DIETARY WISDOM - WHAT
FOOD DOES AND IS
Let us look at some of the most important fruits and vegetables used in raw juice therapy. It is a good idea to know something about nutrition so that you can understand the merits of the various foods we eat, and create your own balanced diet.
Carbohydrates consist of starches and sugars and are the main providers of energy for the body. In Western cuisine, they constitute up to fifty per cent of the diet, whereas in Eastern cuisine, they may constitute up to 90 per cent. The use of refined sources of carbohydrates such as white flour, polished rice and white sugar is a prime cause of obesity.
This is because such refined foods are easy to eat in large quantities without filling the stomach, as opposed to natural foods such as whole-wheat flour, brown rice and raw sugar.
Another advantage of natural foods is that they are rich in dietary fiber. Dietary fiber adds bulk to the contents of the gut, and thereby prevents constipation. An adequate consumption of dietary fiber in your diet will ensure that you do not suffer from the disorders linked with refined foods. Some excellent sources of dietary fiber are whole wheat bread (not necessarily the same as brown bread), brown rice, pulses, and oatmeal.
Fats provide a concentrated store of energy to the body. They also provide twice as much energy as carbohydrates or proteins. Unfortunately, fats are a reserve source of energy. When you eat surplus fat, proteins, or carbohydrates, the body stores it as fat. This is the body’s natural defense mechanism to protect against starvation. Fat also provides the body with insulation and helps it maintain its core temperature.
Unfortunately, in these times of plenty, most of us are fortunate enough to never encounter a situation where we have to starve. Thus, the fat keeps getting accumulated in the body and eventually leads to obesity with a host of associated problems.
It is essential to restrict our intake of fats to the amount that is required by the body. The worst kinds of fats are saturated fats. These fats are found in many processed foods, animal and dairy products, and increase the low density lipoproteins (LDL) in the body. Too much LDL in the body coats the insides of the arteries and leads to heart disease.
The best fats to consume are polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats. These are derived from vegetables and are rich in High Density Lipoproteins (HDL). HDL is actually beneficial for the body as it clears the lining inside the arteries. Such types of fats are found in grains and cereals especially soy, maize or corn, sunflower, linseed, sesame and safflower.
Proteins are used for the growth and repair of the body and are one of the most components of our diet. Proteins are composed of amino acids.
There are twenty common amino acids, out of which eight are essential for the proper functioning of the human body. These eight amino acids are not synthesized by the body and must be obtained directly from food sources. The eight essential amino acids are isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threo¬nine, tryptophan, and valine.
Eggs, milk, meat, and fish, all contain these essential amino acids. However, vegetables may lack one or more of these essential acids. Vegetarians must ensure that they receive all eight of these essential amino acids by combining more than one vegetable product. A good combination is a mixture of grains, seeds, pulses, nuts, and legumes in your diet. This also has the added advantage of having no saturated fat that is so common in meat.
The body does not require a large supply of protein, as long as the protein supplies it with the essential amino acids. Other amino acids that are not used by the body are converted into heat and energy. When energy providing foods are given, the protein levels usually do not need supplementation.
There are eight major minerals and eight trace elements that are required by the body to function properly. Mineral deficiency is gradually detected over a period of time and can lead to various unhealthy conditions. Raw juices are an excellent source of these minerals.
The major minerals that are essential for the body are calcium, chlorine, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, sodium, and sulfur. The main trace elements include chromium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iodine, manganese, selenium, and zinc.
Vitamins are a group of organic compounds that are required in minute quantities for the normal functioning of the body. It must be remembered that as with every other aspect of our diet, vitamins must also be consumed in the correct quantity, avoiding a deficit or an excess. Raw juices are an essential source of vitamins and ensure that the body receives it required share of these important food elements.