Nutrients are the Body’s Ingredients for Health
In this chapter, I am going to review why the nutrients, in which the World’s Healthiest Foods are so concentrated, are essential to your health. You’ll see how they provide so many great benefits and are therefore the key to healthy weight loss and optimal health.
Even though most everyone is familiar with the idea of nutrition and nutrients, many people do not really know what nutrients actually do and how they work, including how they contribute to weight loss. I want to tell you what nutrients do by starting out with the simple example of calcium.
You’ve no doubt heard that calcium is important for the health of your bones. And you may also have heard that osteoporosis a bone problem that affects 20 million adults in the U.S.—can be “prevented by calcium.” I wish things were this simple! But unfortunately, they are not. Even though calcium plays a pivotal role in maintaining our bone health, it’s just not true that calcium, all by itself, can prevent the occurrence of osteoporosis.
need magnesium, manganese, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin K, boron, silicon, potassium, and a variety of other nutrients. Just focusing on calcium won’t allow you to achieve the goal of good bone health. You need a much broader list of nutrients that can only be provided by nutrient-rich foods like the World’s Healthiest Foods.
Most people are used to thinking about nutrients in a “this cures that” type of way. This way of thinking is sometimes encouraged by the overly simplified positioning of dietary supplements in the marketplace. Manufacturers often include health claims on their product labels that present relatively simple cause-effect relationships between nutrients and health. For example, a supplement manufacturer might claim that calcium builds strong bones, or that fiber maintains bowel regularity, or that vitamin E supports heart health.
While all of these connections between nutrients and health have science-based validity, consumers might end up concluding that all they need for a healthy heart is vitamin E, or that nothing more is needed for building strong bones than calcium. The truth of the matter is that no single nutrient is a magic bullet that can singlehandedly prevent a disease or protect an entire body system like blood vessels or bones.
It’s not as if a nutrient waves a magic want and voila…a health problem is fixed. The reason that nutrients are related to the prevention of future health problems and the improvement of existing ones is connected to the role that nutrients play in all of the body’s underlying structures and metabolic activities. They are the resources that our body needs to make and maintain healthy cells. They are the substances that help run our metabolism and allow our body to go about its moment-by-moment physiologic activities. Without them, our body cannot do the things it needs to do: for example, our cells can’t communicate, our muscles can’t contract, and oxygen can’t be carried in our blood.