Friday, April 25, 2008

Detoxing from Fast Food and Poor Food Choices

Detoxing is a painful event! The fillers and chemicals in the processed foods we consume are harmful and many times vacuous..When we stop eating these "food products" our bodies in the process of ridding ourselves of these toxins begin to experience real pain in the form of headaches, soreness and other bodily aches and pains..So if you know to expect this discomfort then perhaps you won't be tempted to revert back to the junk food intake and you can sweat it out until the battle has subsided! Drink lots of water to flush your system, another daily ritual of mine is to take acidophilus which is a probiotic promoting intestinal health via positive bacteria to help "move things along" if you get my drift :-)..You can also purchase thirty day cleanses from your health food store that can aid in detoxifying your system..Once you have been cleaned out in more ways than one, your body can begin to enjoy the right foods and you begin to crave healthier choices instead of McDonalds or Pizza Hut or chips or ice cream..Not that these things can't be added back in moderation once you have won the battle in this war you are embarking upon..I have found that in the beginning I would go to Pizza Hut or out for ice cream on my "cheat day" on the weekend..But as time progressed and I became healthier I really did not have the craving or desire to have these foods and I still enjoy pizza as my all time favorite food but I make it myself and I make it with whole wheat flour and make my own sauce etc...Acidophilus is also great for spastic colon or irritable bowel syndrome, so it serves so many fantastic purposes I incorporate it in with my daily vitamin which if you are a woman a pre-natal vitamin is excellent even if you are not expecting or nursing, it just incorporates everything you need in a single dose...
Skipping meals is not an option whether you are working to lose weight or not, it creates an imbalance in your body brain chemistry and it can send the message to the body that there is a shortage of foods and your body will then hold on to everything it has and not begin to process and release as it should..We need carbs, proteins and fat in a healthy diet and we can get these from the proper foods: there are great carbs in breads, rice, cereals, whole-grains, fruits and vegetables; there are great proteins in meats, eggs, dairy products, nuts, legumes and grains; healthy fats like the omega-рей oils are rich and healthy sources found in fish and oils that help with brain function, olive oil, coconut oil, and some meats and dairy products..The following information links particular foods to specific vitamins:
Thiamin is a B vitamin found in enriched grain products, pork, legumes, nuts, seeds, and organ meats. Thiamin is intricately involved with metabolizing glucose, or blood sugar, in the body. Glucose is the brain's primary energy source. Thiamin is also needed to make several neurotransmitters.
Alcoholism is often associated with thiamin deficiency. Alcohol interferes with thiamin metabolism in the body, and diets high in alcohol are often deficient in vitamins and minerals. Individuals with a thiamin deficiency can develop Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which is characterized by confusion, mental changes, abnormal eye movements, and unsteadiness that can progress to severe memory loss.
Vitamin B-12
Vitamin B-12 is found only in foods of animal origin like milk, meat, or eggs. Strict vegans who consume no animal-based foods need to supplement their diet with vitamin B-12 to meet the body's need for this nutrient.
Vitamin B-12 is needed to maintain the outer coating, called the myelin sheath, on nerve cells. Inadequate myelin results in nerve damage and impaired brain function. Vitamin B-12 deficiency can go undetected in individuals for years, but it eventually causes low blood iron, irreversible nerve damage, dementia, and brain atrophy.
Folic acid
Folic acid is another B vitamin found in foods such as liver, yeast, asparagus, fried beans and peas, wheat, broccoli, and some nuts. Many grain products are also fortified with folic acid. In the United States, alcoholism is a common cause of folic acid deficiency.
Folic acid is involved in protein metabolism in the body and in the metabolism of some amino acids, particularly the amino acid methionine. When folic acid levels in the body are low, methionine cannot be metabolized properly and levels of another chemical, homocysteine, build up in the blood. High blood homocysteine levels increase risk of heart disease and stroke.
Even modest folic acid deficiency in women causes an increased risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, in developing fetuses. Folic acid deficiency also increases risk of stroke. Some studies suggest that folic acid deficiency leads to a range of mental disorders, including depression, but this concept remains controversial. Folic acid deficiency can lower levels of serotonin in the brain.
The B vitamin niacin is found in enriched grains, meat, fish, wheat bran, asparagus, and peanuts. The body can also make niacin from the essential amino acid tryptophan, which is found in high-quality animal protein foods like meat and milk. Niacin deficiency used to be common in the southern United States but is now common only in developing countries such as India and China.Niacin is involved in releasing energy in the body from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. A deficiency of niacin produces many mental symptoms such as irritability, headaches, loss of memory, inability to sleep, and emotional instability. Severe niacin deficiency progresses to a condition called pellagra, which is characterized by the four D's: dermatitis (a rash resembling a sunburn), diarrhea, dementia, and ultimately, death. The mental symptoms in pellagra can progress to psychosis, delirium, coma, and death
Vitamin B-6
Vitamin B-6, also known as pyridoxine, is found in many plant and animal foods, including chicken, fish, pork, whole wheat products, brown rice, and some fruits and vegetables. In healthy individuals, deficiency of vitamin B-6 is rare, but certain drugs, including some antidepressant drugs, can induce vitamin B-6 deficiency. Vitamin B-6 is needed by the body to produce most of the brain's neurotransmitters. It is also involved in hormone production. Although rare, vitamin B-6 deficiency is characterized by mental changes such as fatigue, nervousness, irritability, depression, insomnia, dizziness, and nerve changes. These mental changes are related to the body's decreased ability to manufacture neurotransmitters with vitamin B-6 deficiency.
Just as vitamin B-6 deficiency causes mental changes, so does excess of vitamin B-6. Vitamin B-6 supplements are used by many individuals for a variety of conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome, premenstrual syndrome, and fibrocystic breast disease. Doses of 500 mg per day or more can cause nerve damage, dizziness, sensory loss, and numbness.
Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that is plentiful in the diet, particularly in plant oils, green leafy vegetables, and fortified breakfast cereals. Vitamin E deficiency is very rare, except in disorders that impair absorption of fat-soluble vitamins into the body, such as cystic fibrosis, and liver diseases.
Vitamin E deficiency causes changes in red blood cells and nerve tissues. It progresses to dizziness, vision changes, muscle weakness, and sensory changes. If left untreated, the nerve damage from vitamin E deficiency can be irreversible. Because it is an antioxidant, vitamin E has also been studied for treatment of neurological conditions such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Although results are inconclusive, vitamin E shows some promise in slowing the progression of Parkinson's disease.
Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin found in meats, fish and eggs. A form of vitamin A, beta-carotene, is found in orange and green leafy vegetables such as carrots, yellow squash, and spinach. Headache and increased pressure in the head is associated with both deficient and excess vitamin A intake. Among other effects, excess vitamin A intake can cause fatigue, irritability, and loss of appetite. Generally, doses must exceed 25,000 international units of vitamin A over several months to develop such symptoms.
Minerals and mental health
Iron is a trace mineral that is essential for formation of hemoglobin, the substance that carries oxygen to cells throughout the body. Iron is found in meat, poultry, and fish. Another form of iron that is not as well absorbed as the form in animal foods is found in whole or enriched grains, green leafy vegetables, dried beans and peas, and dried fruits. Consuming a food rich in vitamin C, such as orange juice, at the same time as an iron-containing plant food will enhance iron absorption from the food.
Iron deficiency eventually leads to anemia, with insufficient oxygen reaching the brain. The anemia can cause fatigue and impair mental functioning. Iron deficiency during the first two years of life can lead to permanent brain damage.
The mineral magnesium is found in green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and bananas. In areas with hard water, the water may provide a significant amount of magnesium. In addition to its involvement in bone structure, magnesium aids in the transmission of nerve impulses.
Magnesium deficiency can cause restlessness, nervousness, muscular twitching, and unsteadiness. Acute magnesium deficiency can progress to apathy, delirium, convulsions, coma, and death.
Manganese is a trace mineral found in whole grains and nuts, and to a lesser extent, fruits and vegetables. Manganese is involved in carbohydrate metabolism and brain functioning. Although very rare, manganese deficiency can cause abnormalities in brain function. Miners of manganese in South America have developed manganese toxicity called manganese madness, with neurological symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease.
The richest sources of the trace mineral copper in the diet are organ meats, seafood, nuts, seeds, whole grain breads and cereals, and chocolate. In addition to other functions, copper is involved in iron metabolism in the body and in brain function. Deficiency of copper causes anemia, with inadequate oxygen delivery to the brain and other organs. Copper deficiency also impairs brain functioning and immune system response, including changes in certain chemical receptors in the brain and lowered levels of neurotransmitters.
The trace mineral zinc is found in red meats, liver, eggs, dairy products, vegetables, and some seafoods. Among other functions, zinc is involved in maintaining cell membranes and protecting cells from damage. Zinc deficiency can cause neurological impairment, influencing appetite, taste, smell, and vision. It has also been associated with apathy, irritability, jitteriness, and fatigue.
Good sources of the trace mineral selenium include seafood, liver, and eggs. Grains and seeds can also be good sources of selenium depending on the selenium content of the soil they are grown in. Selenium is needed for the synthesis of some hormones and helps protect cell membranes from damage.
Although selenium deficiency is very rare, selenium toxicity has occurred in regions of the world with high selenium soil content, such as China. Selenium toxicity causes nervous system changes, fatigue, and irritability.

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