It may seem a real contradiction to say that someone who is too heavy can actually be classed as malnourished, but more and more people are unconsciously prone to being in that situation, simply because they eat all the wrong things. The human body is nothing more than an intricate chemical processing plant.
Like any other manufacturing base, the body needs to be kept supplied with raw materials, so we eat. It is important that some of these chemicals need replenishing, and the right things need to be part of our diet to achieve that aim.Small shortages can lead to big consequences, and health is something nobody should take for granted.
If you tend to suffer from painful headaches, brittle hair and nails, and aching muscles, you could be deficient in B and E vitamins as well as magnesium, no matter how well fed you think you are. It may surprise you to learn that experts believe as many as 5% of western populations are under-nourished, even though well fed.
Despite the amounts that they eat and the calorie rich foods available, modern processing methods mean that many foodstuffs lose a lot of their natural goodness. Modern farming methods have left the soil short of selenium – vital to the health of human cells – to the extent that the selenium content of the average diet has halved in the last five years.
Do not imagine that dieting and exercise are the natural answers to all problems associated with your weight.Dieters make life even harder for themselves by sticking to a daily calorie count – below 1400 per day, it is difficult to meet the body’s needs – while exercise increases the need for vitamins A, C and E to prevent cell damage. Dieting can only work if the right foods are eaten, combined with proper exercises.
Vegetarians are prone to deficiencies of B vitamins, and those who avoid wheat and dairy products often lack sufficient calcium and magnesium.Smokers and drinkers need extra vitamin C to stay healthy, and people with chronic illness need lots of extra vitamins and minerals in their diets.
Women and young girls are especially at risk of future health problems today.As many as 20% suffer with iron deficiency anemia, and almost three quarters have too little calcium in their diets.Very few ever meet the folic acid targets, and vitamin D deficiency is regarded as a major health problem in modern society.
You need to know that the malnutrition you may not have even been aware of has an even more serious side. It can predispose you to poor immune system function – you get infections more easily and take longer to get better – and it can lead to psychological problems too.
Short-term side effects include dry, flaky skin, cracked lips, muscle tiredness and cramps.Pre-menstrual women may find their anxiety levels increasing dramatically, and long-term effects could be as serious as heart disease and osteoporosis.
The trouble is simply that people today do not get the same level of daily exercise – such as walking – as was common 50 years ago.Swimming and walking are both very effective ways of using up excess calories. You would be surprised how much good just a two-mile stroll each day would do.
We pile the food in – often the wrong stuff entirely – but we simply fail to burn it off quickly enough, so it gets stored as fat.It can literally take years before you realize just how malnourished you truly are, and that may be too late for some.The solution is simple, not necessarily involving the need for half a dozen vitamin pills a day.
Calcium develops bones and teeth – a pint of milk a day gives you all you need.All-bran or whole-wheat foods are rich in Magnesium, as are Brazil nuts. Fish such as Herring or Kipper, a bowl of special K or even one cod-liver oil capsule a day will give you the vitamin D you need.Pig’s liver is the richest source of iron, though Liquorice Allsorts and blackcurrants are also good.
Liver also contains folic acid, as do peanuts, boiled eggs and oranges.Most importantly, the richest source of selenium is tuna fish or brazil nuts.You can see that it is far from difficult to give your body the things it really needs on a daily basis, and niggling problems you have experienced with health could perhaps be corrected by doing so.
Just to give you a working idea of how differently we live today, imagine what you would physically need to do each day to get back to average daily energy expenditure of those times, far greater than the average today.
They used to burn off an average of 900 calories a day more than we do, and to achieve that you would have to – for example – run for 88 minutes solid, do aerobics for 141 minutes or cycle for at least 150 minutes! Sort of puts the whole issue into clearer perspective.
This may sound like too much hard work, so a different approach to eating may be the answer for you. If you are happy to be that bit heavier than you maybe should be, that is your right, but think hard about just what your daily needs really are.The body can cope quite happily with far less than it normally gets, as long as the balance of foodstuffs is right.
It may be bad enough that you have a genetic tendency toward being heavy, as doctors today claim can be the case, but to be overweight and still starving seems truly ludicrous in this day and age.Just think it over.