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Vitamins and Nutritional Therapies: Understanding the Basics for Optimal Health

Vitamins and Nutritional Therapies: Understanding the Basics for Optimal Health

Dr. Brent Wells, D.C.
  • Healthy foods give you better nutrition and that's good, right? Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. of Better Health Alaska can help you understand the basics of how nutritional therapies support optimal health.
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Vitamins and nutritional therapies are helpful to use if you want to naturally keep your body healthy. However, it can be a little difficult sometimes to understand how they work and how to best use them for your needs. This article will explore more behind the importance of them and how to properly incorporate them into your life.

The Importance of Vitamins

Vitamins are essential nutrients that help your body to function correctly. After consuming them, they will work to provide you with energy while also healing injuries, repairing cell damage, and even boosting your immune system.

What is Vitamin and Nutritional Therapy?

Vitamin and nutritional therapy is designed to help naturally prevent and treat diseases. Some diseases they can help treat include:

  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease

Signs of Vitamin Deficiency

woman-rubbing-hands-through-hairYour body will give you plenty of signs that it’s lacking in vitamins. Some of the most common symptoms of a vitamin deficiency are:

  • Brittle nails and hair
  • Bleeding gums
  • Red bumps on the skin
  • Pale skin
  • A tingling feeling in your feet and hands
  • Abnormal heartbeat

The Most Important Vitamins for the Body

While each vitamin plays an important role in your health, there are a few that are a bit more crucial to consume than others.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is designed to help regulate your body’s calcium and phosphate levels. It encourages strong bone growth and can prevent painful bone diseases, such as arthritis osteomalacia. If your body has a lack of vitamin D you’ll usually experience a few side effects like muscle weakness, depression, and lethargy.

While you can take a vitamin D supplement, one of the best ways to get it is through food. Items that are high in this vitamin include egg yolks, cheese, and tuna. You can also spend around 30 minutes in the sun to absorb vitamin D.

Zinc

Zinc is one of the most important vitamins because it strengthens your immune system. It creates strong cells that fight off diseases and infections. It also works to create DNA for cells. However, if too much is taken, it can lead to a few serious issues, including heart disease. Because of this, it’s important to regulate how much you need for your body type. A few tasty options filled with zinc include cashews, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, and spinach.

Iron

Iron helps your blood produce hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is found in red blood cells and produces oxygen that travels through your lungs. If your body doesn’t have enough iron it can lead to a lack of oxygen in the body. This could cause anemia and side effects such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

To help with an iron deficiency, iron tablets can be taken. However, just like with zinc, too much iron can be troublesome and lead to issues such as muscle pain, skin rashes, and teeth stains. If you prefer to get your iron through your diet, some options to enjoy are tofu, lentils, molasses, apricots, and sardines.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is important for your body because it destroys free radicals. It also slows down the aging process of your cells and moisturizes your skin to prevent dryness. Some ways to incorporate vitamin E into your diet is to eat hazelnuts, eggs, broccoli, and sunflower seeds. Many fruits are also high in vitamin E, like blackberries, currants, cranberries, kiwis, and mangos.

Magnesium

Magnesium is found in over 60% of your bones. It helps regulate nerve functioning, blood pressure, and even develops DNA. Because it is so essential to human health, low magnesium levels can result in some serious medical problems, including abnormal heart rhythms. Some foods high in magnesium are flaxseed, tempeh, lima beans, and almonds.

Vitamin B-12

This vitamin is crucial for healthy bone and tissue development, brain functioning, and blood production. It also prevents megaloblastic anemia. Unlike many other vitamins, your body will absorb only the necessary amount of vitamin B-12 it needs and then pass the rest through your urine. This will prevent you from ingesting too much of it. Some of the best food to consume that’s high in vitamin B-12 is yogurt, eggs, liver, and shellfish.

What are Water-Soluble Vitamins?

Water-soluble vitamins are found in both plant and animal food and are sent immediately into the bloodstream when eaten. Because they are mainly composed of water, they easily circulate through your body. This helps to provide you with plenty of energy, build collagen, and create important proteins (R).

Types of Nutritional Therapies

ketogenic-diet-mealBody-Type Diets

Body-type diets are created to cater to your body’s specific needs. The diet breaks people down into three main body types: ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.

Ectomorph

This includes people who have a thin frame and tend to have trouble gaining muscle mass. They also have a high metabolism.

For this body type, your diet needs to be rich in fiber. You’ll also want to make sure to consume plenty of whole grains, vegetables, and nuts. Unlike other body types, ectomorphs can handle and process carbohydrates easily so there’s usually no need to change this in their diet.

Mesomorph

This body type has a slightly muscular appearance and a very solid athletic build. To create a diet that caters well to the mesomorph body type, it’s important to add items like fish, cottage cheese, berries, lentils, and almonds to it. Most experts recommend that a mesomorph consume 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat in their daily meals.

Endomorph

A person with an endomorph body has more fat than muscle. While not obese, they are usually rounder and heavier than most people. Their body also has trouble with processing calories and tends to have a slower metabolism.

Because of this, it’s important for someone with an endomorph body type to consume healthy fats, like macadamia nuts, cheese, and beef. It’s also vital to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet and stay away from sugar, pasta, and white bread.

Anti-Inflammatory Therapy

This therapy works to incorporate anti-inflammatory food into your diet. Inflammation in the body can result in a significant amount of medical issues, including diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. Anti-inflammatory therapy uses nutrition to fight against swelling.

There are plenty of anti-inflammatory foods you can eat (R). Some of the best are:

  • Salmon
  • Cherries
  • Broccoli
  • Oatmeal
  • Beans
  • Olive oil
  • Turmeric

By consuming these items, they will get to work quickly reducing inflammation thanks to the high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols in them.

Functional Nutrition Therapy

Functional nutrition therapy designs a personalized plan that looks at all aspects of your health to see where you can improve. For instance, a functional nutritionist might ask about your diet, previous illnesses, and if you currently are or have taken any medications (R).

They will then investigate the problems you might be having and find where the link between all of these might be. Using this type of therapy will also require you to make use of therapeutic diets. This is a meal plan that monitors how much of a certain food or vitamin you’re consuming.

Final Thoughts

Vitamins and nutritional therapies help to keep your body healthy by boosting your energy levels and preventing dangerous inflammation. If you want to stay healthy with the use of natural methods, definitely keep the information above in mind. You should also check with your chiropractor to make sure your musculoskeletal systems work properly for a more holistic approach on your health.