According to Western Nutritional Theory, the human body requires seven essential components to maintain good health and vitality. These components include carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oils, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and water.
Carbohydrates: There are two types of carbohydrates, simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. The main source of energy for the body comes from these two types of carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates-universally known as simple sugars-include fructose, white sugar, honey, and corn syrup. These sugars are absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream and give the body a surge of energy. The energy is normally short lived and followed by a “crash.” Complex carbohydrates absorb into the bloodstream at a slower rate and give the body a more consistent energy. Carbohydrates can be found in vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, and fruits.
Proteins: Muscles, glands, bones, organs, teeth, skin, nails, and hair are all formed by protein. Proteins are essential in creating and healing all body tissues and are made up of twenty-two different kinds of amino acids. Nine of these amino acids are called “essential” because the body cannot produce them and therefore, must be obtained through the foods we eat. Animal proteins contain all of the amino acids that are needed by the human body. However, animal proteins are also acidic and have saturated fats. Acidity in the body and saturated fats can cause a wide range of health problems and should be consumed with care. Proteins that come from plants have a different combination of amino acids. When consumed in excess plant proteins can also cause the body to become overly acidic. Proteins are found fish, seeds, nuts, beans and bean products, meat, eggs, and dairy.
Fats and Oils: Fats and oils work as key structural components in the membranes of the body’s cells. They are important as a source of energy for the body and are also significant in the creation and maintenance of healthy cells. The two main categories of fats and oils are saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats are usually found in animal products and tend to deposit themselves in the cells of organs and arteries. Saturated fats, when consumed in excess, can also cause a wide range of health problems. Unsaturated fats are fluid in the body and are necessary for cells to communicate with one another. They are also important in the transport of chemicals throughout the body. Fats and oils can be found in seeds, butter, cooking oils, animal foods, and nut butters.
Minerals: Minerals are needed to create and maintain the body’s bones, teeth, and muscles. They are also necessary to balance the body’s acid-alkaline base, enzymatic activities, hormonal activity, oxygen transport in the body, and the electrical movement in the nervous system. The body cannot make minerals and therefore must be obtained from the foods we eat. Minerals are found in sea vegetables, fish, salts, vegetables, and meat.
Vitamins: Vitamins are needed for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. They are also responsible for creating body tissues and the exchange of energy between cells. Vitamins can be found in vegetables, fruits, and sea vegetables.
Enzymes: Enzymes are necessary in the regulation of all chemical activities in the body. They speed up, stimulate, and catalyze changes in substances that are found in the body. They are also needed to breakdown, digest, and absorb carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Enzymes are found in fresh foods, fermented foods, pickled foods, raw vegetables, and fruits.
Water: Water is imperative in all bodily functions since eighty percent of the human body is made up of water. It is essential for the transport and burning of fat, the elimination of toxins from the body, and metabolic functions. Aside from the water that we drink, water can also be found in fruits and vegetables.
To maintain good health and strength, it is imperative that we utilize the seven essential components in a manner that is well balanced. Consuming one or more of the components in a method that is extreme, either by consuming too much or too little, we will not be able to sustain the balance that is necessary for our vitality.