Your momma always said “eat your veggies”. Healthy words of wisdom we should have obeyed. When you hear the word ‘malnutrition,’ what comes to mind? Third world countries with rail-thin people? Eating disorders like anorexia? Starvation? While all of these associations do coincide with malnutrition, the term extends beyond a lack of food and the poverty line. Believe it or not, the United States of America has a big problem with malnutrition – and by big we mean super-sized. However, thin, fragile-looking bodies do not accurately portray the bloated issue.
The Standard American Diet contains a high content of proteins, cholesterol, and fats – and often not the ‘good’ kinds. With the amount of cheap, easy foods available in most grocery stores, many Americans prefer snack cakes, microwavable meals, frozen foods, and other highly processed foods, as they are easier to obtain and prepare. But our culture’s eating habits take a massive toll on our bodies. One of the biggest health problems Americans encounter – obesity – occurs not only because of an excessive food consumption, but from a lack of bodily nourishment.
You probably cannot believe what you just read – that obesity and malnutrition go hand in hand. The unfortunate truth about obesity is that many of overweight people who push the pound limits are struggling to stay full or nourished. While many foods in the Standard American Diet allow for a high intake of calories, it also does not leave room for a sufficient consumption of nutrients.
If the cells that make up our bodies do not receive a balanced intake of needed nutrients, then the cells become weaker and can no longer perform tasks like self-repair. This makes our cells more prone to mutation, malfunction, and death. Thus, the term ‘empty calorie foods’ comes into play, in regards to foods with plenty of calories but no nutrients to fuel the body’s functions.
Enter micronutrients and macronutrients. The mix of these two forms of nourishment can make or break eating habits and the health of the individual. Macronutrients include lipids or fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and water. These substances provide your body with the ‘full’ or ‘satisfied’ feeling you get after you, and provide you sufficient energy to get through the day. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. Vitamins protect the cells that make up the body, while ensuring healthy metabolic function. Minerals are the primary building blocks for cell tissues.
The Standard American Diet contains a concentrated amount of macronutrients, with low provisions for micronutrients. This unbalanced intake of needed nutrition often leads to obesity within malnourishment, as the macronutrients build up fat and cellulite in the body in an attempt to compensate for the lack of micronutrients that allow the body to use those macronutrients. With no micronutrients to regulate the distribution and absorption of food, the body begins to store it, since it cannot properly make use of it. This results in an unhealthy main dish of fat with a side of malnutrition.
The signs of obesity are obvious – bloated appearance, and a body index mass over twenty five. The excessive body fat causes the person to weigh more than he or she should when healthy. However, the markers of malnutrition are a little more insidious to detect, especially in a culture in which we rarely associate malnourishment with being overweight. Take a look at the signs of malnutrition, and learn to connect the dots between obesity and lack of proper nourishment.
A malnourished individual may exhibit signs of consistent and regular fatigue on a day to day basis, having insufficient energy to perform typical activities throughout the day. The individual may have difficulty keeping up a good pace on a walk, or experience difficulty breathing while climbing a flight of stairs. Poor muscle strength is to blame for the physical tiredness.
Mental tiredness will factor in as well. Because of irregular blood circulation, dizziness may become a prominent part of the person’s life, whether from standing up or sitting down too quickly. He or she may also seem more irritable than the typical person, and experience depression on a day to day basis. These socially debilitating conditions can cause stress in their relationships with others.
Other symptoms associated with malnutrition include poor condition of the hair, skin, and nails. Hair and nails appear dry and brittle, and will often break easily. The skin becomes dry and flakey, and the complexion seems more pallid than that of a healthy person. Irregular bowel movements and menstrual cycles may also present a problem. Finally, as the body does not have the needed substances to maintain proper immune function, even the most minor of wounds take an unusually long time to heal, and the individual contracts illnesses more easily.
Health 101 – steer clear of harmful chemicals! Organic is the only option when desiring optimum health. Have you ever noticed these unnatural symptoms in yourself or an overweight friend or family member? The irritability, depression, insatiable hunger, and higher propensity for illnesses? Believe it or not, these markers signify malnutrition as well as obesity, as the two seem to go hand in hand. We invite you to rethink what your doctor tells you about dieting, and maybe even skip out on the pills often prescribed to curb the symptoms. Treat the problem instead, and opt to add more micronutrients to your diet.
For years, the beauty industry has pushed diet ideas down our throats to tell us the how to lose weight, count calories, and cut fats from our diets. Many people follow these suggestions in the hopes of obtaining a healthy body. However, most of these diet plans do not nourish nor feed your body’s needs. Instead, they restrict calories and food intake, which can later lead to disordered eating habits like binging, or overeating to compensate, or restricting, or not allowing a sufficient food intake.
These habits will only make the fight against obesity and malnutrition a great deal harder. Instead of focusing on calories, diet pills, and restrictions, try employing these methods in your daily diet habits to ensure proper nourishment, satiation after meals, and a healthier overall lifestyle. You will not regret these methods once you start to notice their effectiveness at getting your body back on track.
First and foremost, you must steer clear of certain areas of the grocery store. Many American markets have the more nourishing foods along the outer edges of the grocery area, while the cheaper but more processed foods are often contained in the middle areas. Think of the aisles with frozen pizza, bread, sugars, deserts, cake mixes, and microwavable meals. All the easy-to-make and inexpensive foods in the center areas should be avoided at all costs. Select from the whole, fresh foods in the produce section. Organic berries, apples, salads, Greek yogurts, eggs, milk… All of these items are located in the edges of the grocery section.
Stay away from foods labeled as ‘refined’ or ‘enriched.’ This is just a fancy and more appealing way of saying that all nourishing qualities of the foods were stripped during the process to make them taste better. Enriched breads and grains and refined oils often contain empty calories and harmful fats that can clog arteries and create cholesterol problems, as well as contribute to unhealthy weight gain. Opt instead for unrefined oils and breads made with whole grains. This includes your bleached and refined sugar. Use raw sugar or raw honey instead to sweeten. These items have a higher vitamin and mineral content and are less likely to overload your body with empty calories. These foods will not only better satiate your body, but also provide a higher level of nourishment.
Replace your unhealthy sugary snack foods with healthy but sweet foods. You can still have your cake and eat it too, even when learning to practice a healthy diet. Replace those chocolate bars with organic dark chocolate, as it has a lower fat and sugar content, and a higher vitamin content. Replace sweet snack cakes with a bowl of oatmeal sweetened with raw sugar or honey, as this will not only fill you up and satiate you, but also provide fiber, minerals, and vitamins necessary for proper metabolic function. Replace candies with berries, bananas, or other fresh fruits to maximize micronutrient intake.
Finally, not only should you ensure a greater micronutrient intake through raw fruits and vegetables, you should also ensure a healthier macronutrient intake as well. Eat organic Greek yogurt, milk, cheese, eggs, and whole grains not only to provide your body with a sufficient amount of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, but with a healthier kind that offers other benefits as well. Incorporating a healthy amount of daily exercise – even light exercise – will also burn off excess fat while improving circulation for maximum absorption of nutrients.
At the end of the day, it does not matter so much the amount you eat daily as what you select for your snacks and meals. For more information on the effects of processed foods, check out our blog to discover the ingredients used in these products and their effects on the body. As always, your face naturals family recommends that you opt for organic, non-GMO selections at your local grocery store if available to ensure better health.
We want you to stay in the know about hot-button health issues and information regarding your personal well-being. That is why we offer blogs discussing these topics – so you can get the full story from us! Comment below to offer tips on defeating malnourishment-related obesity, and continue the discussion with other face naturals friends. Or contact us to suggest other subjects for blog posts. We look forward to hearing more from you soon!
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