Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Question Of Supplements

There ar many millions of people out there taking high dose vitamin pills daily, especially beta carotene and vitamins C and E, the antoxidant nutrients that they recieved has gotten so much media attention in recent years. But these supplements are really no substitute for plain old good eating habits, and the majority of these people can fill their nutrition needs by following a good diet regimine.

These megadose vitamins can actually be harmful. When taken in very large amounts, vitamins and minerals, like all drugs carry the risk of adverse side effects and interactions. Many minerals, and vitamins A and D are stored in the body and can build to toxic levels when taken in large doses. The presence of large quantities of a particular vitamin or mineral in the intestinal tract invariably interferes with the body's ability to absorbtion of other nutrients and can lead to deficiency diseases.

Where supplements are needed, they should only be prescribed by a doctor. For example a woman planning to concieve or who is already pregnant needs extra folate to protect the baby from neurological problems. Pregnancy also increases the demand for iron beyond what can be obtained from an ordinary diet. An older woman may need additional calcium and vitamin D to help prevent Osteoporosis.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bean Sprouts

Although various types of bean sprouts are available in most health food stores and most supermarkets, and salad bars; few live up to their reputations as the pototype of health foods. Many bean sprouts are much more nutritous than others. One cup of the mung bean sprouts, for example, provides one third of the Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI) of folate and 30 percent of the RNI for vitamin C. In contrast to this, it takes five cups of alfalfa sprouts to yield the same amounts.

Be WARNED although most bean sprouts can be eaten raw. There is an exeption and thatis the sprouted soybean, which contains a potentially harmful toxin that is destroyed by cooking. People with LUPUS should avoid alfdalfa sprouts; alfalfa in any form can prompt a flare up of symptoms.


*Some are high in folate; others are fair
to good sources of protein, vitamins C,
B vitamins and iron.


*Alfalfa sprouts may provoke flare up of
symptoms in LUPUS patients.

Monday, April 28, 2008


The people of Greece, Italy and all other mediterranean countries have a much lower cholesterol levels and far fewer heart attacks than North Americans, researchers have tried to determine why. Many have concluded that the answer lies in their diet.

In contrast to the typical Norht American diet, wine is a regular feature of the Mediterranean diet. The bilk of the diet consists of pasta, bread, grains and other starches, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and beans.

Consumed regularly, about every other day, are cheese and yogurt, olives and olive oil. Sweets, eggs, poltry and fish are served frequently, a few times a week. Least often consumed is red meat, which is typically served in small portions, only a few times each month.

The Mediterranean does not specify exact serving sizes, as a rule of thumb Western nutritionists recommend eating more pasta, grains, breads, fruits and vegetables, legumes, yogurt, cheese, and olives or oil, and less poultry and fish, sweets, eggs, and especially red meats.

Over 30 percent of total calories in the typical Mediterranean diet come from fats, mostly monosaturated olive oil. Nutritionists note that the diet provides more fat and calories than what is generally recommended for most North Americans, but because so many Mediterranean people have a physical demanding occupation, they are less likely to gain weight.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Green beans ( which can also be yellow or purple) are harvested ar an immature stage. Both the tender pods and the small soft seeds are eaten. In the shelled varieties only the seeds are eaten. Some, such as lima beans, are harvested while they are still tender; others are left to mature (se legumes). Most pod beans, snap beans, Italian green bveans, long Chinese beans, purple and yellow wax beans, and green beans can be eaten raw. More commonly, thsy are steamed or boiled. Shelled beans should always be cooked; they then can served hot or cold.


lIMA BEANS AND FAVA BEANS ARE A GREAT SOURCE OF PROTEIN, PROVIDING ABOUT 7G PER HALF CUP SERVING. The same size serving of baby or green lima beans contains 2mg of iron, more than twice as much as in favas and four times the amount in 1/2 cup of green snap beans. All of these varieties are a good source of folate and viatmins A and C. The shelled beans have more thiamine, vitamin B6, potassium, and magnesium; the soluble fiber in shelled beans may be lower in choleterol but the presence of carbohydrates such as raffinose may also cause Flatulence.

WARNING: Some Mediterranean people lack an enzyme needed to protect red blood cells from damage by vicine, a toxic substance in fava beans that couses a typr of anemia. People taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors to treat depression should avoid fava beans; the combination can raise your blood pressure.


*High in folate and vitamins A and C.
*Mature (shelled) beans are high inprotein and iron.


*Shelled beans can cause flatulence.
*Fava beans are toxic to some people.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


In order to meet the recommended nutritional needs of most people, the Nutrition Research Division of Health and Welfare Canada established the Recommended Nutrient Intakes or RNIs, for 9 vitamins, 6 minerals, protein, and energy.

Also the Nutrition Reasearch Division lists all the estimated safe and adequate intakes of two other vitamins and five minerals. To determine a specificRNI, nutritio scientists established a minimum value, below which deficiency develops, and the maximum amount, above which harm might occur. The RNI is set between these two values, with a margin of safety to ensure a reserve to carry a person through weeks or even months of inadequate intake.

Many people mistakenly assume that they must consume the full RNI of each nutrient daily. This of course is not true because each RNI is actually more than one person needs. For example the RNI for vitamin C (40mg) is really four times what the average person needs to prevent scurvy. It should be noted that in Canada, deficiency diseases are rare, occuring mostly among people with other disorders, for example, thiamine deficiency is common among long term alcoholics and seniors.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Basic Food Groups

Canadian public nutrition education is handled by Health and Welfare Canada. Canada's Food Guide divides common foods into four catagories; grain products, milk products, fruits and vegetables, and meats and alternatives.
The food guide describes the number and the size of servings that should be consumed from each food group, with allowances for pregnant and breast- feeding women, males and females, age, body size, and activity levels. Following the general concepts will result in a "nutritious diet". This also means that energy needs will be fulfilled, micronutrient requirements (vitamins and minerals) will be met, and the macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) will be consumed in a proper ratio.
Now the optimal balance is arrived at by featuring the abundance of servings from the grain, fruits and vegetables groups, while limiting the intake of fattier foods found in the milk and meat catagories. If all the guidelines are followed, then no more than 30 percent of the total number of calories will come from fats.
The total number of servings a day should add up to a minimum of 14 and a maximum of 29, now this sounds like a lot, but the portions are quite small see what makes a serving below and the number of servings servings should be adjusted according to the individual energy needs of each individual. A truly balanced diet is one which provides all the essential nutrients while maintaining the ideal body weight for each person. Thus a person this way trying to lose a few pounds may have the maximum number of low calorie fruits and vegetables and the minimum number of servings from the meat, dairy and starch groups, which do tend to be higher in calories.
What Makes a Good Size Serving?

Grain Products - 1 slice of bread; 1/2 bagel, pita or bun; 1/2cup of pasta or rice; 1 bowl of hot cereal; 1 bowl of cold cereal.

Vegetables - 1/2 cup fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables; 1 medium sized vegetable;
1 cup of salad; 1/2 cup of juice.

Fruits - 1/2 cup of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit; 1 medium sized fruit; ½ a cup of juice.

MIlk Products 1 cup of milk; 1/4 cup of yogurt, and 1 1/2 oz of cheese.

Meat & Alternatives - 2 to 3 oz lean meat, poultry or fish; 1/2 to 1/3 can of fish; 1 to 2 eggs; 1/2 cup of tofu; 2 tbsp of peanut butter.
How Much Water To Drink

For a healthy adult they need 2 1/2 to 3 quarts a fluids a day. Some of those fluids come from food, but six to 8 glasses should come from water or other nonalcxoholic beverages ( avoid drinks high in sugar and caffien). With prolonged excercise, hot weather, diarrhea, and a fever are among some conditions that will require more fluids intake. Now in these cases try to drink extra fluids before signs of thirst occur. Thirst is unreliable especially when it comes to the elderly.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bananas Natures Perfect Snack

Bananas are healthy, filling and tasy great, bananas are a great treat and snack food. Bananas are grown in most of the tropical areas of the world, they are harvested while still green. When bananas are stored at room temperature they will ripen in just a few days, You can speed this process by placing the fruit in a plastic or paper bag with an apple.

Bananas are bland, easy to digest and hypoallergenic which makes them a great early food for babies. Bananas with rice, applesauce, and toast are one of the foods in the BRAT diet which is recommended after a bout with Diarhea. Many ulcer patients report that bananas help with some of their pain, but this is not proven.


Bananas are high in fat only avocados are higher in fat, as a fruit source for potassium, a mineral instrumental in proper muscle function.People taking certain diuretic drugs for high blood pressure are advised to eat two or three bananas a day to help replace the potassium lost through the urine.

They are also a great source of vitamins B6, a medium 4 ounce banana suplies one third thr Recmmended Nutrient intake RNI, along with 10 percent or more of the RNIs for vitamin C and folate. It adds 2g of soluble dietary fiber, which helps to lower blood cholesterol levels. Bananas contain about 100 calories each, mostlyin the form of fruit sugar and starch. Because the body quickly converts these t energy they are naturally a great favorite of athletes.


Plantains resemble large green bananas, but they never become as sweet. Plantains are usually baked or fried and served as a starchy sidedish; they can also be a delicious addition to soups, stews, and meat dishes. Nutritionally, plantains are comaparable to bananas, except that their content of vitamin A is much higher, by providing 20 percent in RNI.

*A good source of potassium, folate. and vitamins C and B6.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Avocados a Healthy Fruit

Avocados are often mistaken for a vegetable, but no it is a fruit and the reproductive part of the plant.Avocados have a very rich buttery flavor and a smooth texture that make it a complementary addo9n for vegetables, meat, and pasta salads. When mashed and seasoned avocados may also be served as a dip as quacamole, or even as a sandwich spread. Even with it's versatility and nutritional vaue the avocado should be used sparingly. It contains approximatly 200 calories in a 4 ounce serving and has more fat and calories than any other fruit. Most of the fat in avocados is monounsturated fat it does not tend to elevate blood cholesterol levels, unlike the saturated oil that comes from palms and other tropical plants.

The avocado contributes a number of nutrients when served with a low fat meal or snacks, Four ounces or about half of a medium sized fruit gives you 500mg of potassium and more than one third of the recommended nutients of folate; it also gives you 10 percent or more from iron, magnesium and vitamins A, C, E and Bsix.

Avocados should be served raw, they tend to have a bitter taste when cooked. They can be added to hot dishes that have already been cooked, like tossed with a spicy pasta sauce or sliced on top of cooked chicken breasts.

Avocados have more protein than any other fruit, approximately 2gf in a 4 ounce serving. They are native to Central America and Mexico and they remain their leading producers. Unlike most fruits they only begin to ripen once cut from the tree. The mature fruit can be left on the tree for about 6 months without spoiling. Once they are picked a green avocado will ripen in a few days.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Asparagus Healthy Food

Asparagus has been prized as a springtime delicacy for centuries, this edible member of the lily family is now so widely cultivated that it is available in every season of the year. Lightly boiled or steamed, asparagus makes a very tasy and nutritious appetizer, salad ingredient or even just as a tasty side dish.

Centuries ago the ancient Greeks and Romans thought that asparagus possessed medicinal qualities, curing everything from rheumatism to toothaches. But none of these properties have any proof or have been proven true, but asparagus does definately provide so many essential nutrients. Just six spears, or half a cup serving, contains 90mcg (micrograms) of folate, almost one half of the adult recommended intake (RNI); as well as 20mg of vitamin C, or half of the RNI; and 750IU of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, or about one fifth of the RNI. Also asparagus is low in calories (25 in 6 spears), high in fibre and also a great source of protein.

Asparagus should be eaten as soon after picking as possible, it will spoil very quickly, plus if unrefrigerated, it loses half of it's vitamin C and a lot of the flavor in just 2 to 3 days. If you freeze quickly asparagus retains most of it's nutrients; canning destroys some flavor and nutrients while adding salt.

People who suffer from Gout should be advised to stay away from asparagus because it contains purines, substances that can bring on a painful attack of the desease. Some peeople also notice that asparagus gives their urine a pungent odor; this harmles reaction occurs when the body metabolizes the sulfur compounds in the food. StudiesHowever studies show that only a small percentage of the people have this problem.

*A good low calorie source of folate andvitamin A and C.*Stalks are high in fiber.

*Contains purines which may precipitate a Gout attack.

Artichokes Health Benefits

The globe artichoke served hot or cold is a delicacy and a very nutritious vegetable. The globe artichoke is the flower bud of a large, thistlelike plant, with just a few edible parts, the heart and the tender fleshy part at the base of the tough outer leaves.

When preparing a fresh artichoke, the thorny top and leaf tips are trimmed away the vegetable is the boiled, steamed or baked. Artichokes can be served many ways, but the most popular way is to dip the edible portion of the leaves in a sauce. This sauce determines whether an artichoke is a healthy treat or a high calorie food. Using high fat sauces like Hollandaise and melted butter are traditional favorites, a more healthy choice is lemon juice with a dash of olive oil.

A real large artichoke provides 12 percent of the daily requirements of foloate, 20 percent of vitamin C, 300mg of potassium, and about 2g of fiber.All artichokes contain cynarin, a chemical said to improve liver function and lower blood cholesterol, these claims are unproved. Also lacking proof are claims that artichokes lower blood sugar and stimulate bile flow.

The artichoke is a member of the sunflower or composite, plant family.Persons who are allergic to ragweed pollen may react to artichokes because of cross reacting antgens that respond to both allergens.


*A good source of folate, vitamin C,
and potassium.
*Low in calories and high in Fiber.


*May provoke allergic reaction in
people sensitive to ragweed.

Apricots a Healthy Snack

Apricots are an ideal treat for snacks and deserts. They are very tasty, easy to digest and are very high in fiber, low in calories, virtually fat free and are very nutritious. Just 3 fresh apricots or 10 dried halves provide more than 25% of your recommended nutrient intake of vitamin A in it's plant beta carotene form. When consumed from foods beta carotene is an antioxidant, a substance that protects against cell damage when the body uses oxygen. This damage is thought to be instrumental in aging and the development of heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases.

Fresh apricots are high in vitamin C, another antioxidant that also helps your body absorb iron. A lot of this is lost when apricots are canned or dried. But no matter what form of apricots you choose they are still high in iron as well as potassium, essential for proper nerve and muscle function that helps maintain normal blood pressure and balance your body fluids.

All apricots contain a natural salicylate, a compound similar to the active ingredient in aspirin. People with allergies to aspirin may experience allergic reactions to eating apricots.

Ounce for ounce even dried apricots are more nutritious than most fresh or canned fruits. Dried apricots are only 32% water, while other fruits are 85% water. Apricots are a much more concentrated source of calories, 50 calories in 4 ounces of fresh apricots versus 260 calories in 4 ounces about 30 halves of the dried apricots. When eaten in moderation the dried apricots are a convenient, compact form of nutrition and a great snack.

Apricots are very often treated with sulfur dioxide before they are dried to preserve their color and certain nutrients. This sulfite treatment may trigger an asthma attack or an allergic reaction in certain people. Unless the dried apricots are labeled as sulfite-free if you have asthma avoid them.

Now; on to the laetrile issue when it comes to apricot pits. Laetrile or amygdalin is a very controversial substance derives from apricot pits. Legally it can not be sold as a medical treatment, but it is available as a nutritional supplement sometimes called vitamin B17 in health food stores. It is promoted in other literature or by word of mouth as an alternative treatment for cancer, heart disease, allergies, liver disorders and other diseases. Now numerous scientific studies have failed to find any benefit from laetrile. Laetrile from apricot pits and other sources can liberate cyanide. Consuming large amounts of laetrile has the risk of cyanide poisoning and doctors warn that apricot pits in any form should not be consumed.

For more information on nutrition and healthy foods, alternative natural cures supplements and more Jack's site Alternative Natural Cures is a good place to start!

Friday, April 18, 2008


A fresh apple is definately an ideal tasty snack. Apples are easy to carry, tasty, filling and of course low in calories. Apples can be eaten in many ways, fresh, cooked in tons of ways, in pies, crisps, tarts or even in stuffing; and made into jelly, apple butter and apple sauce. Apples should be washed before eating and some believe even peeled before you eat it especially for fruit that has been waxed.

The old saying "An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away" even so the average apple provides only 8mg of vitamin C, or 20 percent of the recommended daily amount. The skin of the apple contains a small amount of beta carotene, the flesh adds some potassium and iron.

Apples are a great source of fiber, especially pectin, which helps lower blood cholesterol levels. Also another type of soluble fiber in apples absorbs large amounts of water from the intestinal tract, which helps prevent constipation. Because of its taste and the fact that it is easily digested apple sauce is recommended as an early baby food.

Fructose, the major sugar that occurs naturally in apples, is absorbed into the blood stream more slowly than sucrose (table sugar) thus, diabetics can enjoy an apple without the fear of an abrupt increase in blood glucose levels.

Biting and chewing an apple stimulates the gums, and the sweetness of the apple prompts an increase in the flow of saliva, which reduces toothe decay by lowering the levels of bacteria in the mouth.

Dried apples are usually served as a snack or used to make pies, dried apples are a more concentrated source of energy than the fresh apple. It takes about 5 pounds of apples to make 1 pound of dried apple slices, which provide about 70 calories per ounce. You still get the benefit of fiber but most of the nutrients are lost during drying. Dried apples are less likely to promote cavities than other dried fruits.

Healthy Foods and Healthy Eating

More and more these days people are realising that what they eat does indeed make a difference, to the length and the quality of the life you live. Also these foods help in the way you look and feel daily. Most people become confused by all the headlines and conflicting ads that we see all the time. What was good for you last year is now a No No.

Is it really bgetter to eat organic foods, are they more nuttritious than the regular grown ones?

Does eating lots of fruits and vegetables really lower your risks of cancer?

You can usually tell at a glance the nutrients in foods, their benefits and also drawbacks. Generally a food described as a source of a secific vitamin or mineral will supply all or most of the recommended nutrient.

Remember there is just one important message here. Eating healthy foods is not complicated or something dull; it can be a pleasing experience especially with knowledge and understanding.