An amino acid is a building block of protein. There are some twenty  amino  acids  required to make a  complete protein.  The body can manufacture all but eight these are referred to as the essential amino acids. Foods that contain all eight essential amino acids in the correct proportions necessary to be readily utilized by the body are considered complete proteins. With a balanced, varied diet, proteins complement themselves during the course of a day no need to worry over combining just the right amino acids at every meal.
A calorie is a unit of energy measured in terms of heat. As it pertains to food the food contains calories that, when burned, produce a specific amount of energy. If more calories are taken in than burned off, they are stored as fat, resulting in weight gain.
Along with fat and protein, carbohydrates are chemical compounds known as the large nutrients. Carbohydrates are the body's ideal fuel source and have recently had their wrongful reputation for being " fattening" redressed. Starches, sugars, and fiber are all carbohydrates. Foods referred to as complex carbohydrates contain starch, the main form of carbohydrate energy, and fiber, the parts of plant foods that pass through the body undigested. Complex carbohydrates are important energy sources, since they are broken down and used slowly by the body. Here are some examples of the different types of carbohydrate: Some sources are cereals, breads, legumes, fruits, fats and oils, and starchy vegetables.
Starches are best consumed as complex carbohydrates. These include whole grains and cereals (brown rice, barley, and other whole grains, whole grain breads, and whole grain pastas), and root vegetables including sweet and white potatoes. These provide the dual benefit of providing energy as well as dietary fiber (see Fiber). Sugars are found in fruit, dairy products and refined sugar, among other foods. Refined sugars are the least desirable, as they provide mainly empty calories and contribute to tooth decay.
CHOLESTEROL: This chemical compound is actually of great importance to several functions of the internal organs and is a part of every cell. The problem lies in that the liver can manufacture all the cholesterol the body needs for its essential functions. When excessive cholesterol is ingested in the form of food, it causes buildup of plaque in the arteries, which is said to lead to heart disease. Foods high in cholesterol are eggs, fatty meats, butter, and some dairy products. Plant foods do not contain cholesterol.
ENRICHED: When whole grains are refined of their nutritious bran and germ, they are then usually enriched with specific added nutrients as established by federal guidelines. The nutrients added back are iron and three of the B vitamins: thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin. Still, enriched white products like bread, rice and pasta, are a far cry from consuming the whole grain versions. The over-consumption of the former contains little fiber and are thought to contribute to obesity and possibly Type 2 diabetes.
Fat is an organic compound of fatty acids and is one of the three " large nutrients," along with carbohydrates and protein. It provides a very concentrated source of stored energy for the body and is necessary for hormonal function and tissue health. The average American's fat intake has until recently been about 40 percent of total food intake. Though it is often recommended that this be cut down to 30 percent of diet, some nutritionists feel this amount is still too high.
Fats are comprised of fatty acids, linoleic and linolenic, which can both be derived from plant sources. There are three types of dietary fat—saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated. Saturated fats, found in meat, butter, and hard cheeses, is considered the least beneficial, and in fact can lead to heart disease if consumed in large quantities. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are the good fats and plentiful in plant sources. Nuts, olives and olive oil,  certain vegetable oils (especially organic canola  oil), and avocado are good sources of beneficial fats.
This is actually a general term for a family of plant substances including pectin, cellulose, lignin, hemicellulose, gums, mucilage, and others. These are the parts of plants that pass through the body undigested, adding the bulk that is crucial for the regulation of the digestive system. Fiber is concentrated in the bran of grains, skins of certain fruits, filaments found in the flesh of vegetables, and so on. This valuable substance is considered crucial to health, especially that of the digestive system. According to nutritionist Jane Brody, fiber fills the stomach and small intestine, absorbing water and slowing down digestion enough to prolong the feeling of fullness. Further, she says that those living on high-fiber diets rarely suffer from constipation or hemorrhoids and are less likely to develop colon cancer. High-fiber foods include whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables. Twenty-five to thirty-five grams of fiber a day constitute what is considered a diet high in fiber.
This has been added to this section as food additives have been used by mankind for centuries. For example, pickling (with vinegar), as with bacon (salting), sugar, and then sulphur dioxide as is common in wine,  were among the first used to preserve foods. The problem, in the past 30 years, however, with advent of processed foods, there has been a massive explosion in the chemical adulteration of foods with additives. There are additives that are safe, but many additives to food products are believed to be linked to disorders including allergies, nervous disease, bowel disorders, cancer, heart disease and arthritis. Do to the advent of food labels, manufacturers are required to list these additives.  There are just to many to list, but we found three sites to visit that  will help you identify which are good or bad and which be avoided.  Healthy Eating Advisor, Wikipedia E-Number List, and Wikipedia List Of Food Additives.   Remember, a vegetarian diet free from processed foods would greatly reduce  this problem.
Lactose is milk sugar, the component of milk that makes it indigestible to many adults and some children. In order to digest lactose, the body must be able to produce an enzyme that converts the lactose to lactic acid. Yogurt contain added bacterial cultures that convert most of the lactose to lactic acid, making it more digestible.
These elemental substances are essential nutrients needed to regulate many bodily functions. Two types of minerals are utilized these are the major minerals and the trace minerals. Both are vital, but the distinction lies in the amounts present in the body. Here is a description of some of the most important minerals as well as some trace minerals:
Calcium is 1.5% of body weight  and  99%  of  this  in  bones.  (About  2  1/4  pounds  in  an  average  man).  Calcium is best known for its role in the formation and maintenance of bones and teeth. It also assists in blood clotting and the functions of the tissues. Calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D help prevent softening of the bones. Vitamin D   must be present for proper calcium utilization. Some good sources are low-fat dairy products (though there is a growing question as to whether dairy calcium is the optimal source of absorbable calcium for the body), nuts, sesame seeds, soy  foods, soy  cheese,  molasses, dried  figs, tofu,  whole grains, soy beans, dried beans, and dark green leafy vegetables (turnip greens, mustard greens, collards,  kale, broccoli). Deficiencies: Brittle bones, dental caries, rickets, poor bone development, and excessive bleeding.
These are foods grown in soils fertilized with organic rather than synthetic fertilizers and are not sprayed with inorganic chemicals. Foods described as " whole" or " natural" are not necessarily organically grown. Organically grown foods are more expensive, but not so much more as to make them prohibitive. Natural food stores, food co-ops, some farm markets, and a growing number of supermarkets now offer organic choices to consumers concerned with the effects of pesticides, additives, and chemical fertilizers— both on human health and the environment.
Along with carbohydrates and fats, protein is one of the three " large nutrients," and often a misunderstood one. Protein is an essential factor in the building and maintenance of all bodily tissues and in the formation of enzymes and hormones. Protein is composed of some twenty amino acids, eight of which the body cannot manufacture, and these are taken in as food. Foods that have all eight essential amino acids in the precise proportions necessary to be readily usable by the body are considered " complete proteins."
Vital as protein is, it has recently been accepted that more protein is not necessarily better. Many nutritionists recommend taking in what your body needs and no more, since excess protein cannot be stored. Eliminating excess protein puts great stress on several of the body's organs, and eating too much of it can make you fat. Protein is also not, as is commonly believed, the body's ideal source of energy—it comes in third after carbohydrates and fats. The Recommended Daily Allowance has been set at .8 grams per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight. Thus, a 120-pound woman needs about 44 grams of protein a day a 160-pound man, about 58 grams. Some good sources are soybeans, lentils, tofu, seeds, tempeh, miso, peas, legumes, peanuts, soy milk, cheese, nuts, whole grains, eggs, and milk.
Many people who are vegetarians think of their diet as a way of life rather than merely as a way of eating. It's not necessary to be a strict vegetarian to be a practitioner of a natural foods diet but generally, vegetarians almost by definition are more conscientious about the foods they eat. Here are the primary forms of vegetarianism that are practiced:
Lacto vegetarian: Dairy products such as milk and cheese are included in the diet, but not eggs.
Vegan: No eggs or dairy products are used at all. This diet relies primarily on grains, legumes, and soy foods as protein sources. Veganism is often also a philosophical lifestyle as well as a diet. Thus, no animal products are used at all—including leather, animal-based cosmetics, and bee products.
Vitamins are complex organic compounds, essential in minute quantities to assist the metabolic functions of the body. Here are some of the most common vitamins and what they do for you:
B Vitamins (with the exception of B12) are generally found in plentiful quantity in whole grains and cereals, wheat germ, yeasts, nuts and seeds, beans, and some green vegetables. Here are some specifics:
Water is the principal chemical constituent of the body - 75%. It is the universal solvent which regulates and maintains body temperature, and is the principal constituent of all body fluids. It greatly assists the digestion and absorption of food.   Drinking water or any liquid   during the meal does the opposite, it reduces digestion. When drinking water or any liquid, do so 30-60 minutes before or after the meal. Also assists in carrying away waste products. Drink 4-8 glasses of water daily in addition to juice, milk, soup, and fruits. Drink cool water without ice, melons or fruits. DRINK-DRINK-DRINK....cannot stress it enough.
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