5 months ago

Radiant Living

Protein. Your body is

Protein. Your body is built largely of protein. It is the most important component of muscles, blood, skin, bones, nails, hair, and the internal organs. It is necessary for the growth, maintenance, and repair of the body. Protein takes longer to digest than starch. It is broken down in the digestive system into amino acids which the body then uses to build its own proteins. Ideally it should make up about 8 percent of the diet. 1 Excess protein is changed to uric acid and eliminated, or converted to glucose and used for fuel. Good sources of protein include seeds and nuts, whole grains, legumes (beans and peas), dark green leafy vegetables, and potatoes. Fat. These fatty acids are necessary for the proper performance of the body. They help to absorb certain vitamins, make food taste good, and give a feeling of satisfaction after you have finished eating. They also regulate many body processes such as normal cell growth, nerve functions, and immune system response. However, moderation is important. Fat is the most difficult nutrient for the digestive system to handle, and takes four to five hours to leave the stomach. It should comprise no more than 25 percent of the diet. 2 Excess fat is simply stored to be used as a backup source of fuel. High fat foods include meat and dairy products, nuts, and “free fats”— refined fats, such as oils and margarines. Low fat foods include beans, grains, vegetables, and fruit. Fiber. While technically a carbohydrate, fiber contributes no nutrients. It fills you up, thus limiting calorie intake. It slows down the digestion of sugar, and speeds up the time it takes food to digest, which keeps it from decaying before it is eliminated. Fiber also binds with cholesterol and removes it from circulation. Unrefined plant foods contain enough fiber to properly regulate digestion. Micronutrients. Vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients are substances the body needs in small amounts to work properly and stay healthy. It has been proven that a diet of pure carbohydrates, protein, and fat without the micronutrients will result in death. When foods are refined, the majority of both vitamins and minerals are removed. For instance, when wheat is refined to make white flour, twentyfour vitamins and minerals are lost; when it is “enriched” five of the lost micronutrients are replaced. Phytochemicals. Literally “plant chemicals,” these are substances found in plants that, among other benefits, lower the risk of cancer. Most work by either 6 s RADIANT LIVING

locking carcinogens from affecting the cells or by suppressing malignant cells. Phytochemicals are usually destroyed when foods are refined. A Diet of Excess Most of the diseases that plague our society today, including heart disease, hypertension, cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes, are closely connected to our dietary habits. The typical American meal is high in fat, protein, and refined carbohydrates, such as sugar and white flour, and low in unrefined carbohydrates, such as natural fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. In the last hundred years the incidence of heart disease and stroke has risen from 15 percent to 45 percent of all causes of death. The occurrence of cancer has risen from 6 percent to 25 percent. This rise in disease is directly related to diet. In countries where people do not have access to a western diet there is a much lower incidence of these diseases. Americans are dying from a diet of excess: too much fat, too much protein, too much cholesterol, too much sugar, and too much salt. We eat too many calories and we eat too often. Fat. Most people don’t realize that they are consuming an average of 37 percent of their daily calories [food energy] as fat. This is much more than the body can properly handle. Excess fat has been identified as the most damaging element of the western diet and is a major contributor to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Protein. For many years there has been an emphasis in nutritional science on getting enough protein. However, research shows that this emphasis has been misplaced. Rather than most people getting too little protein, Westerners eat two to three times more than they need. The respected nutritional scientist Dr. Mark Messina, formerly of the National Cancer Institute’s Diet and Cancer branch, sums it up. He says, “When people eat several servings of grains, beans, and vegetables throughout the day and get enough calories, it is virtually impossible to be deficient in protein.” 3 Excess protein in the body leaches calcium from the bones and is the major cause of osteoporosis. In one study men on low (48g), medium (95g), and high (142g) protein diets were given 1400 mg of calcium per day for four months. The low protein group gained 20 mg of calcium per day. The medium protein group lost 30 mg of calcium per day, and the high protein group lost 70 mg of calcium per day. 4 Too much protein also causes deterioration of kidney function, and is linked to increased risk of cancer. Research and epidemiological studies correlate high protein intake with RADIANT LIVING s 7

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