Monday, December 27, 2010

The Effects of Nutrition on our Health

A lack of proper nutrition is a serious issue that in recent years has become more and more of a household conversation topic. Every parent wants to provide adequately nutritious meals for their children. And as individuals there is a growing trend for several decades now toward healthier lifestyles and a more complete diet.
drawing - mom & child drawing - dad & child
Most of us are sure that we are getting what we need in our diets and that we are healthy but the truth is that most of us are lacking in some vital nutrients. We assume that because we eat three square meals a day that we're getting what we need. However today we live a fast paced lifestyle and the quality of our foods are not quite what we expect them to be. I think that very few of us would consider ourselves unhealthy and yet not make any changes to better our health. I read the two articles linked below about malnutrition and found them interesting. I thought I'd share bits of them here:

Nutrition for Health and Development from the World Health Organization
Nutrition is an input to and foundation for health and development. Interaction of infection and malnutrition is well-documented. Better nutrition means stronger immune systems, less illness and better health. Healthy children learn better. Healthy people are stronger, are more productive and more able to create opportunities to gradually break the cycles of both poverty and hunger in a sustainable way. Better nutrition is a prime entry point to ending poverty and a milestone to achieving better quality of life.
Nutrition affects our lives in many areas. It also affects our society as the WHO points to a relation between poor nutrition and poverty. This makes sense. If we feel well we will be able to work and/or work better. Granted, if there is no work to be done then our health can not be a factor. But for us in North America we can relate to feeling better and preforming better at work. We know that when we feel better we are happier and able to do the things we enjoy as well as the things we're obligated to do.

Malnutrition Information
Malnutrition can occur because of the lack of a single vitamin in the diet, or it can be because a person isn't getting enough food. Starvation is a form of malnutrition. Malnutrition also occurs when adequate nutrients are consumed in the diet, but one or more nutrients are not digested or absorbed properly.

Malnutrition may be mild enough to show no symptoms. However, in some cases it may be so severe that the damage done is irreversible, even though the individual survives.

Worldwide, malnutrition continues to be a significant problem, especially among children who cannot fend adequately for themselves. Poverty, natural disasters, political problems, and war all contribute to conditions -- even epidemics -- of malnutrition and starvation, and not just in developing countries.
I found it interesting that a lack of a single nutrient is cause to be classified as malnutrition. It makes sense! If our bodies are lacking in what we need then we would be under nourished, hence malnourished.

So what are the signs of malnutrition? I found this article and thought it was interesting enough to pass along:

Do You Have A Nutritional Deficiency? How To Identify The Signs.

In this article there is a chart of symptoms and potential causes of those symptoms. For example:


Dry skin

Deficiencies in EFA, vitamin A or vitamin E.

Small red bumps on
back of arms.

Deficiencies in vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc or EFA. Malabsorption of nutrients may be the cause.

Slow wound healing

Deficiencies in vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc or EFA. Diabetes may also be the cause.

Easy bruising

Deficiencies in vitamin K, C, E, or bioflavonoids.

When life gets rough someone usually pipes up with the old saying, "Well, at least you have your health". Our health is important because it affects everything we do and even how we behave. It is no wonder health and nutrition has become such a major concern in recent decades. Another old saying, "You never know you have till it's gone" is one that I hope we won't have to relate to our health. Those who have lost their robust health will agree with me, I am sure.

I strongly recommend Shaklee's food based nutritional supplements as an important addition to your well balanced meal routine.  Remember, the FDA's recommended dietary allowances are guidelines for average people to prevent deficiencies, not for optimal health.  This means that the US RDAs give us only the bare minimum required to ward off vitamin and mineral deficiencies.  If you are dealing with a nutritional deficiency, as many Americans are, it is recommended that you begin taking a food based nutritional supplements to correct the imbalances and give yourself what you need to live well and stay healthy.

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