Food For Energy

From The Richardson Cancer Prevention Diet

Food For Energy! Food is primarily needed to provide energy for daily activities. The human body is like a machine. A machine burns gasoline or coal for fuel; the human body burns food for fuel. It's as simple as that. A machine converts its fuel into other forms of energy; the human body converts its food into body energy. The unit used for measuring the amount of energy in food is called the CALORIE. All foods furnish calories, but in different amounts.

Two heads of lettuce, one egg, three lumps of natural sugar (and no, "sugar" is not a bad word!), and one teaspoon of organic butter all furnish 75 calories, but they are entirely different from one another.

The three chief sources of energy are:

  • Fats
  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins

Foods high in fat, such as butter, cream, and salad dressings, contain more calories per unit of weight than foods largely composed of carbohydrates like sugar, breads, cereals, or proteins found in eggs, cheese, and meat. Lettuce is low in calories, but is made mostly of cellulose, a substance the body typically does not use. Lettuce does move wastes out of the colon, however, as it passes through the body. Tomato juice is low in calories because it is mostly water.

Protein is one of the three sources of energy required for body-building material. The word protein comes from the Greek word "to come first." Without protein, neither life nor growth is possible. Children need more protein in proportion to their weight than adults because they are growing rapidly. Adults need protein for the maintenance of body tissues. Only in cases of pregnancy, lactation, and in the recovery from wasting forms of diseases, do adults need protein for growth. There are many kinds of proteins, some superior to others in nutritive value. Organic milk, cheese, eggs, meat and fish contain the best quality protein provided by nature.

Minerals are needed for growth. At least 19 different minerals have been found in the human body in varying amounts. However, only a few are given special attention anymore.

Calcium and phosphorus are needed in large amounts because they are necessary for strong bones and teeth. Calcium also plays a part in the regulation of the nervous system and muscular response. It helps maintain the rhythmic beat of the heart and is essential for normal blood clotting. Iron is needed in small amounts but is a very important part of every living cell as well as in the hemoglobin of the blood.

The other essential minerals needed for proper body function are furnished in the foods that supply calcium, iron and protein. Another reason to eat whole foods, preferably raw!

Some of the best sources for calcium are:

  • Carrots
  • Oranges
  • Kale
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Clams
  • Milk and milk products (cheese included) are reliable sources of calcium

In the 1940s, it was recommended that every child consume a quart of "pure" milk each day. An adult required at least a pint to adequately provide the calcium needed to sustain proper health. Why is this so different today - what's changed? Our bodies or our foods?

During pregnancy, the demands for calcium are obviously higher because of the baby's development, in addition to the mother's requirements, so it must be provided. Every expectant mother should drink at least a quart of "pure" milk a day. If she doesn't receive the proper calcium from food, the growing fetus will be supplied at the expense of her bones and teeth. At the turn of the 20th century, the expression, "A tooth for every child" was true. Little has changed over time.

Iron is essential in the formation of hemoglobin and gives the blood its red color. It is responsible for transporting oxygen to the cells.

Foods that provide iron are:

  • Egg yolks
  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Heart and lean meats
  • Oysters
  • Shrimp
  • Clams
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Potatoes
  • Molasses
  • Apricots
  • Prunes

Insufficient iron in the diet results in listlessness, pallor, and poor appetite. The normal requirement for iron is really small, but most foods today contain such tiny amounts of iron, it is difficult to get enough natural iron. Make an effort to eat iron-rich foods every day, especially growing children and pregnant and lactating women.

Iodine is a special mineral that is also overlooked in modern diets. I discovered this when I cured my thyroid disease. Iodine aids the thyroid gland and assists in sugar metabolism. If you have a thyroid problem, diabetes, or are hypoglycemic, make sure to get enough iodine in your diet. Foods, which provide iodine, are:

  • Iodized salt, preferably sea salt
  • Fish liver oils
  • Sea and shellfish (preferably fresh)
  • Fruits and vegetables grown in coastal soils

Iodine is a problem in "the goiter belts", regions shut off from the spray of the sea. These are regions located near mountain ranges or inland locations. A special effort must be made in these regions to supply sufficient iodine in the diet.

Water is important in keeping the body strong. Two-thirds of the adult human body is water - salt water. Humans drink fresh water, but their bodies are 75 percent saline. Simply taste a tear or a bead of sweat for its salt content. This is one reason why humans need to drink ample amounts of fresh water every day. It keeps the body's salt concentrations low, easing stress on the kidneys and preventing dehydration. Plus, the average adult eliminates approximately eight cups of water a day by sweating, urinating, crying, and creating saliva. It is essential to replace what is lost.

Instead of drinking sodas throughout day, get into the habit of walking around with a bottle of water - all day long. You'll have more energy, feel better, feel full, and flush out toxins with proper urination. All of our body's cells float in water. As a matter of fact, they reproduce in a watery base. If there is insufficient water available in your body, the cells have difficulty duplicating. This can cause an assortment of problems. Water provides the liquid medium for the blood, for the digestive juices, and the elimination of waste. Water is critical for the regulation of body temperature, too. Drink water more than any other liquid, especially after meals to aid in digestion.

Never drink liquids while eating. Your mouth contains digestive juices necessary to begin the digestive process, and washing down your food with liquids washes away the digestive enzymes in the saliva. Drink after you have completely swallowed your food or after the meal.

Just as nutritious foods can promote a feeling of general wellbeing and increased vigor, a partial deficiency of vitamins can create a vague, overall feeling of being rundown, and generally results in a lowered resistance to infection, increased nervousness, fatigue, and a poor appetite. A diet of nutritionally void foods such as fat-free, sugar-free, bleached, processed foods can create depression and can increase feelings of stress.

Eating shouldn't be complicated. Why don't we go back to the simplicity of eating, like during our grandparents' days? Maybe then we could begin enjoying food again, feeling better, having more energy, and acting less stressed out.

Posted March 2009 | Permanent Link

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