Essentials

Essentials

Our Bodies Can't Produce Everything It's essential we feed our body what it needs.

Your body is made up of water (62%), fat (16%), protein (16%), minerals (6%) and carbohydrates (<1%).  This composition is essential to life.  Essential also means these items cannot be made by your body, and, as a result, they must come from the air you breathe, water you drink, and the food you eat.

Essential Elements 

Out of all the 118 known elements, you have 25 elements in your body and they are all essential.  The big four are oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen and make up 96% of your body.

The next seven elements are major elements: calcium, chlorine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur.  They make up 3.5% of your body. 

The final 14 elements are trace elements and make up the final 0.5% of your body.  Just because they only have trace amounts doesn’t make them less important.  For example, iron is a trace element.  You have roughly 3 to 4 grams in your body—that’s only a ½ teaspoon.  Iron tethers itself to hemoglobin, a protein in our red blood cells, and it assists red blood cells with transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.  So big things do come in small packages.

Essential Fatty Acids 

There are three types of fatty acids: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.  Our bodies produce saturated and monounsaturated fats.  So the essential fats are polyunsaturated.  Polyunsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood and provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells.  The two types of polyunsaturated fats are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.  

Omega-3 fatty acids keep your cell membranes and cell receptors working efficiently.  Cell membranes regulate the movement of what enters and exits your cells.  

Omega-6 fatty acids play an important role in your brain function and your normal growth and development.

Too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 will increase inflammation.  Short-term inflammation occurs to protect your body from infections or an injured area.  However, long-term inflammation is associated with arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and an increase in the risk of cancer.

So what’s the right balance?  American diets have an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio range from 10 to 1 to as high as 30 to 1.  The optimal ratio for your best health is 4 to 1, or, even better, 2 to 1.

Essential Amino Acids

There are twenty amino acids in your body.  Eleven of them are already in your body, leaving nine essential amino acids you need to get them from the food you eat.  It takes all 20 amino acids to build protein.  The production of protein molecules is fast—it’s roughly 20 seconds.  Theses proteins form most of your body’s hormones.

All For One, And One For All

Hormones are produced in our eight endocrine glands and they are the everyday co-workers inside your body, sending chemical messages from one set of cells to another.  These messages stimulate specific glands to release specific hormones to keep your body running smoothly.  If you focus on marking sure your hormones are running well, you will have a healthy, balanced body.  Healthy hormones, healthy life.

Foods that contain all nine essential amino acids are called complete proteins. These foods include beef, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, soy, quinoa and buckwheat.

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