Food For A Healthy Body

Vitamins, minerals and other compounds found in food appear to have a protective effect against certain diseases, including cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and osteoporosis. Good nutrition consisting of a balanced and diverse diet is essential, but especially for children and older adults, both of whom have unique dietary needs. Unfortunately, some of the sources for these essentials  can provoke bad physical reactions. Careful control of the diet can eliminate the problematic foods. 

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Special Healing Foods

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These phytochemicals or compounds, found in various foods, are believed to offer the following protections:

Problem Foods

Some of the most popular foods can be problematic for some people, creating allergic reactions. Some of the most common culprits are wheat, milk, corn, soy-based products and eggs. Non-specific symptoms include indigestion, mouth sores, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, flatulence, muscle and joint pain, headaches, mental fogginess and fatigue. 

Experts recommend avoiding stressor foods such as refined sugars, commercial colas, reined grain flours and pastas, processed fats, and hydrogenated fats such as margarine, and deep fried foods. They also encourage the selection or range-free, additive-free and hormone-free meats. 

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The macrobiotic diet finds its roots in the Asian conceptualization and understanding of life, commonly referred to as yin and yang. Consequently, one must try to find a balance between the two food groups in order to achieve harmony with nature, with others, and with oneself. Diet is simply another component of life that requires this balance in order to maintain good health. 

Yin foods: 

Summer plants are more watery and perishable. These plants provide a cooling effect required in teh hot summer months. They:

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Yang Foods:

Winter's vital energy descends into the roots of the plants, the leaves die, and plants become more yang. These plants can be kept for quite a long time without spoiling. They: 

Elimination Diet

Many people find that eliminating offending food items allows them to return to a symptom-free life, others find that aafter six months or so, they can eat the food to which they were sensitive with no or few effects. Sometimes symptoms can be kept under control by using a rotation diet, eating any given food once ever four to five days. Experiment to find what works for you. 

Below is one version of an elimination diet. Consult with a physician before undertaking any such measures. 

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Stage 1

Elimination Diet: no junk foods diet.

Allowed foods: vegetables, beans, whole grain breads, potatoes, rice, milk, most cheeses, butter, non-caffeinated teas, most fresh fruits, fresh unprocessed meats and fish, unsweetened juices and cereals without sugar or artificial coloring. 

Foods not allowed: alcoholic beverages, foods prepared with alcohol, coffee, caffeinated teas, cola drinks, chocolate, sugar and artificial sweeteners and foods that contain them, vinegar, pickles, margarine, foods that contain additives, smoked meats such as bacon, ham and sausages, smoked fish, aged cheeses such as cheddar and Brie, take-out food, restaurant food, bran, very salty food, curries papaya and pineapple. 

This is a difficult diet to follow but must be maintained for approximately one month to allow the triggering food to be totally eliminated from the system. Reintroduce one forbidden food per week and keep a record of how you feel. If symptoms recur, eliminate that food and reintroduce it after several weeks. 

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Stage 2 

Elimination Diet: restrict all foods listed in stage one and allow only the following foods: fresh vegetables, potatoes, beans, most fresh fruits, occasionally nuts, rice, unless it is eaten often, vegetable oil, non-caffeinated teas, lamb, turkey, pork, duck and rabbit. All meats must be fresh and unprocessed. 

Additional forbidden foods: breads and grains, including wheat and bulgur, oats, rye, barley, rice, corn, corn products including corn products, grits and polenta, beef, chicken, cheese and any kind of milk, including soy milk, butter, yogurt, oranges, margarine, eggs, all processed meats, lemons, limes, grapefruit, bouillon, yeast, peanuts, mushrooms and aspirin. 

Follow the diet for three weeks before reintroducing anything. Keep a diary and note what makes you feel better. Reintroduce one food per week to pinpoint sensitivities. If you feel no better, proceed to Stage 3.

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Stage 3

Elimination Diet: exclude everything except celery, fennel, avocado, lettuce, rutabaga, watercress, spinach, alfalfa sprouts, okra, asparagus, rice, millet, buckwheat, turnips, parsnips, yams, sweet potatoes, plantains, wild rice, tapioca, chestnuts, chick-peas, pumpkin, bananas, pears, kiwifruit, mangoes, pomegranates, guavas, black currents, pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts, pistachio nuts, cashew nuts, brazil nuts, pine nuts, olive oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, turkey, duck, lamb, rabbit, goose and fish no smoked fish or shellfish). 

Again, follow the diet for three weeks, begin reintroducing one food at a time until the culprit is found. 

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Diet and Children

"You are what you eat" is a reminder of parental responsibilities concerning nutritional choices for children. Providing a wholesome array of foods to supply a youngster's energy needs is essential to meet growth and developmental challenges. The physical and psychological well-being of the child is effected by the selection and quality of nourishment. The purity and safety of commercial foods is often compromised by the overuse of fertilizers and insecticides on crops, and the use of hormones and antibiotics in animals. This exposes the consumer, especially children, to accumulative health threats. Compared to an adult, the average child consumes four times the amount of cancer-causing chemicals in apple products and peanut butter. Food processing and chemical additives have been linked to many health problems, including allergies, hyperactivity, head and stomach aches, seizures and behavioral changes. To remove chemicals, scrub and rinse produce and peel off the skin if possible. Also, remove outer layers of leafy vegetables and dispose. Beware of polished, perfect exterior - question the enhancement process. 

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Teaching good nutrition to children from the outset will help them make it a lifelong practice. A balanced family menu should consist of a combination of grains (wheat, rye, millet, oats, barley, rice), vegetables, legumes, fresh fruits, lean protein (fish, poultry, meats, milk eggs, cheese) and nuts. Children should have complex carbohydrates, but less refined sugar, animal fats, tropical oils, cholesterol, as well as salt. Invest in a purifier to filter contamination (like lead) out of your water, and encourage your children to drink plenty of water instead of sodas. Of the three main meals emphasize breakfast to jump-start energy. Provide nutritional snacks in between meals to keep up the blood sugar and sustain activity levels. 

When dealing with children who have a weight problem, after determining no underlying medical cause, a family's major supportive contribution is to engage in a lifestyle sensitive to nutrition and exercise. A reasonably balanced approach of healthy foods and measured activities can encourage the child to select healthier personal choices. A relaxed but consistent action plan should address physical as well as emotional issues, concerning esteem questions or rejection. 

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Diet and Aging

Bodies change with age both structurally and functionally. Cells reproduce slower, blood flow thickens and the activities of the heart and kidneys tone down. The decline in enzyme production accelerates the ageing process. With these bio-chemical decreases, arteries can harden and reduce the oxygen supply to the vital organs. 

Changing one's dietary habits early enough in life can make the "Golden Years" fun and productive ones as well. Sensible nutritional principles need to be adapted to meet changing metabolic needs. Health-conscious, nutritious practices prove conductive to an enhanced well-being in old age, helping one avoid or limit age-specific diseases such as diabetes, arterioscleroses, prostrate problems, hip and knee-joint arthroses, and cancer. 

Aging does not require a special diet, as it is not a disease process. Yet geriatric medicine recommends early changes in diet before there are health concerns. The optimum goal is to provide the senior with a high quality, nutritious diet without the burden of surplus calories or fats. 

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