticity (ageing and wrinkles, and muscle waste). Lack of protein prevents the production of enough warrior cells for the immune system to combat the germs and viruses, allowing the immune system to become compromised.
Superior sources of protein – whey protein, eggs, fresh milk, liver, kidneys, buttermilk, cheese, soybeans and powdered yeast (brewer’s or Torula Yeast).
Excellent protein sources – meats, fish, fowl (chicken, duck, turkey).
Fair sources – nuts, beans, peas and grains (mealies, sorghum, millet, beans, samp, brown rice, chick peas, lentils, dholl) – Fair sources proteins need to be consumed together with other fair proteins to get the full benefits and obtain full absorption. Otherwise they don’t get absorbed, goes to waste and also make gas.
2. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) Omega 3 and 6 Oils
Our cells, which make up the structure of our body, are made up of a balanced combination of Proteins and Oils (EFA).
Essential Fatty Acids helps prevent the hardening of the blood vessels and reduces high blood pressure. It is needed by the nerves and brain for normal functioning and for improved concentration, memory and focus. It helps prevent excessive fat and cholesterol and is essential before cholesterol and fats can be used. It prevents swelling and pains in the joints.
Lack of EFA the hair becomes dry and forms dandruff, the skin becomes thick, dry and scaly and eczema and psoriasis are formed.
Refined Oils (refined sunflower and canola) and margarine interrupt the correct building of the cells resulting in illnesses such as diabetes, heart diseases, blockages in the blood vessels (heart attacks or thrombosis or varicose veins), irritability, poor concentration and lack of focus.
Sources: almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, pecanuts, macadamias, nuts, wheat germ, avocados, mayonnaise. Avoid cashews and brazil nuts (rich in hard fats).
EFA is also available in oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, pilchards, trout. Also from natural cold-pressed vegetable oils (sunflower, flaxseed, peanut, sesame and pumpkin).
3. Vitamins , 4. Minerals and 5. Trace Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential to do all chemical reactions in the body.
- They help to burn glucose into energy.
- They help the proteins and essential fatty acids to work together to build new muscles, skin, hair, blood, blood vessels, etc.
- They help to put calcium in the bones.
- They help to prevent colds and flu and infections.
- They help feed the nerves, so reduces stress and allows one to sleep peacefully.
- They help to reduce muscle cramps.
- They help to fight germs and viruses.
Best sources of vitamins and minerals are from fruits and vegetables that are grown organically and whole grains. In every meal, the amounts of vegetables should be about 70% of your plate. If you cannot obtain organic or home grown fruits and vegetables and whole grains, you will need to use supplements.
Foods grown with fertilizers normally do not absorb enough minerals from the soil which makes them poor in vitamins and minerals content, hence the need for supplements.
The body can produce its own B vitamins. They are normally produced by the good bacteria (acidophilus) in the intestines. Acidophilus is often destroyed by antibiotics, so it needs to be replaced with probiotic supplements or lots of yoghurt.
NOTE: Vitamins and minerals supplements should not be taken alone. They work in balance. Too much of one vitamin alone can cause other vitamin deficiencies.
6. Carbohydrates and 7. Fibres
The best sources of carbohydrates and fibres are from whole grains (beans, lentils, chickpeas, dholl, brown rice, barley, fresh or dried mealies) and whole grain cereals (not refined), fruits and vegetables.
Carbohydrates release glucose into the blood stream. A steady supply of glucose obtained from carbohydrates is most important, as this will maintain your energy levels throughout the day. Glucose converts to energy and such energy keeps you awake, alive, energetic, and gives you full concentration and focus. It keeps you relaxed and also allows you to have the needed energy if you are doing sports or need that extra time span of concentration to study for exams.
Fibres in the whole grains, fruits and vegetables help to control the release of glucose. Without fibres, too much glucose is released and this makes one become hyperactive and tired and lack focus and concentration. The extra glucose that is not used for energy becomes fat and makes one put on weight leading to obesity. Fibres are also used to remove waste from the intestines. It acts as a broom to sweep away the waste and prevents waste from fermenting or rotting.
It is advised to consume at least 1 litre of water daily. Water helps to keep your system clean, to wash away excess toxins and allows the body to balance itself so it does not have an unbalanced acid / alkaline ratio.
If you find yourself bloating, having acid reflux or producing gas, it is a sign of poor digestion. Your foods are not being digested properly and are rotting or fermenting in your digestive system.
Enzymes are essential to break down the foods so the body can use them. Take digestive enzymes supplements for a while with every meal to allow your body the time to make its own enzymes.
Alternative – sprouted seeds, pineapple or pawpaw seeds for natural digestive enzymes.
Avoid ant acids – it neutralizes the stomach acid which results in undigested foods.
Antibiotics destroy the good bacteria in the intestines. Good bacteria control the growth of bad bacteria (commonly known as candida). They also help with good digestion. When candida growth is not controlled, it damages the intestinal walls by making holes in them and the waste in the colon seeps into the blood stream causing allergies, asthma, post nasal drip. It is also the cause of thrush. Use a good probiotic.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey (raw) are better replacements to drinking tea and coffee. 2 tsp of Apple Cider and 2 tsp of honey in a glass of water 3 times a day will help with the healing process, allows your body to have a peaceful rest, will remove calcium deposits in the joints and heart which helps to relieve joint pains. It is good after a meal to assist and improve digestion. Also helps remove alcohol and sugar cravings.
You are now ready for STEP 5:
The 5 Steps to Wellness: continued...
STEP 1: How to Live a Healthy Lifestyle
STEP 2: Acid and Alkaline Foods
STEP 3: Junk Food
STEP 4: A Healthy Balanced Diet
by Allan Wohrnitz (BSc)
Nutritionist / Anti-Drugs Campaigner
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