What are the Nutritional Requirements of the Body?
Why Is It Important to Feed the Body Daily?
We’re all only seven years old, because that is how long it takes for the body to completely replicate itself. Every skin cell, connective tissue, muscle and bone cell, etc. are virtually brand new; it takes three to four years for all soft tissue and a total of seven years for every bone cell to regenerate. The only thing that exists in any of us from seven years ago is our teeth, heart and brain cells (which do not divide).
So why do we age, and why are we not replacing dying cells that are aging and atrophying faster with healthy cells? The answer to the aging question begins with what it takes to feed and nourish the body's trillions of cells. What are those daily nutritional needs (70% of which have to come from sources outside the body) for cells to function at an optimum level, thereby, preserving health and wellbeing?
Unfortunately, most people are starving to death — getting nowhere near the nutrient base the body needs to fuel the hundreds of thousands of chemical reactions it performs every day.
The analogy I like to use is that of a plant, like the one you may have bought at the flower shop or nursery. When you took it home it was vibrant and healthy, but over the next year or two you watched it die a slow death as you watered it with tap water (its only source of nutrients were those already in the soil).
With our bodies, we actually go one step further. Not only do we starve it of essential nutrients, we bombard it with chemicals, pollution, viruses, bacteria, parasites, etc., and expect it to stay young and healthy.
This shell we have been given was meant to serve us for well over a hundred years; it was not designed to fail. Only through starvation and disease does it succumb, but even then, it puts up a tremendous fight.
What I hope to impart in this guide is that with the right knowledge of how the body works and the chemistry needed daily to feed, protect, and oxygenate your body, that no matter how long you live, your quality of life can be healthy, active and disease free.
What are the Nutritional Requirements of the Body?
Many people today feel confused about what to eat. There is so much controversy around health, so many dietary trends, and so much conflicting information, that it can be difficult to know just what to eat to give the body what it needs to thrive. In this guide, we hope to clear up the confusion around diet by providing a simple breakdown of the nutritional requirements of the body, why they are essential to consume, and the dietary sources that you can get these nutrients from. So whatever diet that you follow, whether it is plant-based or omnivorous, with this guide you can make informed decisions about not just what to eat, but how to eat it in order to optimize your digestion and absorption of nutrients, allowing your body to receive exactly what it needs to flourish.
To cover everything the body needs in depth would make this guide very long and complex, and would take away its function as being a simple and practical guide to ensuring you receive essential nutrients from your diet. We would also have to include things like sunlight, oxygen, sleep, and exercise that wouldn’t really be relevant here, but are nonetheless essential for the healthy functioning of the body. This guide will serve more as an overview of the essential nutrients that the body needs that must be obtained from the food that we eat each day.
Health is far more than just what we eat, it also includes how we think, how we feel, what kind of environment we live in, what kind of lifestyle we lead, and many other factors. To cover everything that we need to truly be healthy is a tremendous task, and one that may not really be possible, as everyone individual is unique, and there is no advice that will apply to every single person. We each have different lifestyles, different environments, different genetics, different needs based on our unique lives. To truly know what is best for your body, it is best to know your body.
The body's nutritional needs are primarily met by the food that we eat. However, the food we eat can also be the body’s primary source of toxicity, as many foods contain harmful chemicals, preservatives, and other toxins, that are often disguised or marketed as being natural and safe. Living in a society like ours, it is absolutely essential that we be mindful of the food we are eating, what it consists of, and how it was grown, if we wish to really be healthy.
70% of what the body needs to function, grow and repair has to come from outside sources—meaning it needs to come from what we ingest on a daily basis. The nutrients that are needed to feed the body include water, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and enzymes.
In the following descriptions, we will outline the nutrient requirements of the body, describing them in the following way:
- Nutrient name
- Benefits / why we need this nutrient
- Dietary sources
It should be obvious that water is one of the most essential things for us to consume on a daily basis, yet many people suffer from dehydration by not consuming the amount of water that their body needs to function optimally. Not only that, but the water that many people consume is filled with chemicals, heavy metals, and various other toxins that harm the body. For this reason, we feel it is necessary to discuss a few fundamental things regarding water.
Water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly.
Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food (about 20 percent of daily fluid intake usually comes from food).
It's important to note, however, that exactly how much water each person needs varies depending on the individual. There are several factors that influence the need to modify your intake of fluids, such as the amount of exercise you perform, the temperature and humidity of the environment you live in, your overall health, and pregnancy or breast feeding to name a few.
Your individual water needs depend on many factors, and no single formula fits everyone. But knowing more about your body's need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day. Your fluid intake is likely adequate if you rarely feel thirsty, or if your urine is colorless or light yellow. However, when you do not drink enough water, your body receives mixed signals on hunger. Dehydration can cause you to believe you need to eat when you really need liquid intake.
Best sources of water:
Tap water can contain many chemicals that are harmful to the body, including: chlorine, lead, arsenic, pesticides like atrazine, perfluorooctanoic acid, and many others. This is the water that most people drink and bathe in. Many others drink water from plastic containers that leach chemicals like BPA into the water. One of the most essential things for good health is ensuring that you are drinking adequate amounts of water, and that your water is coming from a pure source. With so many contaminants in our modern world, there is controversy as to what is truly the best source of water, however the discussion typically revolves around three primary sources: Reverse osmosis filtered water, distilled water, or spring water from a clean source.
A vitamin is an organic molecule that is an essential micronutrient that an organism needs in small quantities for the proper functioning of its metabolism. Most essential nutrients cannot be synthesized in the body, either at all or not in sufficient quantities, and therefore must be obtained through the diet. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Vitamins are a group of substances that are needed for normal cell function, growth, and development.”
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin (meaning that it is absorbed along with fats in the diet and can be stored in the body's fatty tissue) that is naturally present in many foods. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. It helps the body resist infection and allows the body to use its reserves for repairing and regenerating muscle tissue. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly.
Beta Carotene is one of more than 500 carotenoids. Carotenoids function as sources of Vitamin A, with beta-carotene having the highest provitamin A activity. Besides providing vitamin A on demand to the body, beta-carotene and carotenoids do so without the toxicity, which can result from an oversupply of vitamin A.
The same protection carotenoids provide plants from damaging sunlight is provided in the body, preventing photosynthesized oxidation by quenching singlet oxygen. The immune enhancing functions of carotenoids include lymphocyte proliferation, T-helper cells, macrophages, increased natural killer cell activity (cytotoxicity) and increased bacterial resistance.
Best sources of Vitamin A:
Plant-based sources: orange and dark green vegetables, including pumpkin, carrots, squash, yams, broccoli, kale, parsley and spinach; apricots, mango, papaya, and cantaloupe
Animal sources: Organ meats, cod liver oil (be careful of oxidation), Wild Caught Fish, Grass Fed Butter, Raw Cheese, Eggs
B Vitamins: Some B vitamins are produced in the bowel, but the conditions for that to happen require the intestinal microflora or friendly bacteria species that colonize the bowel to dominate over the unfriendly species. Unfortunately, because many Americans are living on processed dead foods, alcohol and diets lacking in any living enzymes, the balance of friendly to unfriendly is inverted, preventing the body from realizing any benefit from its ability to produce B vitamins. The importance of having sufficient quantities of B vitamins available to the body is vital to not only a broad spectrum of cell and metabolic reactions, but also to the body's ability to defend itself and almost every aspect of immune response. Our Zuma Nutrition team has created a Co Enzyme B Complex after years of research in the field, and this formula is more bio available and uses higher quality ingredients than many B complexes in the industry. Through simply taking 2 capsules each morning with the proper protocol, your body is fed a full complex of all the B vitamins to start off your day, arming your immune system for a full days work.
In the below drop down menu our team will give a brief description of each individual B vitamin with the complex.
Vitamin B1 helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy. Maintaining high energy levels depends in part on maintaining adequate B1 in the diet.
Best sources of Vitamin B1:
Plant-based sources: legumes, nuts, oats, brown rice, nutritional yeast, and pseudo-grains (foods that resemble grains from the perspective of the person eating them, but are not biologically members of the same group. Examples of pseudo-grains include quinoa, millet, buckwheat, amaranth)
Animal sources: beef, milk, eggs
Vitamin B2 helps break down amino acids (protein) for the body to use. Like B1, B2 helps convert carbohydrates into energy. It also contributes to healthy red blood cell production.
Best sources of Vitamin B2:
Plant-based sources: legumes, nuts, brown rice, avocado, mushrooms, spinach, nutritional yeast, and pseudo-grains
Animal sources: beef, milk, fish
Vitamin B3 is essential for the body’s breakdown and utilization of carbohydrate and protein. As with other B vitamins, vitamin B3 plays an integral part in the conversion of food into energy. It also plays a key role in keeping the digestive system healthy, allowing the body to get more out of the food it consumes.
Best sources of vitamin B3:
Plant-based sources: wild rice, brown rice, acorn squash, beets, sunflower seeds, leafy green vegetables, legumes and nutritional yeast
Animal sources: meat, poultry, red fish (e.g. salmon, tuna), milk
Vitamin B5, as well as all B vitamins, helps convert food into energy. It also facilitates the production of steroids – an integral part of the regeneration process after physical exertion.
Best Sources of Vitamin B5:
Plant-based sources: seeds, mushrooms, broccoli, pseudo-grains, avocados, acorn squash, plantain, corn, yams, potatoes, oranges
Animal sources: liver, kidney, eggs, poultry, milk
Vitamin B6 aids in the production of antibodies—essential for warding off infection and maintaining the ability to recover from exertion quickly. Vitamin B6 also contributes to cardiovascular health, helping the heart efficiently circulate blood in a greater volume.
Best sources of Vitamin B6:
Plant-based sources: pseudo-grains, bananas, brown rice, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pistachios, tahini, brussels sprouts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, spring greens, sprouts, avocados, chickpeas and oats
Animal sources: beef liver, tuna, salmon,
Vitamin B12 is essential for a healthy nervous system, aiding in coordination and smooth muscle movement. It is a nutrient that helps keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. As with other B vitamins, B12 plays a role in production of red blood cells and conversion of food into energy. Unlike other B vitamins, Vitamin B12 is not plentiful in most foods. Vitamin B12 is a very important nutrient. In our modern food supply, B12 is found mostly in animal products. The bacteria in the stomach of vegetarian animals such as cows (and also goats, sheep, deer, etc.) can synthesize B12, which is then absorbed by their small intestines, thereby imparting B12 into the animal. So nonvegetarians get their B12 from eating these animal products. Humans also make B12-synthesizing bacteria in their large intestine. The challenge lies in the fact that it's actually absorbed in the small intestine, which is upstream. Fortunately, the cells of our stomach actually make something called "intrinsic factor" which seeks out B12 from food and together they make their way to the small intestine where the B12 can be absorbed. So we need this intrinsic factor because B12 is the only nutrient that requires help in order to be absorbed. In the past, B12 was plentiful because we ate foods that were not as deep cleaned and practically sanitized as they are today, so the bacteria in our guts were able to synthesize the B12 we needed. Since times have changed, it's important that all people, especially those on a plant based diet, supplement their diet with B12.
Best sources of Vitamin B12:
Plant-based sources: Vitamin B12 supplements, chlorella, fermented foods, miso, and nutritional yeast
Animal sources: fish, meat, poultry, eggs
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and plays a major role in reducing damage to body tissue and muscle caused by physical activity. Protecting the blood from free radical damage, vitamin C stabilizes the three most potent free radicals: superoxide, hydroxyl and singlet oxygen, as well as playing an important role in cell movement. This vitamin is involved with so many of the body's metabolic and immune functions, that you always want to have a supply available in the body. Why? Because the amount available to the body, at any given time, is dependent on the oxidative stress due to pollution, diet, lifestyle issues, alcohol and tobacco; these will use up the available C and B vitamins immediately. This means that frequent ingestion of vitamin C will help to minimize cellular damage that occurs as a result of pollution and other environmental factors. Our Zuma Nutrition team formulates a very special extract of a berry called the Amla Berry, or Indian Gooseberry, into our Relaxation and Rejuvenation Formulas. The Amla Berry is packed with more vitamin c and antioxidants than any other fruit in the world.
Best sources of Vitamin C:
Plant-based sources: most fruits and vegetables (especially citrus fruits), Rejuvenation Formula (amla), Relaxation Formula (amla), Collagen Pre Cursor Box (1,000 mg vitamin c per serving)
Vitamin D, another fat-soluble vitamin, is one of the most important vitamins for our overall health, but many people are not getting enough of this vitamin. The main job of vitamin D is to keep the right amount of calcium and phosphorus in your blood, these are the 2 nutrients that work together to make your bones strong. If you don't have vitamin D in your body, only a small amount of calcium from your diet can be absorbed by your body, and only a little more than half of phosphorus is absorbed. Without enough calcium and phosphorus being absorbed in your body, your bones would become brittle and break easily.
Best sources of Vitamin D:
Human skin can make large amounts of vitamin D when the skin is exposed and the sun is high in the sky. Your body is designed to get the vitamin D it needs by producing it when your bare skin is exposed to sunlight.
Plant-based sources: mushrooms, nutritional yeast
Animal sources: fish, meat, eggs, dairy
Vitamin E is also a fat-soluble vitamin, and like Vitamin C, it is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E promotes cardiovascular health, proper growth hormone production, and muscle rejuvenation. It is an essential component of all cell membranes, including nuclear and mitochondrial membranes. It also plays a dual role in protecting the cells from free radical damage with its antioxidant and immune-enhancing properties.
Best sources of Vitamin E:
Plant-based sources: flaxseed oil, hemp oil, pumpkin seed oil, moringa, nuts, and avocados
Animal sources: fish, particularly salmon and trout, shellfish, poultry, particularly goose, snails
Vitamin K refers to a group of fat-soluble vitamins that play a role in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and regulating blood calcium levels. The body needs vitamin K to produce prothrombin, a protein and clotting factor that is important in blood clotting and bone metabolism.
Best sources of Vitamin K:
Plant-based sources: kale, leafy green vegetables, pine nuts
Animal sources: chicken, egg
In the context of nutrition, a mineral is defined as: a chemical element required as an essential nutrient by organisms to perform functions necessary for life. There are over 90 elements that make up the earth, and every one of them is a constituent of the body. These minerals, metals and trace elements are broken down and used by the body to produce coenzymes (a substance that enhances the action of an enzyme, which is a protein that functions as a catalyst to mediate and speed a chemical reaction) as well as the inorganic materials that help build muscle, nerve, brain, connective tissue, bone, cartilage, hair, etc. In other words, almost every cell of the body is dependent on coenzymes. Therefore, we must always be replacing minerals to maintain the body's homeostasis or balance. To do this, we must constantly ingest minerals in forms that the body can access and utilize.
In the past, we received many of our minerals from the food that we consumed, as the soil it grew in was rich and healthy. Nowadays, much of the soil has been depleted through the use of pesticides, overtilling, and other poor agricultural practices, and the nutritional quality of food has also decreased. A geologist named David Thomas analyzed data from McCance and Woddowson’s epic work “The Composition of Foods,” a reference manual that is republished and updated by government biochemists every few years. During a 51 year period, potatoes appeared to have lost 47 percent of their copper, 45 percent of their iron, and 35 percent of their calcium while carrots showed even bigger declines. Broccoli, a food rich in micronutrients and antioxidants suffered an 80 percent drop in copper, while calcium content was a quarter of what it had been in 1940, a pattern repeated in tomatoes. As Thomas pointed out, “you would need to eat 10 tomatoes in 1991 to have obtained the same copper intake as from one tomato in 1940.” This was a statement based on Thomas’s research nearly thirty years ago, and since that time, the soil quality of many large agricultural farms and producers has continued to decline, along with it the mineral and nutrient content of the food. For this reason, it is recommended to supplement with trace minerals to ensure you are receiving an adequate amount in your diet.
Our Zuma Nutrition team has created a powerful mineral formula, featuring our Fulvic Acid + Ionic Trace Mineral Complex. This formula is made using no solvent except the natural spring water from the same region as where the plant matter (high in naturally occurring fulvic acid) is sustainably wild harvested. Our team has spent decades developing sources that provide us with the highest quality and exclusive sources of raw ingredients. This formula is packed with 70+ trace minerals and can simply be added to purified or distilled drinking water to provide the body with essential minerals.
In the below drop down menu, our team will dive into the benefits of key individual minerals in the complex.
Calcium repairs and strengthens your bones, plays a major role in muscle contraction, and
ensures a rhythmic heartbeat.
Best sources of calcium:
Plant-based sources: leafy green vegetables, sesame seeds, nuts, especially almonds
Animal sources: sardines, salmon, milk
Chromium works with other vitamins and minerals to turn carbohydrate into usable energy.
Best sources of Chromium:
Plant-based sources: pseudo-grains, nuts, nutritional yeast, black pepper, and thyme
Animal sources: meat, fish, shellfish, eggs
Copper assists iron absorption in the body. With iron, copper plays a role in the transport of
oxygen throughout the body. Copper also works in concert with antioxidants to reduce effects of
environmental and physical damage, providing the body with a strong platform to regenerate and build strength.
Best sources of copper:
Plant-based sources: legumes, seeds, pseudo-grains, raisins, nuts
Animal sources: liver, seafood
Folate is a B vitamin that is found naturally in foods; when in supplement form it is called folic
acid. Folate works in tandem with Vitamin B12 to help produce oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Folate plays an integral role in helping the body make use of dietary protein, facilitating muscle repair. The heart relies on Folate, in part, to maintain a smooth, rhythmic beat and a higher tolerance for physical activity.
Best sources of Folate:
Plant-based sources: leafy green vegetables, legumes, pseudo-grains, grains, oranges
Animal sources: eggs, poultry, meat, fish
Iodine is integral to thyroid hormone production. Thyroid hormone assists the cells in the
fabrication of protein and the metabolism of fats.
Best sources of iodine:
Plant-based sources: sea vegetables, strawberries
Animal sources: milk, fish, shellfish
Iron fabricates hemoglobin to facilitate red blood cell health. A well-maintained iron level ensures the body is able to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the hard-working extremities, maximizing efficacy.
Best sources of iron:
Plant-based sources: spinach, legumes, and pumpkin seeds
Animal sources: meat, fish, poultry
Magnesium is critical for muscle function; it helps the heart beat rhythmically by allowing it to
relax between beats, allowing all other muscles to relax. Magnesium also assists in calcium’s bone production.
Best sources of Magnesium:
Plant-based sources: leafy green vegetables, string beans, legumes, pseudo-grains, bananas, nuts, avocados
Animal sources: yogurt
Manganese contributes to an accelerated process of recovery, essential for those who are
physically active. It is also a cofactor in energy production, metabolizing proteins and fats.
Best sources of manganese:
Plant-based sources: leafy green vegetables, legumes, pseudo-grains, nuts, brown rice
Animal sources: not abundant in animal sources
Molybdenum, a trace mineral, moves stored iron from the liver into the bloodstream, aids in the
detoxification process and helps the body rid itself of potentially toxic material, minimizing stress.
Best sources of molybdenum:
Plant-based sources: legumes, pseudo-grains, nuts
Animal sources: organ meats, particularly liver and kidney
Nickel aids in iron absorption, as well as adrenaline and glucose metabolism, hormones, lipid, cell membrane, improves bone strength and may also play a role in production of red blood cells. Nickel is present in RNA and DNA of our body where it functions in association with nucleic acids.
Best sources of nickel:
Plant-based sources: nuts and seeds, cacao, oats, buckwheat
Animal sources: not abundant in animal sources
Phosphorus allows the body to use food as fuel. It works with calcium in the production, repair,
and maintenance of bones.
Best sources of phosphorus:
Plant-based sources: pseudo-grains, beans, lentils, nuts
Animal sources: meat, milk
Potassium, an electrolyte, helps the body maintain fluid balance and therefore hydration.
Smooth muscle contractions, nerve impulse transmission, and cell integrity are also greatly affected by potassium intake.
Best sources of potassium:
Plant-based sources: leafy green vegetables, most fruits (especially bananas and kiwis)
Animal sources: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk
Sodium is an essential electrolyte that helps maintain the balance of water in and around your cells. It's important for proper muscle and nerve function. It also helps maintain stable blood pressure levels.
Best sources of sodium:
Plant-based sources: Himalayan or sea salt, sea vegetables, beets, swiss chard
Animal sources: meat, poultry, fish, eggs
Selenium preserves muscle tissue elasticity, allowing fluent, supple, movement. A trace mineral,
selenium combines with other antioxidants to shield red blood cells from damage done by physical exertion. It also improves immune function.
Best sources of selenium:
Plant-based sources: brazil nuts, walnuts, cashews, brown rice, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, spinach, oatmeal, and nutritional yeast
Animal sources: meat, poultry, fish
Zinc allows the body to use dietary protein as building blocks for the regeneration of muscles.
Zinc also plays a major role in proper immune function.
Best sources of zinc:
Plant-based sources: hemp, lentils, pseudo-grains, pumpkin seeds, and nutritional yeast
Animal sources: meat, shellfish
Carbohydrates are abundant, present in most foods, and for non-active people, a regular diet will supply the body with all the carbohydrates it needs. However, active people must increase the amount of carbohydrate in their diet to maintain energy levels and replenish muscles post-exertion. Carbohydrates also assist in the digestion and utilization of all other foods. Carbohydrates are made up of three components: sugar, starch, and fiber. When grains are refined, the fiber is removed, increasing the percentage of starch and sugar. Refined carbohydrates are most common in white bread, pasta, donuts and many other foods most commonly consumed in the average North American’s diet. Fiber rich carbohydrates are needed for the body to be healthy and function properly.
Best sources of carbohydrates:
Plant-based sources: fruit, vegetables, grains, pseudo-grains, potatoes
Animal sources: raw dairy
Essential Fatty Acids
Fat is one of the three primary nutrients used as energy sources by the body (the other two being carbohydrates and protein), and ensures that fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are delivered and utilized by the body. There are a group of fats known as polyunsaturated fats, which contain essential fatty acids (EFA); they are essential because the body cannot synthesize them on its own, and therefore must acquire them from external sources. Polyunsaturated Fats can be divided into two main categories, Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty aids. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are important for a structural and regulatory role in our bodies. In addition to helping form cell membranes, they regulate gene expression and support cell function.
Typically it is beneficial to consume foods with a higher omega 3 to omega 6 ratio, which has positive effects on reducing inflammation. Consuming foods with high omega 6 to omega 3 ratio can increase inflammation levels in the body.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are also prone to oxidation. When oxidized, they convert to trans fatty acids. You can avoid this by not cooking with PUFA oils (industrial seed oils). Oxidized pufas have a slew of side effects including inflammation, stiffening of arteries and reduced brain function.
Essential fatty acids make up our cell membranes, and are among the most crucial molecules that determine your brain's integrity and ability to perform, as the human brain is composed of nearly 60 percent fat. Antioxidants protect the cells from oxidation (a chemical reaction that produces free radicals which damage the cells), but what actually builds the cell membrane, the outer shell or cell wall, is essential fatty acids (EFA). These fatty acids, which must come from outside sources, are the major constituent of all cellular membranes in the body.
Omega-3 fatty acids improve heart health, support mental health, reduce weight and waist size, decrease liver fat, support infant brain development, fight inflammation, prevent dementia, promote bone health, and prevent asthma.
Best sources of Omega-3:
Plant-based sources: nuts and seeds, particularly chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds, avocado, olive oil, hemp seed oil,
Animal sources: wild caught fish, especially salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, meat, poultry, eggs
Omega-6 fatty acids are important to support healthy brain and muscle functions but, on the downside, they promote inflammation in the body. Although omega-6 fats are essential, the modern Western diet contains far more omega-6 fatty acids than necessary, as they are present in many of the foods that people consume (for example, most baked goods, packaged foods like cookies and crackers, chips, french fries, breads, and snacks). Corn, soybean, safflower, cottonseed, grapeseed and sunflower oils are all high in omega 6’s and are not stable. This means any food that’s fried, baked, or microwaved using these oils will oxidize and create an inflammatory response in the body. The recommended ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is 4:1 or less. However, the Western diet has a ratio between 10:1 and 50:1. Therefore, although omega-6 fats are essential in the right quantities, most people in the developed world should aim to reduce their omega-6 intake
Best sources of Omega-6:
Plant-based sources: walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, olive oil, hemp seeds
Animal sources: meat, wild caught fish, poultry, eggs
There is a lot of misunderstanding today about what proteins are. Proteins are large, complex molecules that play many critical roles in the body. They do most of the work in cells and are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs. Proteins are made up of hundreds or thousands of smaller units called amino acids, which are attached to one another in long chains.
Protein assists in the fabrication of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies. Well-formed hormones are essential for a vast number of functions, primarily: muscle repair and preservation; nutrient extraction; shielding the body from bacterial and viral infection; and infusing tired muscles with more energy.
When we eat meat, chicken, fish, lentils, beans and wheat germ, we are not eating protein but complete or incomplete proteins from which the body has to extract amino acids. Only when the individual amino acids have entered the bloodstream and arrived in the liver through the small intestine can the liver then produce the body's proteins. Complete proteins mean that the food contains all the essential amino acids that the body must ingest before it can produce its own protein. There are nine essential amino acids, including: L-lysine, L-leucine, L-isoleucine, L-methionine, L-phenylalanine, L-threonine, L-tryptophan, L-valine, and histidine. Incomplete proteins are foods that lack all the essential amino acids. Once the liver has the essential amino acids available, it can produce the nonessential amino acids, which include: L-alanine, L-arginine, L-asparagine and asparticacid, L-carnitine, gamma aminobutyric acid, glutamic acid, glutamine, L-glycine, L-ornithine, L-proline (and hydroxy-Lproline), L-serine and L-taurine.
Next to water it is protein that comprises the largest part of the body's weight and substance. It is the nucleus of all cell structures, including those that build our bones, muscles, tendons, internal organs, nails, hair, glandular function, enzymes, etc. Almost every conceivable structure and function of the body requires these key building blocks known as amino acids. Amino acids are the body's fundamental biochemical structures for cell growth, hormones, enzymes and the immune system.
Due to many people in today’s society eating diets that cause inflammation in the gut, poorly combining foods, and consuming processed or devitalized foods, amino acid deficiency has become increasingly common. The body must be given ample time to digest and break down proteins otherwise the food putrifies and can poison the body. Our Zuma Nutrition team has created a special formula, our Complete Amino Acid Complex, that features the correct combination of amino acids in the correct form, so that your body can absorb them instantaneously, not requiring digestion. Many amino acid complexes are manufactured in China and feature the wrong forms of aromatic and sulfur based amino acids. Our team developed this formula with one goal, to create the highest quality amino acid complex on the US market.
Best sources of protein:
Plant-based sources: pseudo-grains, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds (especially hemp), sprouts, chlorella, spirulina, broccoli, leafy green vegetables.
Animal sources: beef, eggs, raw dairy, poultry and wild caught fish
“Enzymes are substances that make life possible. They are needed for every chemical reaction that takes place in the human body. No mineral, vitamin, or hormone can do any work without enzymes. Our bodies, all of our organs, tissues, and cells are run by metabolic enzymes. They are the manual workers that build our body from proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, just as construction workers build our home. You may have all the raw materials with which to build, but without workers (enzymes) you cannot even begin.”
— Edward Howell, MD., a physician who researched enzymes for over fifty years
An enzyme is a type of protein found within a cell. Enzymes create chemical reactions in the body, and actually speed up the rate of a chemical reaction to help support life. The enzymes in your body help to perform very important tasks, including: building muscle, destroying toxins, and breaking down food particles during digestion (digestive enzymes).
An enzyme’s shape is tied to its function. Heat, disease, or harsh chemical conditions can damage enzymes and change their shape. When this happens, an enzyme doesn’t work anymore. This affects the body processes the enzyme helped support.
Enzymes are produced naturally in the body, and are also present in the food we eat. Digestive enzymes are mostly produced in the pancreas, stomach, and small intestine. But even your salivary glands produce digestive enzymes to start breaking down food molecules while you’re chewing.
The body has 22 different types of digestive enzymes. Below we have listed out 7 major enzymes:
- Amylase breaks down starches and carbohydrates into sugars.
- Protease breaks down proteins into amino acids.
- Lipase breaks down lipids, which are fats and oils, into glycerol and fatty acids.
- Lactase- breaks down lactose (milk sugar).
- Cellulase breaks down plant fibers.
- Invertase- breaks down sucrose in cane and beat sugars.
- Maltase breaks down maltase (the sugar found in grains)
- Alpha-Galactosidase breaks down beans and cruciferous vegetables.
Clearly enzymes are vital to life and optimal bodily function in nearly every way. Each of us is born with a unique enzyme potential, or an amount of enzymes your body can produce and use in your lifetime, and years of eating foods lacking in enzymes can lead to enzyme deficiency. Cooked foods and processed foods often deactivate or remove the enzymes in the food which can stress the body. Because of this, it is important to include a lot of fresh, uncooked plant foods in your diet, for they are rich in natural enzymes that have not been made inactive from drastic changes in temperature.
Digestive enzyme supplementation is an amazing breakthrough in the health and wellness field as not only do enzymes help the body in countless ways, but they also improve the assimilation and absorption of other supplements.
Our Zuma Nutrition team has created a broad spectrum digestive enzyme formula after decades of research and testing all the enzyme supplements on the market. This formula is best taken with food that requires digestion. Over time, this formula helps the body store the extra enzymes helping it to recover from enzyme deficiency. Our Zuma Nutrition Digestive Enzyme formula is completely vegan friendly and will be available in January 2020.
Best sources of enzymes:
Plant-based sources: Fresh Soy Sauce, Miso, Sprouts, Soaked Seeds and Nuts, Kim Chi, Sauerkraut, Kombucha, raw vegetables, fruits
Animal Sources: Honey, Kefir (a fermented milk), Raw Yogurt
It may seem difficult to get all of the above nutrients included in your diet, but as you may have noticed, there is a pattern amongst the sources of nutrients listed. Many of the sources contain nutrients from different categories. For example, pseudo-grains (such as quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, etc.) provide the body with carbohydrates, protein, and several vitamins and minerals. Eating a well-balanced diet with a variety of organic whole foods, herbs, superfoods, and minerals helps to ensure you are getting the necessary nutrients needed for the body to function optimally, provided you are absorbing these nutrients by following proper protocols.
The nutrients listed above are the building blocks that the body requires daily to maintain health and well-being. If you are not getting these basic nutrients in some form and quantity, there is a very good chance your body is aging faster because of the loss of its ability to build and repair itself. We are always attempting to bridge these two important functions in the body. Typically, the same nutrients are required for both the building and the repair.
One of the approaches the Zuma Nutrition team encourages you to follow, and the one we have realized the greatest success from, is treating the body on a daily basis. By this we mean giving the body what it needs on a daily basis to build, repair, and defend itself from environmental contaminants.
To build long term health, it is important to start one day at a time, understanding that it is a long term journey. The body can only accomplish so much in a given day. Our responsibility is to make sure the body has the nutrients available to accomplish all of its tasks of building, repairing and sustaining itself.