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What Your Body Really Wants

Jun 13, 2008
In the Western world there is often a huge disparity between what our bodies need and what they actually get. Your body is an organism more complex than the most powerful computer and needs regular nutrition in order to function properly and regenerate.

This nourishment is derived from a balanced and varied diet, high in the vitamins, minerals and other substances that are vital for maintaining the health of any individual. Unfortunately, our lifestyles are often not conducive to good health, and all too regularly our diet lacks the nutrition we require.

Eat your way to good health
We are only now beginning to realise just how profound an effect diet has on our lives. Of course, most people recognise that consuming large amounts of unhealthy food can lead to weight gain, but what they fail to understand is that almost all key health factors are affected by diet, including:

* Digestion.
* Energy levels.
* Heart rate and circulation.
* Hormones.
* Thyroid/metabolism.
* Stress levels.
* Immunity.

Imbalances and deficiencies of essential nutrients affect the way you look and feel. Help maintain good health by ensuring your diet contains all the nutrients your body needs.

Vitamins, minerals and the rest...
The importance of water cannot be underestimated. It is genuinely recommended that you drink two litres of water a day, an amount that should be increased when exercising.

Although they often get a bad press, we could not function without carbohydrates. The digestive tract is responsible for breaking down all carbohydrates into glucose, the body's main source of fuel.

Fibre is essential for moving food through the digestive system and also has an important role to play in many other bodily functions.

Protein is vital for the growth, maintenance and repair of all body components. A lack of sufficient protein in our diets can lead to problems with tissues, nerves, bones, muscles, internal organs, blood, skin, hair and nails.

Good fats, composing of fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6, are essential. These fats perform many biological roles, including assisting brain function.

Vitamin A
Plays an important role in eye and skin health, enhances immunity, assists in bone and teeth formation and acts as an antioxidant protecting against disease.

The B vitamins
Essential for the nervous system, help digestion, muscle, skin, eyes, hair, liver and brain function, reduce stress and are required to release energy from carbohydrates.

Vitamin C
Acts as an antioxidant and is necessary for tissue growth and repair, healthy gums and bones. Also helps in the absorption of iron and is useful when the body is under stress.

Vitamin D
Protects against muscle weakness, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, as it is required for the absorption and utilisation of calcium.

Vitamin E
This powerful antioxidant protects against heart disease, cancer and ageing, as well as improving circulation and helping to repair damaged tissue.

Vitamin K
Required for the normal clotting of blood and promotes healthy liver function.

Healthy cell division and replication depends upon adequate intake of folate, which is also important in pregnancy and for foetal development.

Essential for bone and teeth health, helps prevent osteoporosis and is important for blood clotting and nerve function.

Iron is required for energy production and a healthy immune system, and it also carries oxygen from the lungs to all the cells in the body.

Required for fertility, a healthy reproductive system and healthy skin. Zinc also protects the liver and the body against free radicals.

Performs several vital functions, including protecting the body against heart disease, cancer, ageing and damage to the heart and liver.

A vital catalyst in releasing energy, magnesium is also good for cardio health and works with calcium to maintain healthy bones.

Your body needs potassium to maintain a healthy nervous system and regular heart rhythm. It also helps promote healthy blood pressure and helps control the body's water balance.

Helps convert food into energy, is needed for blood clotting and forms an essential part of all body cells.

Essential for water balance and healthy nerve and muscle function.
About the Author
Gillian McKeith is a holistic nutritionist who has made it her life's mission to improve people's eating habits. More information about what our bodies need in order to function properly can be found at www.gillianmckeith.info

She is the author of the newest bestselling book 'Gillian McKeith's Food Bible'.

This article was written by Stephanie Lee, a copywriter with an interest in healthy living
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