Connect with us

Food & Nutrition

Does Your Body Need Vitamins?

Published

on

Why bother taking vitamins at all? Our forefathers survived just fine without multi vitamin packs, why can’t we? The answer to that question is easy, go look in your cupboards. Our forefathers ate a lot better than we do. High processed, homogenized, pasteurized, canned and prepackaged fast food means less chance of natural occurring vitamins surviving for any length of time.

While some of us pick our own fruit and grow our own vegetables, most of the country chooses to rely on packaged, store bought fruits and veggies. These aren’t as healthy as they look, either. The longer the apples and tomatoes are off the vine, the faster they begin to lose their nutritional value, losing vitamins during processing and shipping.

Your body needs vitamins to boost your immune system, ward off colds and other viruses, and even keep you even tempered, so to speak. Did you know with a vitamin deficiency that you are less likely to clot when you cut yourself? Vitamins play a much bigger part then we think, and the average diet does not include all the vitamins necessary to keep the body in top shape.

A good multi-vitamin is your best choice, but here again you can be misled into believing that 100% of the USDA recommended dosage is good enough. They mean 100% total, not 100% of each vitamin necessary. Think about it, they can’t possibly pack the right amount of every kind of vitamin that you need into one pill a day, and most multi vitamins sold in your local grocery store are cut with fillers and preservatives. Nope, you’ll have to visit your local food co op and get some natural, all inclusive vitamin supplements. Along with eating well, these supplements contain everything you need for balanced vitamin intake, with none of the fillers and preservatives that I, for one, resent paying for.

So let’s talk B vitamins as an example. You need several different kinds of B vitamins alone. B6 and B12 are just two, but the most commonly talked about. Vitamin B6 promotes the development of red blood cells, and 12 helps promote energy and fights Alzheimer’s disease. You need these and other vitamins to be in the purest form possible in order to be the most beneficial. Let’s skip back for a moment, the history of vitamins, if you will. Vitamins began being “discovered” by scientists and surgeons around 1914, and the word “vitamin ” comes from the word “vital” as in vital energy for life, but as far back as the 1600’s sailors knew to eat citrus fruits to prevent scurvy. It wasn’t until later that they knew it as vitamin C.

Now we will skip forward to the future. Many vitamins are now available as liquids. Remember cod liver oil? Well now most vitamins can be taken from a spoon rather than choked down (although if you were one of the kids forced to down cod liver oil, you were choking anyway), what’s more, they taste good now as well.

Now before you get all excited and run out to stock up on each vitamin that you are deficient in, let me remind you that you can, in fact, ‘overdose’ on vitamins, kind of. The water soluble vitamins such as B’s and C’s will simply be expressed through your urine if you’ve taken in more than your body needs, but fat soluble vitamins such as D and E can accumulate and cause problems such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and rash.

I recommend contacting a homeopath to test for vitamin deficiencies before you run out and spend a lot on vitamins. Knowing exactly what you need the most and in what daily dosage will save you some money, because again, you really need to purchase each vitamin separately, rather than in a multi-vitamin pill.

DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read. Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

Advertisement

Food & Nutrition

Bulk Up on Fiber Facts and Whole Foods

Fiber is actually not a nutrient and it doesn’t provide the body with energy or calories

Published

on


Fiber is actually not a nutrient and it doesn’t provide the body with energy or calories. It’s also not digestible or absorbable by the body, but its health benefits earn it the designation of “phytonutrient.” Fitness professionals know that the “average American” (which includes many of our clients) likely isn’t taking in enough fiber. But what is fiber? What are its benefits? How much is enough? And how can fiber help clients meet health and weight goals? That’s a lot of questions! Here are some simple answers about this complex carbohydrate.

Fiber in a Nutshell—or an Apple Skin

Fiber is what gives plants their shape and structure, and it’s found only in plant foods, not animal-based ones. The shape and structure of fiber is what gives our body, most importantly our gastrointestinal tract, the bulk that provides many benefits. To reap the many benefits of fiber such as maintaining a healthy weight, satiety, glucose control, cholesterol reduction, cancer prevention, and gut health from prebiotics, boost your intake of plants.

America: Falling Short on Fiber

In 2014, the average American intake of fiber was only 16 grams per day. The recommended intake of fiber is 25­­­–38 g per day. That’s a big disparity! Women should aim for 25 g of fiber per day, and men should target 38 g (or 21 g for women and 30 g for men daily for those over the age of 51).

Consuming more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds will increase fiber intake. The growing trend of increased plant-based intake (as in flexitarian diets—an expansion on the practice of Meatless Mondays) will hopefully increase the intake of fiber in the American population.

Whole Foods: The Best “Package” for Fiber

In spite of its many health benefits, fiber is not a cure-all that many seek from products, but it is a healthy focus when trying to improve overall health. In fact, it is one number I recommend paying attention to on the food label. I typically recommend paying more attention to reading the more important ingredients list, eating intuitively and eating more whole foods versus the numbers. When people focus on eating whole food versus looking at numbers, they are naturally more satisfied.

Over the years as refining and processing foods has become more prevalent, fiber has become less available in prepared products. This is even more of a reason to focus on whole, unprocessed foods. Take the apple-versus-applesauce-versus-apple-juice example:

  • 1 medium apple with the peel contains 4.4 g of fiber; while
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce contains 1.4 g of fiber; and
  • 4 ounces of apple juice contains 0 g fiber!

Juicing—a popular trend—actually eliminates the fiber from the vegetables and fruits because juicers extract the fiber-filled pulp. And it’s not just fruits that contain more fiber when they’re not processed: The same holds true for soybeans versus tofu. A 1/2 cup serving of soybeans contains 5 g of fiber, whereas 1/2 cup of tofu only has 1 g of fiber.

It is recommended to receive your fiber intake from whole foods over fiber supplements or fortified foods. The foods that contain fiber also contain many other nutrients that a supplement may not contain. Research also shows that a fiber supplement may not have the same power of increasing satiety or managing blood sugar and cholesterol as the whole food does. Fiber-fortified foods may also cause more gastrointestinal issues.

There is not a box, powder or cleanse that you can purchase that will do for you what eating whole food can. Save your money on products and put it into real food. It’s the most beneficial way to reap the produce’s full nutrient and phytonutrient benefits.

Two Types of Fiber, Many Rewards

There are two kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both are beneficial and provide different perks. All plant foods contain a combination of both insoluble and soluble, but some have a higher amount of one over the other. Take the apple/applesauce/juice example again: The skin of the apple is a source of insoluble fiber, and the inside flesh contains soluble. The juice contains neither. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and insoluble fiber does not. Fiber’s solubility is what determines its benefits.

Insoluble fiber is cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Although insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water, it does retain water and helps waste and toxins to move through our system more rapidly. Increasing plant intake usually allows us to feel better and have more energy as it helps the body naturally detoxify. Let your intestines, kidney, liver, and spleen work!

Insoluble fiber is found in foods such as cauliflower, green beans, and the skin of fruits. It helps with colon and breast cancer prevention, regularity and constipation prevention and diverticulosis. The indigestible parts of the plants are also prebiotics for our gut health to feed the probiotics.

Soluble fiber like glucan, psyllium, gum and pectin become gummy substances when water is added—for example, when chia seeds are put in liquid to make chia pudding. This gummy quality allows it to bind to cholesterol, helping the body excrete it. This is also how soluble fiber helps slow the rate at which blood glucose rises—it slows the absorption of the glucose into the bloodstream.

Foods such as oats, beans, apples, carrots and flax are sources of soluble fiber, and they help to promote satiety, a healthy weight, cholesterol reduction and blood glucose control.

Encouraging Clients to Boost Fiber Intake

Many people begin an exercise program for weight loss, then find that they have increased hunger. This is due to increased energy expenditure. One way to help keep hunger in check is increasing fiber intake. Not only does fiber contain zero calories, but the foods that are high fiber are also lower in calories and fat than many other foods.

Caution not to go overboard as there is too much of a good thing. Too much fiber may cause constipation and decrease nutrient absorption. Increase fiber intake gradually and also increase water intake to prevent constipation.

Tip: Fiber is not recommended right before a workout as it may increase gastrointestinal upset. Focus on adequate fiber intake in the meals and snacks post exercise or training.

Easy Ways to Fiber Up

A great place to start with increasing fiber intake is by using the plate method, which includes filling half your plate with vegetables and fruit at each meal. The plate method is a more realistic way to track portions for a healthy weight than measuring cups or counting calories. Another method is to aim for the recommended 5 servings (or more) of vegetables and fruits per day. Tips to add more fiber:

  • Choose whole grains with 3–5 g fiber per serving. Look for whole grain breads, brown rice and oats, and consume the whole intact grain versus milled.
  • Enjoy a vegetable or fruit serving with each meal or snack.
  • Add beans to soups, stews, pastas, omelets, salads and casseroles.
  • Have oatmeal versus dry cereal at breakfast, and toss in some whole fruit chunks or berries.
  • For sandwiches, add bulk (no pun intended) with lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, peppers and other garden favorites. If you’re not a vegetable eater, getting them on your sandwich makes them easier to consume.
  • Prefer a grain at snack time? Try popcorn versus crackers.

A Quick Guide to Fiber Counts

Here’s a reference that will give you and your clients a good idea of how much fiber is in some popular foods.

Source

Continue Reading

Food & Nutrition

Organic Food For A Better Environment And Health

Organic food is produced by farmers to emphasize renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water

Published

on

You must have heard about organic food, haven’t you? What do you know about it? Imagine if your spinach, broccoli, carrots, celery, apples, oranges, pears, and other fruits and vegetables on your table do not contain chemical substances. A healthier body will be yours ever.

Also: Why Am I Gaining Weight When I Eat Healthily?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), organic food is produced by farmers to emphasize renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. This food is produced and processed without using any synthetic ingredients or chemical substances which can disrupt the balance of nature.

Do you know what that means? Yes, organic food production is better for our environment.
Meanwhile, organic meat, eggs, poultry, and dairy products are produced by not using growth hormones and antibiotics. Wow, that’s supposed to be healthy and safe for your body. Consuming organic food is indeed an investment to a healthier life in the future. Making it a daily menu for the family is a healthful idea as well.

What is the standard of organic food?
The USDA has established a set of national standard that “organic” labeled food must meet. One of them is the farm condition, whether it follows the rules necessary to meet the USDA organic standards. For instance, there must be no prohibited substance for 3 years on land. Certification to the companies that process or handle the organic food before it reaches local supermarkets or restaurants is also required.

How to tell if certain food is organic? See a label on the food package or watch for signs in the supermarket. Costly, yet healthy. Unfortunately, you may find that organic food is rather more expensive from non-organic one. One of the reasons is organic food needs more farmers to handle the production as they weed, for example carrots and onions, by hand.

So it’s clear than consuming organic food is not simply about eating. Again, it is a future asset. Not only is it beneficial for our environment but also for our health, our family’s health.

Continue Reading

Food & Nutrition

Looking At Nutrition And BMI

Calculating your Body Mass Index or BMI is an excellent first step

Published

on

One of the first steps to realizing if you are leading a healthy lifestyle or not is determining if you are overweight. Calculating your Body Mass Index or BMI is an excellent first step. Once you’ve determined what your BMI you can use a combination of exercise and nutrition to help you reach your desired weight goal.

Also: Increasing Longevity Through Better Nutrition

If you are trying to lose weight or just maintain a healthy weight, you should understand the connection between the energy your body takes in and the energy your body uses. Energy is taken in through the food you eat and beverages you drink. Energy is used by activities performed. To lose weight you have to use more calories than you take in. To maintain, you have to match the calories you take in with those that you use. Eating a healthy diet and being physically active can help you reach either goal.

The number of calories you need each day depends on your age, activity level and whether you are trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight. Your diet should include the most nutritious foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy products. Foods should be rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients.

You also must be physically active. Regular physical activity is important to your overall health and fitness. It can help you control your body weight. Aim to be physically active at a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes a day. Increase the intensity or amount of time you exercise to have greater health benefits. Children and teenagers should be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day.

To see if you are at a healthy weight you can measure your BMI (Body Mass Index). To calculate your BMI, multiply your weight in pounds by 704, and then divide by the square of your height in inches. For example: if you weigh 162 pounds and are 69 inches tall, your BMI is (162 x 704) divided by (69 x 69)= 23.9 which is normal.

Your BMI is

Powered by BMI Calculator



Continue Reading

Trending

SIGN UP FOR THE
FITNESS GURLS NEWSLETTER

Sign up for our weekly email newsletter. Get Fitness Gurls features and content first. Delivered every Monday.

Your E-mail:
Your Name:
Your email will never be shared to a 3rd party.
x