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Monthly Archives: August 2017

Important Facts about Nutrition Labels

# Serving Size
This small detail skews the entire label if you don’t read it closely. An item may seem like it is only one serving, but the Nutritional Facts label will consider it to be 2 or 3 servings. If the label says 100 calories, but there are actually 3 servings, then you are getting a total of 300 calories. Pay close attention to what makes a serving.

# Calories
Most people don’t have the time to count every calorie that they put in their mouth – this is understandable. However, you probably have a pretty good idea about the amount of food that you eat each day. When you approach a new item, read the calorie totals on the Nutritional Facts label, and factor the new calories into your daily intake. Steer clear of high calorie items – especially in the form of snack foods.

# Fat
By now you have undoubtedly heard that all fats were not created equal. Here is a quick 1-2-3 breakdown.

1. Limit your intake of Saturated Fats – this deadly fat contributes to heart disease.

2. Avoid Trans Fats at all costs – not only does it contribute to heart disease, it also raises LDL cholesterol (the bad one).

3. Focus on eating monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – these don’t raise LDL cholesterol and can even help lower blood cholesterol.

As you decide what food to include in your diet, keep your eye on the type and amount of fat included in each item. Remember, all fats were not created equal.

# Carbohydrate
Though zero carb diets are losing their momentum, you may have been influenced by the idea that all carbohydrates will make you fat. That is simply not true. It is true, however that some carbohydrates are healthier than others. In fact, medical experts think that excess consumption of refined carbohydrates (such as soda pop, white rice, and white flour) are one of the reasons behind the rise of obesity we see today.

Choose fibrous, complex carbohydrates over sugary, simple carbohydrates.

# Protein
The fact stands that most of us are getting plenty of protein in our diet. The problem arises when we examine the source of this protein. Meats and dairy products that are high full of fat may be filled with protein, but they aren’t the healthiest form of protein. Choose protein from lean meats, dry beans, poultry, and low fat/fat free dairy products.

# The Good Stuff
Directly beneath the protein count on the Nutritional Facts label you will see the percent daily value of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron that the food item contains. These numbers are easily overlooked, but hold great importance to your overall health. The more nutrient-rich food items provide you with the greatest benefit per calorie. Compare food brands and choose the most nutrient-rich option.

How Folic Acid May Help in Protect Against Cancer

The term folic acid may be confusing to some, because it is in fact one of the most important and heavily researched of the B complex of vitamins and widely used in this form as a dietary supplement. In the form of folate compounds the vitamin is also found naturally in the body as well as in various common foods.

Folic acid is essential for a large number of biochemical reactions within the body, including the metabolism of energy from food, but is particularly important in ensuring that the continual process of cell division within the body proceeds normally. This is especially vital during the rapid development and production of new cells during the first weeks after conception. Inadequate intake of folates and/or folic acid in the early stages of pregnancy has been identified as a cause of what are known as “neural tube defects” which lead to inadequate or abnormal development of the foetal brain and spinal cord.

One of the most dreaded diseases which may result from these problems is spina bifida, but the incidence of this has been shown to be reduced by 75% when folic acid supplements of 400 mcg are taken during the first three months of pregnancy. Folic acid supplements are recommended because they are much more easily absorbed, “bioavailable” in the jargon, than folates from food.

It would in fact be difficult to obtain sufficient supplies of this nutrient from ordinary food sources. Supplementation is therefore recommended for all women of child bearing age because the need for this nutrient is at its most critical in the very early days of a pregnancy, possibly before the mother is even aware of her condition.

This is not to say, however, that a diet rich in folates should not still be followed, because amongst the best and most readily available sources of folates are leafy green vegetables, and orange juice which also provide a plentiful supply of valuable anti-oxidants and are extremely beneficial to general health.

A single cup of spinach or asparagus, for example, may provide as much as 130 or more micrograms (mcg) of folate; a small glass of orange juice perhaps 80 mcg. Pulses such as beans and lentils are also good sources, the latter providing around 180 mcg in just half a cup, beans between 80 and 140 mcg according to type.

Best of all, however, is fortified breakfast cereal, a single cup of which may yield between 200 and 400 mcg, reflecting the FDA’s insistence on the addition of folic acid to refined grain foods, including bread.

Although this policy is driven mostly by a desire to protect the unborn, the more general advice to consume at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day has also been put forward as a protector against cancer. Certainly such a diet would be rich in folates, and research suggests a strong association between folate deficiency and an increased incidence of certain of the more common cancers, including those of the cervix, colon and rectum, lung, oesophagus and breast. It is thought that the association may arise because of the role of folate in DNA repair within cells, DNA damage being regarded as a principal cause of cancer.

However, conventional medicine remains reluctant to accept folic acid supplementation as a possible weapon in the battle against cancer, even though one large scale study has reported a halving of breast cancer risk in women taking more than 600 mcg daily. For reasons which are not understood, however, this protective effect was only observed in the case of those women who also consumed at least one alcoholic drink per day. In general it can be said that the link between folic acid intake and cancer risk remains a matter of association rather than clear causation, but orthodox opinion is much less cautious in recommending a high intake of folates from food.

But not surprisingly, given the potential benefits, nutritional therapists are much less a cautious in recommending folic acid supplementation at levels far in excess of the officially Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 400 mcg (0.4 mg) a day; some suggesting as much as 10 mg (10,000 mcg). And in fact there appears little reason for concern over the ingestion of such apparently large amounts.

Although the US Food and Nutrition Board has recommended that folic acid intake should be limited to 1,000 mcg (1 mg) per day, this is not so much because of possible problems with such an intake of folic acid in itself, but rather because it may cure a particular type of anaemia which is one of the symptoms of an underlying deficiency of vitamin B12. Whilst you might think that such a cure would be beneficial, the problem is that it may mask the underlying vitamin B12 deficiency with potentially serious neurological consequences.

But the solution to the problem would seem straightforward. It is simply to ensure that a generous supply of vitamin B12 is obtained along with any folic acid taken. And this should not be difficult if the vitamins are taken as part of a supplement containing the entire B complex, as is always recommended. As with all vitamins supplements, they should for maximum effectiveness be taken in conjunction with a comprehensive multi-mineral.

Phytonutrients

Phytonutrients are nutrients found in the skins of several fruits and vegetables, which give the food color as well as flavor and scent. Phytonutrients are quite simply the best types of antioxidant foods that you can find anywhere. If you are looking for a supplement value, the coq10 offers you a high level of antioxidant value.

Although fruits and vegetables are the best sources for antioxidants, the problem with them is that they are produced by the use of chemical herbicides, pesticides, and different types of fertilizers.

Over the years, studies have shown that fruits and vegetables which are organically grown are high in antioxidants, and boast a much higher concentration than those that have been produced commercially.

In the busy world of today, it is difficult to eat like we should, nor can we eat organic fruits and vegetables all the time. If you can’t or don’t have access to organic fruits or other sources of antioxidant foods, you should look into nutritional supplements that offer you the phytonutrients you need in your diet.

Supplements that contain phytonutrients do have advantages when compared to certain fruits, such as carrots – which can elevate your blood sugar level to a very high level. Phytonutrients found in supplements are the extract of pigments where nutrients are concentrated, meaning that they draw the best from antioxidant foods, leaving the calories and sugar behind.

Don’t get the wrong idea here, fruits and vegetables are indeed good for you. They are high in antioxidants, although those that are produced commercially generally come with chemicals and such that aren’t so good for you. Canned fruits and vegetables come with high levels of sugars and calories, which antioxidant supplements don’t have. The supplements offer you the levels you need, without any chemicals, sugars, or calories. This way, you don’t have to worry about consuming anything that isn’t good for you.

No matter how you look at it, healthy eating for your body starts and end with foods that contain antioxidants. There are several types of foods that contain antioxidants, although fruits and vegetables contain the most amounts. Steak and meat are also great sources of antioxidants, along with other great benefits, such as protein. Anytime you can’t get foods that contain antioxidants – you can count on supplements to deliver the amount you need to stay healthy.