The A B C of a health alimentation
The leading principle for a right
alimentation should be the quest for a balance: first with
ourselves, then between the various components of our
The inner balance is necessary to self-judge sincerely and to
avoid projecting our repressed aggressiveness on our body, with
the danger of reaching a state of anorexia, where one wants to
become absolutely slim, or, instead, of bulimia, where one tries
to win anxiety through the gratification of food.
The lack of self-balance often causes a distorted relationship
with food: some of them (e.g. sugars, fats) are considered
"bad" because mirror our difficulty to accept
ourselves, that is shown in wrong quantity of eaten food.
But if we are able to reach our psychological balance, we will be
able to live a more correct relationship with food.
The quest for balance must lead us in choosing foods, which must
be quite different and assumed in the right quantity.
Let's consider, now, which are the main nutritional elements'
group, i. e.: PROTEINS, CARBOHYDRATES, LIPIDES
or FATS, VITAMINS e MINERALS.
They are the main
component of every cell. They are complex and very
different molecules, even though they are composed by
only 22 simple units, called aminoacids, linked in
different ways. Some od the aminoacids are directly
synthesised by opur organism, meanwhile 8, judged as
essential, are not produced by our body and must
therefore be introduced trough the alimentation. These
are: lysine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, threonine,
valine, methionine, leucine and isoleucine. There's a
distinction between high biological value proteins -
those which contain every aminoacid and particularly a
consisten quantity of the essential ones -, middle and
low value proteins and others.
The first commonly have an animal origin, but also those
which are derviated from legumes have a good biological
value. Proteins mainly have a plastic role, i.e. a
supporting or filling role (they represents about the 15%
of a man's weight), but also a controlling role (enzymes,
hormones) and a defense role (antibodies). A good amount
of proteins, especially those with essentials aminoacids,
is fundamental for a good health; however, exaggeration
can cause damages, because our organism, by using
aminoacids in a replacing role, frees substances like
urea and uric acid that must be expelled with a renal
In the opposite side, if our alimentation lacks energetic
substances (carbohydrates and lipides too), our body must
use part of the proteins in order to product energy,
causing a proteinic impoverishment.
Most of them has
a vegetal origin and is divided into simplex sugars (e.g.
saccharose, i.d. ordinary sugar) and complex ones (amid
and glycogen); another substance that belongs to this
group is cellulose, that is not a nutriment properly
becaused it cannot be absorbed by our intestine.
The most common simplex vegetal sugars are: fructose
(taken from fruit) and saccharose (obtained from beet and
sugar cane). In animal realm we found: glycogen, that is
the glucidic reserve of muscles and liver in animal
ormganisms, including man, and lactose, present in milk
and its by-products.
Sugars are used as a quick and easy fuel.
Starch, mainly present in cereals, potatoes and legumes,
constitues a precious source of brief eneretic reserve.
Every sugar we eat is absorbed as glucose. If we assume
too much sugar (simplex or complex one), a part of
glucose is stored as fat.
Fibre, cosntitued mainly by cellulose, which is present
in vegeatl aliment only, cannot be digested by man
(differently from herbivorous animals); it has a very
importante function, because by absorbing water gives
volume and consistency to faeces, helping and
accelerating excretion, so helping the purification of
LIPIDES or FATS
It's possible to
divide them in real fats, if they appear as solid, and
oils, if they are liquid.
We must distinct, among alimental fats, between satured
and unsatured fats (monounsatured and polyunsatured); the
most part od alimental fats contains both satured and
unsatured fat acids, even though the first are mainly
found in animal lipides.
However, the distinction is quite important because
satured fats can increase the level of "bad"
cholesterol in blood and help it stick to the artery
walls, meanwhile the unsatured ones have a protective
effect against arteriosclerosisi (that's why they are
called "artery sweepers").
It is the main
casue of arteriosclerosis, but play useful functions too:
it is indispensable for the formation of cellular
membranes and helps the formation of biliary salts and of
some hormones and vitamins. That's why, even in the worst
case of cholesterolemy, the American Heart Association,
even advising not to adsume more than 200 mg. a day,
don't prescribe its elimination.
We must say that the main part of cholesterol is
synthesised by sliver that, if in health, is able to
correct its temporarily unbalance; obviously an
exaggerated assumption of cholesterol can break this
frail action-reaction balance.
Blood contains two kinds of cholesterol: the LDL
(low-density, called "bad") that sticks to the
artery walls obstructing them, and the HDL (high-density,
called "good"), that sweeps and destroy the
The best fat levels in blood are:
cholesterol: less than 200 mg / dI
LDL: less than 130 mg / dI
HDL: more than 40 mg / dI
Threeglucides: less than 200 mg / dI
the unsatured fats, there are two very important kinds
because our organism is unable to product them and must
therefore be assumed through alimentation: linoleic acid
and a-linolenic one.
Lipides's function are mainly energetic (they have more
than twice the kcal amount of carbohydrates and
proteins!); in addiction, they help thermic isolation and
make possible the absorption of vitamins, so-called
liposoluble (A, D, E, K) because can be transported by
Finally, they rule the hunger center, giving the
sensation of satiety and making food more appetizing.
We think it's not necessary to explain the plastic
(supporting and filling) function of fats, that is so
Regarding the demonizing of lipides, we would like to say
that the 35% of our nervous system (including brain) is
composed by lipides.
They are a group
of substances that rule biological process, bacuse they
are necessary for starting particular reactions. We need
very small quantity of vitamins, but their assumption is
indispensable because the most of them are not
synthesised by our body.
inorganic substances, necessary in very small quantity,
but indispensable. In addiction to a plastic role,
especially for building bones, teeth and cartilages, they
can turn on particular chemical reactions.
A well balanced must contain a right proportion of this
- 10- 15% of proteins
- 30-35% of lipides
- 50-55% of carbohydrates
(10% of simplex sugars assumed trough tah maximum
variety of fodds, because the perfect food does
not exist, but every food can bring particular
A hypocaloric diet, instead, suitable to lose wight, should be:
- 20% of proteins
- 25% of lipides
- 50-55% di carbohydrates, leaving simplex sugars out.
If we want to establish
how many calories should be introduced each day, the
situation becomes complex.
A suitable medium amount should be, approximatively 2500
- 2700 kcal a day for men, anche 2000 - 2150 for women.
However, we must consider many variables: first of all,
the physiological conditions (e.g. during pregnancy and
nursing, alimental needs - especially proteinic need -
increase), physical structure (the daily energetic
requirements increase with muscular mass), the age (during
growth the need for plastic aliments is higher: a child
require about 20 gr. of proteins a day, meanwhile a
teen-ager 72 gr. and an adulto 62 gr.; in the old age,
instead, the energetic need drops of 1/3), the sex (men
have a higher proteinic need, due to the more developped
muscular mass), the weather (in winter we can assume more
lipides for thermic needs, but without exaggering!) and
above all the knid of work (hand-workers require much
more energy: if we suppose that our energetic consumption
per hour relaxing is 100, the consumption rises to 500 if
we spend that hour sawing wood).
If we want to establish
how many calories we introduce through alimenation, the
operation is quite simple, as the energetic
content per gram is:
- Glucides: 4 kcal
- Proteins: 4 kcal
- Lipides: 9 kcal
- Alcohol:7 kcal
Now let's see the composition of the main grown mushrooms, in
order to understand if they can become part of a health
directed by Dott. Gianluigi Pagano, "The self conscious
heart" review supported by the Interuniversitarian
Consortium for Cardiovascular Research.