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Without an adequate intake of nutrients, our health becomes less than optimal. We may become tired, depressed, less alert and sleepy. Many people ignore what they put into their mouths, not realizing that their health is also a reflection of their nutritional intake. Yet, estimates are that up to 40% of cancers in men and up to 60% in women are attributable to diet. Over 100 studies concur that plant foods play special roles in cancer resistance.

About 100 years ago, carbohydrates, fats and proteins were identified as the sources of nutritional energy. During that century, vitamins and minerals were identified as regulators of metabolism. Phytochemicals � non-nutrients naturally present in the plant kingdom � are now being avidly studied.

Preliminary research suggests that two carotenoids � lutein and zeaxanthin, present in dark green leafy vegetables � protect our eyes against age-related deterioration of the retina, which afflicts one in three people over age 75. Today, more than 500 different carotenoids appear to contribute even more than just Vitamin A precursors.

As research delves deeper, more is understood about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables. Many studies are showing a lower risk for cancer when the diet is rich in fruits and vegetables.

Because much of our food is adulterated by mass commercial refinement, people in the United States are less healthy despite having the most extensive healthcare system in the world. Natural, wholesome food is converted into chemically-laden, lifeless food. Food additives, colors, dyes and preservatives are added to maintain shelf life, and natural oils are changed to hydrogenated fats.

Many experts estimate that approximately 80% of our population consumes an insufficient quantity of essential fatty acids. This is presenting a serious health threat to Americans. Due to over-processing of our food, high fat, sugar, salt and low fiber are contributing to degenerative diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Several types of practitioners are specifically trained to help you on a nutritional course to optimal health:

  • Certified Nutritionist (CN)

  • Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS)

  • Registered Dietitian (RD)

  • Registered Nurse (RN)

  • Physicians Assistant (PA)

  • Doctors of Chiropractic (DC)

In addition to basic nutritional training, practitioner studies may also include Herbology, Homeopathy, enzymes and glandulars. Ayurveda also utilizes body type and personality to individualize the diet.

If you are having health problems, there are options that are not invasive nor harmful to your health. As an example, many gallbladder operations are performed needlessly. By asking the right questions, analyzing the diet and lifestyle, complementary treatment can be recommended, possibly preventing surgery.

Source: Diana Bright, MS, RD; Jennifer Workman, MS, RD