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Know Your Vitamins and Mineral sources, as well as benefits

 

Vitamins and minerals are needed in the body in small amounts to enable it to grow, develop and function.
A diet that has plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed foods, should provide ample amount of vitamins and minerals.
A lot of the nutrients are lost through, processing, freezing, and canning.

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Fruits and vegetables also lose some of their goodness through whilst left standing in the bowl

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Most people can get their relevant vitamins from they eat every day, as long as it is balanced.

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Below are a list of vitamins and their sources as well as the benefits attributable to them.
Vitamin. A
Source: Eggs, butter, fish, oils, green and yellow fruits and vegetables, liver
Essential for: strong bones, good eyesight, healthy skin, and healing

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Source: Plant and animal foods, especially wholegrain products, brown rice, seafood, and beans

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Essential for: Nerve function, conversion of blood sugar into energy
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Source: Milk and dairy produce, green leafy vegetables, liver, kidney, yeast,
Essential for: Cell growth and reproduction and production of energy.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Source: Meat, fish and poultry, wholegrain peanuts and avocados

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Essential for: Digestion, energy and the nervous system
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
Source: Organ meats, fish, eggs, chicken, nuts and wholegrain cereals
Essential for: Strengthening immunity and fighting infection, healing wounds
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine acid)
Source: Meat, eggs, wholegrain, yeast, cabbage, melon, molasses
Essential for: healthy immune system, production of antibodies, white blood cells, new cells
Vitamin B 12
Source: Fish, dairy produce, beef, pork, lamb, organ meat, eggs, milk
Essential for: Energy and concentration, production of red blood cells, growth in children
Vit C
Source: Fresh fruits and vegetables, potatoes, leafy green herbs and berries
Essential for: Healthy skin, bones, muscle, healing, eyesight, and protection from viruses

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Vit. D
Source: Milk, and dairy produce, eggs, fatty fish
Essential for: Healthy teeth, bones, vital for growth.
Vit E
Source: Nuts, seeds, eggs, milk, wholegrain, leafy vegetables, avocados, and soya
Essential; for absorption of iron, and essential fatty acids slowing the aging process.
Vit. K
Source: Green vegetables, milk products apricots, wholegrain, cod liver oils
Essential for: Blood clotting

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Calcium
Source: Dairy produce, leafy greens, vegetables, salmon, nuts, root vegetables, tofu
Essential for: strong bones and teeth, hormones, and muscles, blood clotting, regulation of blood process
Iron

Source: Liver, kidney, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, shellfish, pulses, dark green vegetables, egg yolk, red meat, beans, molasses
Essential for: supply of oxygen to the cells and immune system
Magnesium
Source: Brown rice, soya beans, nuts, wholegrain, bitter chocolate, legumes
Essential for: Transmission of nerve impulses, development of bones, growth, and repair of cells, development, and function of enzymes, and metabolism in general

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Potassium
Source: Avocados, leafy green vegetables, banana, fruit and vegetable juices, potatoes, and nuts
Essential for: maintaining water balance, and nerve and muscle function

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As we get older, our organs function less efficiently, absorption of essential nutrients and minerals become less.
It is, therefore, necessary to take in supplements to make up for the loss.
A few tips on to retain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals during cooking.
So now the question is how we get the most out of the food we eat.
The way we cook determines to a large extent, whether we preserve the nutrients or destroy them.
Cooking certainly affects the calorie content and its nutrients.
If we steam our vegetables, stir-fry, or cook only briefly in a microwave, we would retain the nutrients.
On the hand when we cook the process would allow the nutrients to seep into the water.
Also when we add, oils, fats, lard or butter to whatever we are cooking, the result is that we add more calories.
Similarly adding sugar or honey to whatever we are cooking constitutes adding more calories and carbohydrate value.
Soups, stews, and casseroles tend to preserve more of their nutritional values, as vitamins and minerals are retained in the broth.
Grilling your meat on a tray would allow the fat in the meat to drip off.
Finally, the shorter the cooking time the more nutrients will be retained, and the less fat and sugars added the better.

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What we mean by servings

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We have talked about the food pyramid and how it benefits you. So now how do we make it work for us?

The biggest problem with any diet seems to be the portion sizes. We are eating far too much, we need to weigh and to measure every last grain, but the following would guide us.

SERVINGS

A single serving, for instance, is not a bowl heaped full of rice or pasta, or a steak the size of a dinner plate. Recently We in the UK have been consuming considerably large portions, plates are far too big.

A Serving of fruits ( should be as follows)

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medium apple or satsuma (200g. about the size of a tennis ball)

a medium banana (150g.peeled, should fit the average side plate)

a half cup(100g.) of chopped fruit or berries

a quarter of a cup of fruit juices

A serving of bread, cereal, rice or pasta

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1 slice of bread or 1/2 a bagel or roll

30g. of cereal

50g. of cooked rice or pasta ( the size of a child’s clenched fist

A serving of vegetables is :

a cup of raw, leafy greens ( about the size of a woman’s clenched fist)

a quarter  of a cup of vegetable juice

a large piece of broccoli ( about the size of a light bulb)

a half cup of chopped  vegetables

1 baked potato ( about the size of a computer mouse)

A serving of milk, yogurt or cheese is :

1 cup(236ml) of milk or yogurt

28g. of cheese( about the size of your thumb)

a slice of cheese ( the size of a floppy computer disc)

a half cup of cottage cheese 57g.

A serving of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, nuts is:

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85g. lean cooked meat, poultry, or fish ( the size of a deck of playing cards)

1 medium  pork chop

1 small hamburger

1 fish fillet

half of a chicken breast or a medium chicken leg

1 medium egg

half a cup of cooked beans

2 tablespoons of peanut butter( half the size of a golf ball

a handful of nuts or seeds

 

Having known your serving, the next step would be to calorie count. We shall discuss this in the next topic

 

 

 

 

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Eating a balanced diet re The food pyramid

Most of us must have  heard of the  Mediterranean diet, and the suggestion that it is the way forward in healthy eating. This type of diet is mainly fruits and vegetables , with sea food. Reason being that people living in the Mediterranean region tend to live longer due to their choice of food. Similarly, people in in the Far East whose diet is also made up mainly of sea food and vegetables and pulses tend to have higher rate of life expectancy.
However, in the western world like America and some parts of Europe where the consumption of red meat is high, have the tendancy of developing heart diseases, leading to a shorter life span.
In conclusion, as a result of research which clearly points to the fact that eating food high in saturated fat leads to a shorter life span, not to mention the lack of exercising, we have no longer any excuse for not leading healthy life style. We more or less choose the kind of life we want to lead. The suggestion is to follow a food pyramid. S  what is a food pyramid

The Food Pyramid is designed to make healthy eating easier. Healthy eating is about getting the correct amount of nutrients – protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals you need to maintain good health.

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Foods that contain the same type of nutrients are grouped together on each of the shelves of the Food Pyramid. This gives you a choice of different foods from which to choose a healthy diet.

Food Pyramid

Following the Food Pyramid as a guide will help you get the right balance of nutritious foods within your calorie range. Studies show that we take in too many calories from foods and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt, on the top shelf of the Food Pyramid. They provide very little of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs. Limiting these is essential for healthy eating.

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Your liver and you

 

The major functions of the liver are  as follows, the making of bile salts, making heparin for regulating blood clotting, filtering of blood, attacking harmful bacteria, and bowel toxins as well as removal of unused hormones and cholesterol from the blood

The liver is also involved in metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins as well as vitamins and minerals

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Quote from MedlinePlus

‘’Your liver helps your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons. Liver function tests are blood tests that check to see how well your liver is working. They check for liver damage and can help diagnose liver diseases such as hepatitis and cirrhosis. You may have liver function tests as part of a regular checkup. Or you may have them if you have symptoms of liver disease. Doctors also use the tests to monitor some liver diseases, treatments, and possible side effects of medicines.
Liver function tests measure certain proteins, enzymes, and substances, including:

· Albumin, a protein that the liver makes
· Total protein (TP)
· Enzymes that are found in the liver, including alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT)
· Bilirubin, a yellow substance that is part of bile. It is formed when your red blood cells break down. Too much bilirubin in the blood can cause jaundice. There is also a urine test for bilirubin.
· Prothrombin time, which measures how long it takes for your blood to clot. Prothrombin is made by the liver.’’

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These are a number vitamins and foods that would boost the performance of the liver; like,  liver pate, liver sausages and vitamin A

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Why it is healthier to cook from scratch

 

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Researchers have always claimed that coronary heart diseases, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes have increased dramatically, due to unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Our consumption of processed foods tends to be the main cause. Most processed foods are high in salt, sugar, and fat as well chemicals, preservatives. The aim is to make it tastier and therefore attractive. Food labels could be misleading as well. Whilst the labels would display foods having say less fat, they could still be high in sugars and other additives to make them taste nice.
The government has recently talked about establishing a Sugar Tax with the expectation that it would drive manufacturers to apply less sugar in their products.

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WHY WE GAIN WEIGHT

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We gain weight when we regularly consume more calories that we burn. Through bodily function and physical activities, we lose weight, and the more active we are the more we lose.
Research proves that more people are over weight than under weight.
In the UK nearly 60% of adults are over weight or obese.
So what causes weight gain

1. consuming too much food, we tend to have much bigger plates these days.
2. Eating unhealthy high fat foods or foods high in sugar
The thing is, the body tends to store the excess carbohydrates or sugar into fat. Some foods have so much more calories than others, so the need to make the right choices when it comes to food.
Alcohol for instance is high in calories, and should be consumed in moderation.
Medical Reasons

Balanced diet

Weight gain could be attributed to medical reasons,
1. An under active thyroid gland, this means the thyroid is not able to produce enough, thyroid hormones, to regulate metabolism, this is most common in older women.

Generally, as we age we lose muscle, due to inactivity, meaning we burn less, to reduce muscle loss we need to stay active.
So the watch word is to stay active. More to come….

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