What is "proper" nutrition?

Proper nutrition, regardless of disability, is needed at every age to maintain maximum health and growth. The requirements for good nutrition vary considerably, however; babies, teenagers, young adults, middle-aged and elderly people all have different nutritional needs. Because of biochemicalindividuality,the nutritional requirements of people vary considerably due to various ethnic and racial backgrounds as well, and the environmental effects on the body. Recommended daily allowances (RDA)s were established for healthy adult with a good genetic background. RDAs are not valid as a nutritional guide for anyone with an acute or chronic illness. Under such circumstances, RDAs may become quite high. There are special nutritional needs for pregnant women, and there are different requirements between the sexes at various ages.

Young children may have various nutritional deficiencies, since their digestive organs are still developing. Elderly people experience a degeneration of their digestive organs, so special attention must be given to their diet. Both digestion and absorption of food for proper nutrition, however the absorption is usually a problem only with small children and the elderly. Proper digestion is the dominant factor.

Minerals in the diet play a key role in proper nutrition, and are needed for the formation of many enzymes, coenzymes and some vitamins. The majority of the minerals we consume come from plants grown in soil having these minerals. The various trace minerals are not evenly distributed in the soil of the United States, or elsewhere. Farmers are not replenishing the minerals in the soil. Since they are continually being leached from the soil, tables of mineral contents contained in books may be deceptive.

Too much fat or sugar in the diet is unhealthy. Often, a craving for these is due to various vitamin or mineral deficiency. The main cause of true allergies is the improper digestion and/or absorption of proteins. The so-called hypo-allergenic materials are materials without protein.

Enzymes and some vitamins are destroyed by the heat from cooking and baking. Raw vegetables, fruits and grains, because of their fibrous cell structure, are relatively indigestible.

The majority of prescription drugs produce various nutritional deficiencies and should, therefore, be taken with appropriate nutritional supplements. Antibiotics, used internally, destroy the friendly intestinal bacteria we need for proper digestion, and therefore antibiotics should be supplemented with bactobacillus acidophilus tablets or powder. Toxic materials in the environment, and in foods or drugs, are tolerated differently by people, depending on the health of their kidneys and liver, and on the enzymes and sulfur-containing amino acids they have for destroying and eliminating various toxins or poisons. Toxins in food or drugs are often a primary cause of high blood pressure.

Obviously, many people need to alter their dietary habits, and take nutritional supplements, to maintain good health. Everyone should have a checkup annually with the proper lab tests and exams, with an access on nutritional factors.

Dr. Harold Johnson is owner/ director of the Whole Health Center, St. Louis Park. He will answer specific, nutrition-related questions in upcoming issues of ACCESS PRESS. Address your questions to Harold A. Johnson, ND., c/o Access Press, 3338 University Ave S.E., Minneapolis, Mn 55414.

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