Nutrition Essentials for Feeling Good
In This Article:
Essential Cofactors: Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals can work real wonders in the brain, where they act as cofactors, or chemical helpers, in the production of neurotransmitters. B vitamins, for instance, can protect you from depression, anxiety, stress, confusion, fatigue, mental dullness, and emotional fragility and can even boost IQ. The minerals magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), and chromium (Cr), plus antioxidant nutrients, especially vitamin C, are also vital for brain power and health.
These vital vitamins and minerals are found mostly in whole and "live" food, the fresher the better, and organically grown whenever possible. Whole foods grow in the ground or on trees they are natural and have undergone little or no processing. They include beans, lentils, seeds, nuts, whole grains such as brown rice, whole-wheat bread or pasta, as well as fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, and eggs. Seeds are especially rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron, as well as in fiber.
The fresh stuff isn't the whole story, though. To achieve optimum health and nutrition, you need to "eat right and take a multivitamin," as a recent headline in the New England Journal of Medicine editorial put it: "The evidence suggests that people who take such supplements and their children are healthier." A good, high-strength multivitamin plus 1-3 grams of vitamin C a day is your insurance policy for a natural high.
Unconvinced of their power? Consider this research. Ninety students were assigned to one of three groups: one received a multivitamin and mineral supplement; the second, an identical-looking placebo; and the third, nothing. After seven months, the IQ of those taking the supplements had increased by a staggering nine points! A five-point increase would get half the learning disabled children out of special schools and back to normal schooling.
Natural High Basics
- Make sure most of your diet is made up of whole foods and fresh foods.
- Eat three servings a day of top-quality protein foods fish, poultry, lean meat (free range), egg, soy, or combinations of beans, lentils, and grains.
- Avoid hydrogenated fats and reduce your intake of saturated fats from meat, dairy produce, and junk food.
- Combine protein with carbohydrates.
- Choose low-GI carbohydrates such as whole grains, vegetables, and most fruits, and avoid sugar and refined foods.
- Eat fish three times a week, or take fish-oil supplements.
- Use cold-pressed seed oils on salad dressings.
- Have a heaping tablespoon of ground seeds every day.
- Drink at least a quart of water, if not two, a day, either pure or in diluted juices and herbal or fruit teas.
- Minimize your intake of tea, coffee, and alcohol.
- Eat lots of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables at least five servings a day.
- Take these supplements:
- A high-potency multivitamin and mineral formula.
- 1-3 g of vitamin C.
- An antioxidant formula.
- Essential fatty acids.
A good multivitamin and mineral should provide, at least, the following:
Vitamin A: 20,000 IU total (606 mcg)
[10,000 IU (3,030 mcg) from retinol;
10,000 IU (18 mg) from beta-carotene]
Vitamin D: 100 IU (5mcg)
Vitamin E: 100 IU (67 mg)
Vitamin C: 200 mg
Vitamin B1 (thiamine): 25 mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 25 mg
Vitamin B3 (niacin/niacinamide): 50 mg
Vitamin B6: 50 mg
Folic acid: 266 mcg
Vitamin B12: 10 mcg
Biotin: 50 mcg
Pantothenic acid: 50 mg
Coenzyme Q: 20 mg
Calcium: 333 mg
Magnesium: 200 mg
Iron: 10 mg
Zinc (citrate): 10 mg
Iodine: 30 mcg
Copper: 50 mcg
Manganese: 5 mg
Chromium: 100 mcg
Selenium: 100 mcg
Molybdenum: 30 mcg
From NATURAL HIGHS: Supplements, Nutrition, and Mind/Body Techniques to Help You Feel Good by Hyla Cass and Patrick Holford. Copyright © Hyla Cass, M.D., and Patrick Holford. Used by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
To order this book visit www.penguin.com. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.