Hippocrates may be well known for his statement “let food be thy medicine”, but many centuries ago, the great physician also described the role of pure food, air and water for the preservation of health.
Hippocrates wrote that pure and wholesome food, pure air and clean water all provide the necessary nutrients which are essential for maintaining optimal health and longevity.
Nutrients are the elements which the cells of the body use as sources of energy, proper functioning and metabolic regulation, such as oxygen, sulfur, vitamins and minerals,.
Because of the fast paced lifestyle that many people adopt in this day and age, few people follow this advice, even though there is an abundance of healthy nutrient-rich organic foods available just about anywhere you shop.
Consequently, dietary factors are considered to play one of the leading roles contributing to various health problems in the world today.
Nutrition And The Risk Of Disease
Your diet and nutritional habits can be an environmental trigger for many diseases and other health problems.
This is true, especially when most diets are laden with chemicals such as aspartame, MSG and loads of refined sugars, as well as lacking in the main nutrients that your body needs to maintain perfect health.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, a diet that is rich in nutrients helps to strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress and helps with the normal building and repair of tissues.
Gaining Nutrients From A Healthy Diet
Some nutrients such as cholesterol, a complex compound needed for hormone production, are produced in the body, primarily in the liver, during metabolism.
However, most nutrients are not produced in the body and must be obtained from food, water, and air.
A diet rich in the nutrients that your body needs to maintain health involves choosing from a variety of foods that are chock full of nutrients and come in the form of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
These different foods are going to contain different types and different quantities of nutrients.
For instance, fish that are high in healthy fats such as wild caught salmon are going to be rich sources of Vitamin D and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
Foods that are highly processed, on the other hand, usually contain additives and preservatives that will act to deplete the body’s nutrient stores.
For example, consuming refined sugars depletes the body of Magnesium, an element needed for proper functioning of muscle, including cardiac muscle.
Estrogens will act to deplete your B vitamins, which are essential for energy production and the proper functioning of the nervous system.
Nutrition experts across the nation will all agree that the typical American diet is void in most nutrients that your body needs because of the amount of processed foods consumed, especially from fast food restaurants.
Constructing A Balanced Nutrient-Rich Diet
Then it comes down to it, there isn’t one single superfood that contains all of the necessary nutrients that your body needs to maintain health.
Take for instance and orange, which contains vast amounts of Vitamin C but is lacking in the quantity of B Vitamins that you need for proper energy production.
A nutrient rich diet is going to be a clean and balanced diet.
This can be accomplished by varying the foods that you eat, following established guidelines and simply not eating the same foods every single day, which sometimes can contribute to the development of food allergies.
A balanced diet is also going to contain adequate amounts of fiber that your body needs for digestion and proper elimination.
Some of the foods that you can include in your daily nutrition plan to get the nutrients that your body needs are:
- Fresh fruits
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
- Low fat dairy
- Wild caught fish and seafood
- Lean poultry
- Grass fed meats
- All-natural sweeteners
- Beans and legumes
- Filtered, alkaline or spring water
- Green tea
- Chocolate (rich in bioflavinoid catechins)
Most experts agree that most Americans consume too many foods that are high in calories but low in nutrients.
As a result dietitians often recommend some of the following foods for maintaining health in addition to our list above:
- Brightly colored fruits
- Vegetables including potatoes and other vegetables that are deep green, red and orange
- Whole, fortified and fiber-rich grain foods
- Nonfat or low-fat milk and milk products
- Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts