Many of us will admit, we eat because we like food. While we eat to satisfy our appetite, food has much more important roles to play. Simply put, along with water, oxygen, sleep, clothing, and shelter, food fulfills one of our most basic survival needs. Food provides the nourishing substances that are necessary for growth, development, maintenance, repair, and the proper functioning of all metabolic processes. Driven by hormones, hunger is a powerful signal that we need fuel to generate the energy that sustains life and allows our bodies to run like super-efficient machines. Dietary decisions, that we often make without much thought, negatively or positively impact our health, sending our bodies information that encourages homeostasis and long-term health, or puts us at risk for dysfunction and the onset of disease.
Although we look to food for comfort and nourishment, it’s good balanced nutrition that is central to health. If we were to think of food as health-supportive preventative medicine, we might begin to focus on healthy, energizing nutrients that support overall wellness. In addressing declining health, Functional Medicine practitioners often look for nutrient deficiencies to determine the source of underlying dysfunction, which often precedes the development of chronic disease. While disease can be triggered by multiple factors, each factor is influenced by nutritional needs. Nutrient deficiencies can also result from malabsorption issues or conditions that can interfere with nutrient utilization.
Feeding your body the nutrients it truly deserves, as well as requires for good overall function, simply comes down to making healthy, mindful choices. Essential nutrients needed for proper bodily function include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and, of course, water. By making smart choices and choosing a variety of foods from each category, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet may be easier than you think.
Protein – Required for the structure, function and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs, proteins are found in every bodily cell. Proteins consist of chains of amino acids, broken down from dietary protein. Proteins are necessary for repair and maintenance of all body tissues, provide a major energy source, transport molecules and oxygen throughout the body, and are involved in the creation of hormones, enzymes and antibodies. The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommended that 10-35% of your daily calories should be protein from sources such as meat, poultry, seafood, beans and pulses, eggs, nuts and seeds.
Carbohydrates – As the main fuel source for the body, dietary carbs are necessary to keep the brain, nervous system and body functioning optimally and provide the energy for proper cellular function, Sufficient daily intake of carbohydrates prevents the breakdown of protein for energy, ensuring adequate protein for its more important roles. Carbs are needed for glucose regulation, fat metabolism, and intestinal health. When it comes to health, not all carbs are created equally. Be sure to choose complex carbs, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, as these contain nutrients fiber to support elimination and feed beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract. The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend that 45-65% of daily calories come from complex carbohydrates. Choose wisely.
Fats – Fats provide a backup source of concentrated energy that the body uses when glucose runs low. Dietary fats are necessary for absorption and storage of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat cells insulate the body and help to sustain a normal core temperature. Fats provide the essential fatty acids necessary for brain health, immune function, healthy inflammation response, proper nerve signaling, and blood clotting. Although dietary fats are only now overcoming the decades old anti-fat recommendations, the USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend that 20-35% of daily calories are sourced from healthy fats, including grass fed animal products, coconut oil, nuts and avocados.
Vitamins and Minerals – Essential to sustaining overall health, vitamins and minerals work synergistically, performing hundreds of supportive roles in the body. Some of these roles include keeping bones strong and healthy, bolstering the immune system, repairing cellular damage, and converting food into energy. Vitamin and mineral insufficiency can result in illness and disease, while sufficient quantities can provide substantial health benefits. Adhering to a healthy diet along with supplementation helps ensure you are getting the micronutrients necessary to support long-term health and longevity.
Professional Supplement Center carries these and other supportive nutrients in support of overall health and wellness:
BioNutrient Multi by Energetix® – This well designed, clean dietary supplement provides whole food nutrition with highly bioavailable vitamins and chelated minerals in support of optimal bodily function. Gluten free.
Minimal and Essential Antioxidant and Multi-Vitamin Formula – This once daily multivitamin, mineral and antioxidant formula provides a full spectrum of nutrients to meet the minimum daily requirements of vitamins and some minerals. Gluten, dairy and soy free formulation.
Multi Caps by Progressive™ Labs – This high potency multiple vitamin and mineral formula provides 100% or more of the recommended daily amounts of 13 vitamins, plus minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and enzymes. Contains soy and iron.
Pure Pals with Iron by Pure Encapsulations® – Designed for children aged 2 and older, this chewable formula provides a broad-spectrum, scientifically-based blend of bioavailable vitamins, minerals and bioflavonoids in support of optimal health, immune defense and healthy cognitive function. Natural cherry flavor. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO, hypoallergenic formulation.
Daily Multi Vitamin and Mineral for Dogs by Dancing Paws – Lest we forget the health of our furry family members, this unique canine chewable complex is formulated to provide optimum nutrient levels with guaranteed potencies of human quality essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Daily Multi Vitamin and Mineral for Cats by Dancing Paws – This unique feline vitamin, mineral and antioxidant complex is designed to promote normal growth and longevity with optimal nutrient levels in guaranteed potencies. Pull apart capsule for easy dosing; simply sprinkle on food.
How Does Food Impact Health? https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/food-medicine/how-does-food-impact-health
Macronutrients in Health and Disease. http://www.nutritionmd.org/consumers/general_nutrition/macro_protein.html
6 Primary Functions of Proteins. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/6-primary-functions-proteins-5372.html
Do Humans Need Carbohydrates to Be Healthy? http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/humans-need-carbohydrates-healthy-6670.html
Three functions of Fat in the Body. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/three-functions-fat-body-3402.html