In these days of modern medicine, we can be treated for almost anything. From colds to mood disorders, there are always a few pills that can help us cope. What we don’t usually think about is what we are putting into our bodies that could make or break us. Our bodies are delicate things and are our responsibility, so it is so important to treat them right!

After all, the only reason our bodies need food is to get nutrients and energy, so why pollute it with the counterproductive grease and fat? What we have to remember is that everything counts. Although some junk food may taste good now, you will most likely pay for it later.

The brain is our powerhouse, it’s what makes decisions, tells us when something hurts, allows us to communicate with others, and allows us to enjoy life! The brain is also very delicate and requires nutritional balance to function properly. Shifty hormone levels caused by nutritional deficiency can disrupt our mood and our overall health. If our bodies are feeling a little of whack, we may go to the doctor asking for answers and find out our hormone levels were just abnormal. The doctor might prescribe medication, but they will probably tell you that you have a vitamin or mineral deficiency and that’s the whole reason your body just wasn’t feeling right. Vitamins and minerals that regulate our hormones, support our immune system, and control just about everything can be found in the food we eat everyday.

So before we go to reach for the bottle of prescribed pills, seek out the holistic approach. For each symptom we have, there is a natural remedy that relies on what we feed our bodies. Practicing a balanced diet is the beginning to a healthy and purely balanced mind and body!

To get an idea of what vitamins do for you, here are a few:

  • Vitamin A- helps cell reproduction. It also stimulates immunity and is needed for formation of some hormones. Vitamin A helps vision and promotes bone growth, tooth development, and helps maintain healthy skin, hair, and mucous membranes. It has been shown to be an effective preventive against measles. Deficiency can cause night blindness, dry skin, poor bone growth, and weak tooth enamel.
  • Vitamin B1- important in the production of energy. It helps the body cells convert carbohydrates into energy. It is also essential for the functioning of the heart, muscles, and nervous system. Not getting enough thiamine can leave one fatigued and weak.
  • Vitamin B6- plays a role in the creation of antibodies in the immune system. It helps maintain normal nerve function and acts in the formation of red blood cells. It is also required for the chemical reactions of proteins. The higher the protein intake, the more need there is for vitamin B6. Too little B6 in the diet can cause dizziness, nausea, confusion, irritability and convulsions.
  • Vitamin B12- Like the other B vitamins, vitamin B12 is important for metabolism. It helps in the formation of red blood cells and in the maintenance of the central nervous system. Vitamin B12 is the one vitamin that is available only from fish, poultry, meat or dairy sources in food. (Vegetarians, be cautious! You can still get these vitamins in supplement pills)
  • Vitamin C- one of the most important of all vitamins. It plays a significant role as an antioxidant, thereby protecting body tissue from the damage of oxidation.

Antioxidants act to protect your cells against the effects of free radicals, which are potentially damaging by-products of the body’s metabolism. Free radicals can cause cell damage that may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Vitamin C has also been found by scientists to be an effective antiviral agent.

To learn about more vitamins and other essential elements and the foods that contain them, check out Dr. Decuypere's nutritional charts.

Author: Clara Murfey, DIAKADI Intern