Friday, June 12, 2009

Listen to Your Body

I've been thinking a lot about the body and how it can signal to your brain when you're lacking certain nutrients. Lately, for example, I've been insanely thirsty. I drink water by the gallon...I'm not even exaggerating. I've also had a hankering for fruit - a giant bowl of mixed berries, cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew sounds like my dream meal at the moment. Think my body is telling me something? Absolutely! For any of you who ignore these types of cues, think twice. Nutrients in our diet are important for the body’s functions. Sometimes your body signals the absence with a craving - which tends to be my case. In other situations, the body might offer up clues to what is missing from the diet simply through appearance and function. I recently read an article that described some of the more physical ways this can surface. Check it out...
Thinning hair: Lack of iron. Natural sources of iron can be found in red meat, liver, canned tuna, spinach and many fortified cereals.
Eyesight problems: Lack of vitamin A and C. Carrots, green leafy vegetables, fruit and sweet potatoes are all good sources of vitamin A. Vitamin C can be found in oranges, kiwi, citrus fruits and berries. Fresh vegetables also provide vitamin C.
Cracking at the corners of the mouth: Lack of Riboflavin (B2) and B6. B2 can be found in whole grains like brown rice and bread, cheese, fortified breakfast cereals and green leafy vegetables. B6 can be obtained from bananas, chicken, fish and baked beans. These two vitamins complement each other in the body.
Rough, dry skin: Lack of vitamin A and E and essential fatty acids. Oily fish (mackeral, salmon and herring) and seeds are good sources of essential fatty acids, while carrots are a great source of vitamin A. Vitamin E can be found in oils, nuts and some greens.
Brittle or split nails: Lack of calcium. Low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt, beans and greens are sources of calcium.
Stretch marks: Lack of zinc. Good sources of zinc can be found in lean steak, nuts, wheat germ and egg yolk.
Cellulite: Lack of vitamin C and fiber. Citrus fruits and berries contain vitamin C, while brown rice, whole grains, beans and oats can provide fiber.
Varicose veins: Lack of bioflavonoids. These nutrients can be found in dark-colored fruits and berries such as plums, purple grapes, blueberries and cranberries.

If that wasn't enough dietary news for you today, here is a little more food for thought...The American Dietetic Association says that eating fruits and vegetables with a variety of colors is important in order to consume nutrients needed by the body. Research increasingly shows that foods with color and rich flavor contain more phytochemicals – plant compounds that aid in disease prevention and health maintenance. When planning your meals, think about the color spectrum:
* Red foods like tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit contain lycopene, which may aid in the prevention of cancer.
* Orange foods like pumpkins, carrots and oranges contain beta-carotene, which aids in the prevention of cancer.
* Yellow and green foods like squash and broccoli aid in the prevention of cancer and vision loss.
* Blue and white foods like onions, garlic and leeks can help prevent heart disease and cancer.

Now, having said all that, here are a few colorful, nutritious and sucralose-sweetened meals bound to keep you happy and healthy this weekend. Happy Friday!

Copper Penny Salad

Watermelon Fruit Salad Bowl

California Broccoli Salad


Amy Green said...

I find this to be true for me, too. I started craving spinach when I quit eating red meat...I must have needed the iron. I learned a long time ago that my body feels best when I get lots of fresh fruits, veggies, and when I am eating lower-fat, lower carb foods.

Katie said...

Right on, Amy! Thanks for commenting.