The Basic Needs of Vitamins and Minerals

The most important contribution to our preventive health program is to give our body its basic food needs to function well. Our fearfully and wonderfully made body has the capacity to heal and repair itself if we give it the right nutrients. Besides the basic water, protein, carbohydrates and fats our body needs, health, nutrition and easy diet begin with giving our body its share of vitamins and mineral supplements. Let us take a look at this last one.

The body requires extra nutrients and supplements for several reasons:

1) Most people are subjected to bad foods, bad habits, damaging environments, and/or prolonged drug treatments on a daily basis.
2) Many of the regular diets are of poor nutritional values (incomplete foods or junk foods).
3) the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) suggests only enough to minimize the risk of disease-causing deficiencies; it does not allow for the increasing environmental hazards and depletion of nutrients in our increasing intake of processed foods at younger ages.
4) Studies of sample groups of people have shown that 66% are short of the RDA of vitamins and minerals.
5) Drugs that people take may block nutrient absorption.

One must take supplements to replenish lost nutrients caused by drugs, alcohol, refined, processed and canned foods, pollutants, additives, reducing diets, smoking, coffee and regular tea, stress, sweating during work or exercise. In addition, we need supplements because of commonly poor digestion and absorption of nutrients, imbalance in the system, harvesting of unripe fruits and vegetables, improper storage of foods, lack of variety of foods in the diet, soil nutrient depletion from poor agricultural practices and chemical fertilizers, excess sugar intake, toxic metals and chemical exposure.

Supplements are needed to build up and strengthen the immune system to resist diseases and infections, for recovery from surgery, stress, illness and physical exertion, to help to think more clearly and control mood swings, to help protect the body’s cells from oxidation (aging).
As we can see, there are plenty of reasons why supplements are needed and there is no reason for anyone to say that he/she does not need them.

It is well known that people who take supplements are healthier then those who don’t. They are stronger, more resistant to sickness and disease, recover quicker when they do get ill, live better and longer, stay younger and happier – even though many will be skeptical when someone on a health programs does become sick. We must remember that people who take care of their health are not immune to everything that exists out there in way of sicknesses. But if and when they do get sick, they will be able to recuperate faster. The amount of diseases and illnesses their healthy lifestyle protected them against may never be known.

Of course it is well to know that vitamins and minerals are also available in the foods we eat. In order to cut back on the purchase of supplements, one should learn the natural sources of the needed vitamins and minerals.

A simple way to plan a program for our dietary intake and get the most from our food intake, is to look at the percentages recommended in each principle dietary need in our daily diet. These should be approximately:

Carbohydrates – 58% (48% complex and natural sugars, 10% refined & processed);

Good fats – 30% (10% saturated, 10% monounsaturated, 10% polyunsaturated.

Proteins – 12% – beans, rice, wheat, nuts seeds, etc… fish first, poultry second and red meat last.

Watching these intake categories makes for a much easier way of dieting than watching calories.

A simple recommended guideline that will provide a healthy daily diet is:

1) 4 or more servings of fruits and vegetables.
2) 4 or more servings of bread and whole grain cereals.
3) 2-4 servings of dairy products, tofu from soybeans or other foods high in calcium and protein such as tahini (sesame seed butter).
4) 2 or more servings of beans, peas, fish, eggs, or meat.
5) Avoid high fats (especially animal fats), sweets, alcohol, pop…junk foods.

This will provide necessary protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin and minerals.

When I reduced my intake of refined sugars and processed foods, it made all the difference in my well being and energy output. It changed my whole way of thinking. I am still improving all the time, cutting back on the bad foods which are still, too often, a source of overwhelming temptation (like ice cream in hot summer months, and chocolates and chips at nigh, ummm – love them, but…

I also cut out coffee and tea and replaced them with herbal and green teas and added basic vitamin/mineral supplements. I am very much aware of the destruction that the majority of people are doing to their bodies through “ignorance” and “carelessness”. This is very sad because there is so much help available to us today. North Americans are suffering of many fatal diseases – just because of bad or overeating!

Many are seriously sick and yet they will not listen to their bodies nor to others who want to help them to make a simple change of eating habits. Somehow they prefer to suffer and go in and out of hospitals, pumping pills that compound their ailments and illnesses, while running up the cost of personal and national health. It is said that if the population would curb its dietary intake, we could empty the hospitals by 80%!