Posts filed under: ‘Nutrition‘




Superfoods for women

  1. Wild Alaskan Salmon: Omega-3s boost mood, fight depression, may protect against Alzheimer’s disease & cancer. Add in salmon’s lean protein & vit D (a critical nutrient many women lack), & you’ve got yourself a near-perfect food. Eat 2servings/wk.
  2. Wild blue berries: Compounds called anthocyanins in them are one of the most powerful forms of antioxidants. They prevent memory loss, may improve motor skills & help lower BP. Eat 1/2-1c per day.
  3. Oats: Since rich in soluble & insoluble fiber, can help lower cholesterol. Keeps you full so you can control your weight. Steel-cut oats take longer to cook than rolled oats but deliver more fiber. The American Heart Association recommends 25 to 30 gms of dietary fiber a day—that’s about 6 times the amount of fiber in an average serving of oatmeal.
  4. Broccoli: Chemicals in cruciferous vegetables, especially broccoli, may help prevent breast cancer by fighting excess estrogen. Rich in vit C & A, broccoli helps you feel full on less than 30 cals/serving. Also provides fiber, folate (folic acid), calcium, iron, potassium.
  5. Walnuts: Eating just a handful(12 halves) of walnuts a day can help lower cholesterol, boost brain power, sleep better, cope with stress, prevent heart disease, fight cancer, etc.
  6. Avocados; The heart-healthy MUFAs help lose belly fat, a risk factor for heart disease & even some fertility problems. Avocados also pack high amounts of potassium, magnesium, folate, protein, vitamins B6, E, K. Add to that fiber & cholesterol-lowering plant sterols, & you have one nutrient-dense food. Take one quarter to one half an avacado per day.
  7. Red beans: Rich in antioxidants, packed with protein, folate, minerals, fiber, including resistant starch. Resistant starch seems to have several imp benefits, like boosting the body’s ability to burn fat, helping you feel full, controlling blood sugars, even reducing cancer risk. Eat 3c/wk.
  8. Greek yogurt: Rich in calcium & good for the bones. One serving supplies nearly 1/4 th of a woman’s daily calcium needs, & the fat-free variety is packed with twice as much protein as regular yogurt. Fat-free yogurt is high in probiotics, cultures that can help ease irritable bowel syndrome, a condition that affects mostly women. And even though the evidence is inconclusive, some experts say probiotics help boost immunity—a plus during flu season. It’s a healthy swap for artery-clogging sour cream. Eat 3servings/day.
  9. Olive oil: Protects against Alzheimer’s disease & also helps with mild fuzzy thinking. Get 2T/day & it may lower your risk of heart disease.
  10. Dark chocolate: Rich in heart-protective antioxidants, dark chocolate can help reduce the risk of stroke & heart disease. It’s loaded with magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, phosphorus—all imp for strong bones. May also help hydrate the skin, lower BP, sharpen thinking. Eat 1/4 ounce a day, look for kinds made with at least 70% cocoa.

These 15 runners-up are also full of healthy goodness.

  1. Almonds: Lower cholesterol, help you lose weight.
  2. Beef: The zinc in lean beef may help build immunity, while its high iron content fights fatigue & iron-deficiency anemia.
  3. Eggs: are a high-quality protein that’s rich in vit D & A, low in saturated fat. They also have choline, recently in the news for its importance in brain function. They deliver two kinds of carotenoids essential for healthy eyes.
  4. Green tea: May fight cancer & heart disease, help prevent dementia, diabetes, stroke. It hydrates like water, too, so it helps fight fatigue. Drink 4c/day to kick up your calorie burn by 80 calories.
  5. Organic milk(fat-free/low fat): Rich source of protein, calcium, vit D(a nutrient women are often low on).
  6. Pumpkinseeds: Packed with protein, zinc, magnesium, selenium, pumpkinseeds help protect against depression & heart disease, may ease motion sickness.
  7. Quinoa: An excellent source of protein, high in bone-boosting minerals like copper, phosphorous, iron, magnesium. Good source of PMS-fighting manganese.
  8. Raisins: Here’s a great snack with energy-boosting carbs, in addition to fiber, iron, vit C. Raisins are high in natural sugar, yes, but their special phytochemicals help fight tooth decay.
  9. Soybeans: They’re a terrific vegetarian source of protein. And eating moderate amounts of soy foods may lower the risk of breast cancer & keep bones strong after menopause.
  10. Spinach: Is loaded with vit A, C, K, lutein—an essential nutrient for healthy eyes.
  11. Kefir: Think of it as a smoothie that’s good for your gut. Rich in calcium & protein, the tangy drink has probiotics that help with digestion & can soothe intestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome.
  12. Sweet potatoes: High in cancer-fighting antioxidants, sweet potatoes are loaded with energy-boosting carbs, plus fiber, vitamins, manganese, & potassium.

Tart cherries
One of the highest-antioxidant foods around, they help fight memory loss, heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

Tomatoes
You can’t beat ’em as a source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may help protect against cervical and breast cancers. The lycopene in tomatoes act like a sunscreen; eating them cooked can quadruple the SPF in your skin. And the polyphenols in tomatoes thin your blood naturally, so they’re good for your heart. Cook them with broccoli for even greater benefits.
Lentils
A great source of energy, lentils deliver protein, fiber, and antioxidants.

Add a comment January 11, 2010

Tofu

  • Originated in China around 200 BC & so many by-products of soy constitute an imp part of Chinese diet.
  • Introduced to Japan around 8th century AD through Buddhist priests. Eating it was thought to promote longevity.
  • Soy products isoflavones, linoleic acid(unsaturated fatty acid), both lower cholesterol.
  • Low in calories, increase amount of friendly bacteria in the gut so preventing constipation & reducing BP.
  • High in antioxidants, so protects against heart disease & some cancers.
  • High calcium in it protects against osteoporosis.
  • Relieves some symptoms of menopause.
  • Due to subtle flavor & soft texture, works well in all kinds of dishes.
  • It is eaten plain/marinated, coated in flour & deep fried/roasted, added to soups/stir fries.
  • Available fresh or in vacuum packs. Water need to be drained before use.
  • Soya beans are soaked, boiled, mashed & then sieved to produce soy milk. Curds are then produced with the addition of a coagulant, and, while warm, set in moulds for sev hrs. Finally, tofu is released into h20 tank to firm & cool further. Cotton cloths are laid across the base of moulds to absorb excess h20, which rslts in distinct in a distinct cloth mark on tofu block.
  • Silken tofu is made from thicker soya milk & isn’t drained.
  • Tofu & tempeh from Indonesia are closely related.
  • Our body protein is made up of a number of amino acids & the protein found in soybeans provides same kind.
  • Our bodies can absorb 95% of the protein in tofu, b’cos the manufacturing process removes the less digestible parts of beans. So good for babies, elderly, convalescents, & vegans.
  • Firm tofu has a slightly grainy texture & breaks easily, so blanch pieces or briefly fry in oil to harden before stir frying/braising.  Since bland in flavour, use with flavoursome ingredients. Doesn’t freeze well. Stays in friz for weeks if kept submerged in water.
  • Silken tofu is the original Japanese type. Since soft, added at the last minute to dishes. It imparts a rich creamy texture & takes on intense flavours. So perfect low-fat alternative to dairy products like cheese, yogurt, cream etc, especially for those who are lactose intolerant. Fresh tofu shd be stored in friz & used within 1wk. Vacuum packed type doesn’t need to be stored in friz, it shdn’t be frozen.
  • Marinated/pressed tofu is compressed fresh tofu, which is then marinated in soy sauce+chinese 5-spice powder, which colors outside a rich dark brown, while the inside remains white.
  • Smoked tofu is smoked firm tofu for stir fries, salads etc.
  • Frozen tofu: It is very different from others with spongy texture & rich flavour, even after soaking in water, & doesn’t disintegrate however long it is cooked.
  • Deep fried tofu: Firm tofu cubes are deep fried in oil to golden brown.
  • Bean curd skins: The thin skins skimmed off with a stick in a single action skillfully & hung up to dry while the soy milk is boiling. When dry, the milk forms a flat sheet or skin. They shd be soaked in h2o fro 1-2hrs before cooking. They have little flavor of their own but readily absorb flavours of other ingredients.
  • Bean curd sticks are made the same way as skins but when the skin is still warm, it is rolled up & dried. They need to be soaked overnight. They have little flavor of their own but readily absorb flavours of other ingredients.
  • Tempeh is similar to tofu, but with a nuttier, more savoury flavour & firmer texture. It is Indonesian speciality. Cooked soy beans are fermented with a culture. Can be frozen for 1mth.
  • Textured vegetable protein(TVP) was specially designed as a replacement for meat & is made from processed soy beans. Sold in dry chunks or ground, so needs to be rehydrated with boiling water/stock.
  • Soy sauce is fermented 6mths to 3yrs crushed soy beans+salt+h2o+yeast based culture. It is called naturally brewed/fermented. Some are chemically prepared to speed up the fermentation. There are 2basic types, light & dark. Light soy sauce is saltier & slightly thinner, used in dressings, soups, & as a condiment. Dark soy sauce is heavier, sweeter, used in marinades, stir-fries & sauces. Once opened, store in friz.
  • Shoyu is Japanese soy sauce, quite salty with strong colour, aged for up to 2yrs to produce a mellow sauce that can be used as a sushi dip.
  • Tamari is soy sauce, made without wheat, is a by-product of miso production. It has a rich, robust flavor.
  • Miso is thick paste made from fermented cooked soy beans+rice+wheat/barley+salt+h20 for up to 3yrs. There are 3strengths: white miso is the lightest & sweetest. Medium miso, preferred for the everyday use, is mellow. Dark miso has a thick texture & a strong flavour. Keep open miso in friz.

Add a comment October 5, 2009

Sprouts

  1. Considered “wonder foods” & powerhouses of nutritional goodness & life energy.
  2. Grow in any climate, rival meat in nutritional value, mature in 3 to 5 days, requires neither soil or sunshine, & can be eaten raw!
  3. In the process of sprouting, the vitamins, minerals & protein increase dramatically with corresponding decrease in calories & carbohydrates.
  4. Many carbohydrate molecules are broken down during sprouting to allow an absorption of atmospheric N2 & reforming into amino-acids. The resultant protein is the most easily digestible of all proteins, as food predigested by enzymes.
  5. During sprouting, the beans lose their objectionable gas producing quality.
  6. Contain a lot of fiber & h20, thus are very helpful in overcoming constipation.
  7. Safest & best way of getting the advantage of both fruits & vegetables without harmful insecticides.
  8. Ensure that seeds & dried beans are fresh & unsprayed & packaged as food. Old beans don’t sprout.
  9. Seeds packaged for planting purposes may contain mercury compounds or other toxic chemicals.
  10. Main factors for germination are water, air, heat & darkness.
  11. Wash 1c beans thoroughly & soak o.night in 5c warm water. Next day, drain, place the beans in a colander. Place the colander in a big bowl & place a lid over it. This ensures airflow in the soaked beans & prevents rotting. Rinse the soaked beans with h20 twice a day for the next 2 days. The seeds will germinate & sprout in 2-3 days depending on the temperature & humidity.
  12. Will keep in friz for up to 6wks, but freshes is better.
  13. Freezes well, so freeze in large qty’s & use in soups, stir-fry’s, dals, vegetable or fried rice.
  14. Grains that can be sprouted: Wheat, maize, ragi, barley.
  15. Seeds that can be sprouted: Alfalfa, radish, fenugreek, carrot, coriander, pumpkin, muskmelon.
  16. Legumes that can be sprouted: Mung, bengal gram, groundnut, peas.

Add a comment October 3, 2009

Calcium

  1. Calcium accounts for approximately 1.5% of total body weight.
  2. Bones & teeth house 99% of the calcium in the body, while the remaining 1% is distributed in other areas.
  3. In a process known as bone mineralization, calcium & phosphorus join to form calcium phosphate, which gives structure & strength to bones.
  4. Calcium may prevent/treat cataracts, colon cancer, high BP, kidney stones, osteoporosis, premenstrual syndrome, pregnancy induced hypertension & preeclampsia.
  5. Calcium in food and supplements decreases the absorption of heme and nonheme iron.
  6. Magnesium & calcium compete with each other for intestinal absorption. Consequently, calcium supplements shdn’t be taken at the same time as magnesium supplements.
  7. Excessive intakes of calcium (more than 3,000 mg per day) may result in elevated blood calcium levels, a condition known as hypercalcemia. If blood levels of phosphorus are low at the same time, it can lead to soft tissue calcification(unwanted accumulation of calcium in cells other than bone).
  8. The amount of calcium in foods is not adversely impacted by cooking or long-term storage.
  9. Hypochlorhydria, a condition characterized by insufficient secretion of stomach acid, affects many people, especially in the elderly. Lack of stomach acid impairs the absorption of calcium.
  10. Vitamin D accelerates the absorption of calcium from the gastrointestinal tract.   Adequate intake of vitamin D is necessary for the absorption & utilization of calcium. As a result, vitamin D deficiency, or impaired conversion of the inactive to the active form of vitamin D (which takes place in the liver & kidneys), may also lead to a poor calcium status.
  11. High consumption of potassium reduces the urinary excretion of calcium while high intakes of sodium, caffeine, or protein cause an increase in the urinary excretion of calcium.
  12. Certain types of fiber, like the one found in wheat & oat bran, may interfere with calcium absorption by decreasing transit time, limiting the amount of time during digestion for calcium to be absorbed. Dietary fiber also stimulates the proliferation of “friendly” bacteria in the gut, which bind calcium and make it less available for absorption.
  13. Oxalic acid, found in spinach, beets, celery, pecans, peanuts, tea and cocoa, can bind to calcium and form an insoluble complex that is excreted in the feces. While research studies confirm the ability of phytic acid and oxalic acid in foods to lower availability of calcium, the decrease in available calcium is relatively small.
  14. Phytic acid, found in whole grains, nuts, and legumes, can bind to calcium to form and insoluble complex, thereby decreasing the absorption of calcium.
  15. Insufficient calcium intake, poor calcium absorption, and/or excessive calcium losses through the urine & feces can cause calcium deficiency.
  16. In children, calcium deficiency can cause improper bone mineralization, which leads to rickets, a condition characterized by bone deformities & growth retardation.
  17. In adults, calcium deficiency may result in osteomalacia, or “softening of the bone”.
  18. Calcium deficiency, along with other contributing factors, can also result in osteoporosis.
  19. Low levels of calcium in the blood (especially one particular form of calcium, called free ionized calcium) may cause a condition called tetany, in which nerve activity becomes excessive. Symptoms of tetany include muscle pain and spasms, as well as tingling and/or numbness in the hands and feet.
  20. The corticosteroids (like hydrocortisone, prednisone) are a family of anti-inflammatory drugs that reduce the body’s ability to activate vitamin D, resulting in decreased calcium absorption & increased calcium excretion in the urine.
  21. Aluminum-containing antacids, may increase the urinary & stool loss of calcium.
  22. Thyroid hormones may increase urinary excretion of calcium.
  23. Anticonvulsant medications used to control seizure activity in people with epilepsy & brain cancer, decrease the activity of vitamin D, resulting in decreased calcium absorption.
  24. Certain antibiotics may interfere with calcium absorption.
  25. Hormone replacement therapy may decrease calcium excretion & increase calcium absorption in postmenopausal women.
  26. Alendronate (Fosamax (TM)) is used in the treatment & prevention of osteoporosis. Calcium supplements may interfere with alendronate absorption. Since most people who take alendronate also take calcium supplements, it is advisable to take the alendronate at least 2hrs before or after taking the calcium supplement.
  27. Calcium from antacids, dairy products, & supplements can decrease the absorption of tetracycline antibiotics, thereby reducing the effectiveness of these drugs.
  28. Calcium supplements fall into 3categories. 1) naturally derived i.e unrefined calcium carbonate that appears as bone meal, oyster shell, limestone & dolomite(clay) are less expensive but may contain toxic material called lead, 2) refined calcium carbonate, which is most commonly used, is inexpensive but less well absorbed than other forms, 3) chelated is calcium bound to an organic acid(like citrate, malate, lactate, or gluconate) or to an amino acid, such as aspartate.
  29. To improve absorption, calcium carbonate should be taken with meals, as the presence of food in the stomach causes the secretion of hydrochloric (stomach) acid, a compound that breaks down calcium carbonate.
  30. Calcium recommendations are as follows:
  • 0-6 months: 210 mg
  • 6-12 months: 270 mg
  • 1-3 years: 500 mg
  • 4-8 years: 800 mg
  • 9-13 years: 1300 mg
  • 14-18 years: 1300 mg
  • 19-30 years: 1000 mg
  • 31-50 years: 1000 mg
  • 51+ years: 1200 mg
  • Postmenopausal women not taking hormone replacement therapy: 1500 mg
  • Pregnant and lactating women (younger than 18 years): 1300 mg
  • Pregnant and lactating women (older than 18 years): 1000 mg

Add a comment September 25, 2009

Vitamins & minerals

  1. Found in foods we eat.
  2. Helps body grow, develop & stay healthy.
  3. Each one has a special role to play.
  4. Our body can’t make them, so we need to provide them through different foods b’cos different foods contain different vitamins & minerals.
  5. When people don’t get enough of these, they can have health problems.

Vitamins: 2types.

  • Fat soluble vitamins: Vitamins A, D, E, K are fat-soluble vitamins.  When we eat foods that contain fat-soluble vitamins, the vitamins are stored in the fat tissues & in liver from few days to 6months until body needs them. Then special carriers take them to where they are needed.
  • Water-soluble vitamins: Vitamins B & C are water-soluble vitamins. They are different & don’t get stored in body. Instead, they travel through bloodstream & whatever body doesn’t use comes out through urine.  So these need to be replaced often.
  1. Vitamin A: It plays a really big part in eyesight, especially night vision. It also helps you grow properly & aids in healthy skin. Found in milk fortified with vit A, orange fruits & vegetables(carrot, cantaloupe, sweet potato), dark greens(kale, spinach, collards), liver.
  2. Vitamin B: It’s a big group of— B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), niacin, B6 (pyridoxine), folic acid, B12 (cobalamine), biotin, pantothenic acid. They are imp in metabolic activity i.e help make energy & set it free when body needs it. They are involved in making RBC, which carry O2 throughout body. Since every part of our body needs O2 to work properly, B vitamins are very imp. Found in whole grains (wheat, oats), animal food (fish, seafood, poultry, meats, eggs, milk, yogurt), leafy greens, beans, peas.
  3. Vitamin C: Important for keeping body tissues, such as gums & muscles in good shape, helps to heal wounds or cuts, helps body resist infection, i.e makes it a little harder for body to become infected with an illness. Found in citrus fruits(lime, lemon, orange), strawberry, kiwi, tomato, broccoli, cabbage, sweet red peppers, cantaloupe.
  4. Vitamin D: Is needed for strong bones & teeth. It helps body absorb the amount of calcium it needs. Found in milk fortified with vitamin D, fish, egg yolks, liver, fortified cereal. You can also get this from Sun.
  5. Vitamin E: This hard-working vitamin maintains a lot of our body’s tissues, like the ones in our eyes, skin, & liver. It protects lungs from becoming damaged by polluted air & is important for the formation of RBC. Found in whole grains(wheat & oats), wheat germ, leafy green vegetables(like broccoli), sardines, egg yolks, nuts & seeds.
  6. Vitamin K: is the clot master. This is when certain cells in blood act like glue & stick together at the surface of the cut to help stop the bleeding. Found in leafy greens(broccoli), dairy products(milk, yogurt), soybean oil.

Minerals: Body needs these to perform many different functions, like building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Some are even used to make hormones or maintain a normal heartbeat. 2types.

  • Macro: Macro means “large” in Greek. Body needs larger amounts of these than trace minerals. It includes calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, & sulfur.
  • Trace: Body needs just a tiny bit of each of these. Scientists aren’t even sure how much of these minerals are needed each day. It includes iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride, & selenium.
  1. Calcium: It helps build strong bones & teeth, supports proper functioning of nerves & muscles, helps blood clot. Excellent sources of calcium include boiled spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, & collard greens. Good sources are dairy(low-fat curd, goat’s & cow’s milk, mozzarella cheese), sesame seeds, black-strap molasses. Also found in canned salmon & sardines with bones, leafy green vegetables (like broccoli) & in calcium-fortified foods — from orange juice to cereals & crackers.
  2. Magnesium: It relaxes nerves & muscles, builds & strengthens bones, keeps blood circulating smoothly.  Muscle-weakness, tremor, or spasm, Heart-arrhythmia, irregular contraction, or increased heart rate,  Softening & weakening of bone, Imbalanced blood sugar levels, Headaches, Elevated BP may indicate the need for more magnesium. Avoid overcooking to minimize loss of magnesium. Excellent sources in order are raw pumpkin seeds, boiled swiss chard & spinach, cooked soybeans, salmon, raw sun flower seeds, sesame seeds, halibut baked/broiled, black beans & navy beans cooked.
  3. Iron: Body needs iron to transport O2 from lungs to the rest of body. Iron is imp in the formation of hemoglobin, which is the part of our RBC that carries O2 throughout the body. Found in meat, especially red meat(like beef), tuna & salmon, eggs, beans, baked potato with skins, dried fruits(like raisins), leafy green vegetables(like broccoli), whole & enriched grains(like wheat, oats).
  4. Potassium: It keeps muscles & nervous system working properly. Blood & body tissues(like muscles) contain water & potassium helps make sure the amount of water is just right. Found in bananas, tomatoes, potatoes with skins, leafy green vegetables(like broccoli).
  5. Zinc: It helps immune system, which is our body’s system for fighting off illnesses & infections. It also helps with cell growth & helps heal wounds & cuts. Found in protein foods–like beef, pork, lamb, legumes(like beans, peas, lentils), peanuts.

Add a comment September 25, 2009

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