Nutritious Memories

A slice of nutrition, food, photos, music, life and unforgettable memories


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Nutrition promotion @ home

This week, I was down with the flu which kept me at home this week. Nonetheless, this did not stop me from having nutrition promotion at home.

So far, I have been trying a new  vegetable that I haven’t been using very much which were:

  • Brussel sprout– Roasted Brussel sprouts with garlic and rosemary
  • Butternut pumpkin– Roasted vegetables
  • Cauliflower– Beef curry with mixed vegetables.
  • Dutch Carrots – Roasted dutch carrots with horse radish dip

Dutch carrots

The results were a major hit, NO LEFTOVERS for every meal.

I was happy to hear from my dad that his health has improved when he went to Dr. Boltin (family Doctor). He also mentioned that he has much more energy than usual and has learnt a few recipes that he has been making by himself and has expanded his food choice  and still enjoys a nice hot chocolate muffin :).

One thing that I have been noticing is that when its my turn to prepare lunch or dinner is that  almost at least one person asks me what am I making. What I didn’t realize is that when I explain a bout a certain food, my family becomes more interested in that food and they become more keen in how they can also apply these principles in making their foods. Yesterday my  younger brother (Bunmi) helped me make beef curry. He learnt how the vegetables are cut, and when to add each recipe to the curry. To my surprise ate all  4 vegetables ( for a teenager, that is what you call a miracle).  Maybe he enjoyed the conversation while preparing lunch, or the fact that this curry had beef this time around, who knows.

corn

When it comes to food preparation, but I love it, it gives me a chance to work, catch up on conversations with my family. For me personally, that’s what makes food prep in the kitchen even better. At the end of the day, I try to incorporate a new fruit, vegetable or food in my diet which  is another part of enjoying  optimal nutrition and more importantly, enjoying what you eat :).

Next weeks new foods:

  • Parsnip – Pasta 
  • Green beans- Stir fry or roasted
  • Witlof – ??

Question

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Nutrition Promotion

It was about 2 years ago since my dad had a stroke while driving and was admitted to Alfred Hospital. The chances of him living very slim and we thought that we were going to lose him (this seriously needs another post to talk about this story). Glory be to God, he was fine, but needed to take lots of rest and the stroke did affect him to some degree. Our GP has told him that his blood pressure is very high, therefore, he still needs to be careful of what he eats. But the thing is our family (I think on my dad’s side has had a history of high blood pressure =| ).

Tomatoes

I was very happy to hear when my dad told me that he is serious about taking the initiative to live a healthy lifestyle. I felt like I was on top of the world.

Dad

So we decided to go to Victoria Market to buy our fresh produce. We were walking around different stores. The first thing a friend recommended for my dad to include in his diet was kale, which I agree 100%.  So we bought three bunches of kale . While we bought our produce, he asked so many questions such as “what is this?”, “how can something with this fruit? ” What health benefits does it provide? To be honest, I was quite happy answering all the questions, because I was teaching the different nutrients that the fruits and vegetables consists of and how it can help nourish the body. I started to teach him how and where and how to buy  fresh produce and taught him how to prepare certain meals from the food that we bought. This sentence kept resounding in my mind

I love nutrition promotion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

yummy nectarines

In Nigeria, there’s a saying which goes like this,

Charity begins at home.

Orange

In the future, Right now, I am really keen in providing nutrition counselling and teaching people culinary skills, which can used to suit each persons  cultural and personal food preferences. In order for me to do this, I need to start helping improve the nutrition and health with my family. While teaching my dad about these simple skills helped improved his eating style and his health. By replacing the mother energy drink (which he drinks ONLY because its sweets), he swiped around a quarter of the amount of sugar that is recommended for adults to consume. As a result,  I believe that is a good start rather than eliminating all added sugar, which would be more tedious .

Radish

Because he has developed these skills, he is able to choose healthier choices more often, and I still find OK when occasionally indulges in a sweet treat, because healthy eating does include eating the things you love as well in moderation. this is also influenced my younger brother as he looks what my dad is eating. Overall nutrition promotion has brought my family closer and has improved my dads nutrition by taking small steps rather than changing his whole diet completely.

I  decided to take an online unit on nutrition promotion via Couersa (thanks Ashely for introducing me to this website) as I am keen on expanding my knowledge in this field and applying this to a culinary perspective. Surprisingly there are a lot of programs in Melbourne dedicated to nutrition promotion. this year, I’m interested in participating in the cooking demonstration for Nutrition Australia. I very excited about this because it also enables me to get to know the community.

asparagus

I won’t lie, sometimes I do get a bit frustrated when I’m watching a Korean drama ( Yes I love Korean drama) , and I have to stop the drama about seven times, to show my dad how to cut and de-seed a pomegranate, julienne a carrot etc. But at the same time, I remind myself, that I am also learning new skills for the future as well.

Egg plant


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Going Green: The Basics of making a salad

Greens and dark green leafy vegetables can be used in sandwiches, salads, as a side dish or even as a main meal. Despite their versatility, some people may have a somewhat aversion to the greens, or may find it challenging to incorporate these greeny leafy vegetables in their meals. Most answers that I usually hear are:

1.  I have the SAME tossed salad every time, so I don’t see the need to have it all the time.

2. I prefer food with more exotic flavors.

3. I’m not too sure how to prepare a salad that looks and tastes delicious.


Firstly I’d like to say that I have experienced all of the three categories that I mentioned above . However I also would like to point out that there are some alternatives  and ideas that you maybe overlooking, which may help make a salad a bit more interesting to eat.  First I am going to start with an analogy.  Cracking an egg and eating it raw does not sound too pleasant or tasty (Well at least in my case). Instead the egg can undergo different cooking procedures and with the right ingredients to make  scrambled eggs, poached eggs, french toast, or even omelette stuffed with your choice, which overall results in a fabulous meal. If you get this concept I’d like to use to this method with green leafy vegetables. A bowl of lettuce, with tomatoes and cucumber, really does not really sound pleasing to many people. People are aware and know that they are nutritious, but something still seems to be missing  . What I am trying to illustrate is that adding other ingredients (which I will discuss in this post) does helps make a difference. Before moving on  I would like to briefly discuss the common types of leafy green, where to find them, and their nutritional values.

Types of Leafy Greens

Cos & Baby cos hearts

Cos lettuce have long green leaves, which consists of a of a white rib, which runs along the center of the lettuce.  Cos lettuce leaves has a crisp and crunchy texture, along with a subtle sweet flavour.  As for Baby cos lettuce, they have a delicate flavor. These are generally available all year round. Cos lettuce is a suitable  leafy green to use in Caesars salads.

Iceberg

This is the most common and popular variety of lettuce, that most people would have comes across. Used in pretty everything from sandwiches to coleslaw.

Baby Spinach

Are soft tender in texture. They have a clean and mild flavor. They are perfect in sandwiches, salads, soups and pastas.

See: Different type of leafy greens for different types of  green leafy vegetables.

Nutritional Profile

Although the nutrition may differ in each leafy greens, generally they provide a good source of Vitamin B groups riboflavin, thiamine, niacin and B6 , C, E and K. As for minerals leafy greens are a good source of  folate, potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium and are also rich in antioxidants such as Beta- Carotene.

The iron in leafy greens is a non-heme iron from. The absorption of this form of iron is not as efficient as heme iron (which can found in meat, poultry and fish). To overcome this, drinking fruit juices rich in vitamin C does help increase the absorption of iron by converting  the non- heme iron into heme iron from, which can be readily absorbed thought the small intestine. This turns out be great (especially if you enjoy juice). But why not use it as an opportunity to add another serving of vegetables, as vegetables are also rich in vitamin C.  You’ll also receive a bonus of adding more antioxidants and nutrients that are so good for you.

The Basics of making a salad

If you feel like you don’t have the cooking skills or knowledge do not worry. Almost all salads preparations are suitable for even those who are beginners in the kitchen. Here are a few suggestions, which will help you enable to create a delicious salad.

1.Visit your local supermarket/ fruit or vegetable shop/ farmer’s market.

They usually have small brochures with description of leafy greens and how to use them. If in doubt the people work in the fresh food section would be more than happy to assist.

2. Try adding fruit to salad

Strawberries, grapes, and nectarines are good choices, especially mangoes .This can be your chance to experiment since mangoes are in season now. A mango salad mixed with leafy greens, baby spinach leaves, cucumber along with a light lime dressing is quite refreshing and delicious. (I’ll post a link for a few recipes under the resources section).

3. Try adding nuts 

Most people would probably say  that they are a bit high in fat (stay clear from the fats!!!). Yes that true nuts are quite energy dense. However the types of fats found in nuts are considered to be the  healthy fats, which I have mentioned in a previous post 101 on dietary fats .  Many studies show that consuming nuts a few times a week helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but here’s the important point, portion control is crucial, the Heart Foundation suggests a  small handful (around 30 grams) of nuts. Nuts are also a great source of protein (suitable for vegetarians), fiber, minerals and also have antioxidants (Yes I know I’m always talking about the antioxidants, but you’ll get more benefits if you get antixodiants from various kinds of foods).

Try making your own dressing.

It’s very easy and interesting to make and is convenient, as you are in control of how much dressing you want to make. This is where exotic and unique flavors comes into play, as different cuisines (from the Mediterranean to Asians salads) have different ways creating  dressing and vinaigrette’s. Ever since I learned how to make different types of vinaigrette’s I can’t go back to the ones in the stores. It’s not that there all bad. Sometimes I think some dressings are a bit salty or overpowering. I believe it’s a manner of personal preference, just make sure if you do choose to buy ones in the stores watch for the sodium, especially the ones that are labeled fat-free. ( I’ll post a link that shows how to make a salad dressing, by my favorite nutritionist Nutrition Diva!!!!).

5. Consider adding some herbs.

Fresh herbs smell great and are like the finishing touches in many meals. Dietitian Karen Inges suggests that adding some herbs is an excellent way of boosting daily antioxidant intake and also aids in building the body’s defenses.

6. consider adding another serving of vegetables . Even mushrooms are perfect alternatives, or eggs.

Preparation and Storage

When buying salad greens in the store, try to look for crisp leaves, that have no traces of  discoloration, slime, or wilting. Always wash salad greens before using them to remove unwanted materials. Try to use them within a day or two in order to get the full flavor and freshness.

Hopefully when you feel comfortable in making salad try to incorporate this in most of your meals. I challenge you to try a new leafy green vegetable to make a salad,  instead of  buying pre-packaged salad, try going for the self- serve . The prices usually ranges $15.00 -18.99 kg, however  I usually get enough for 2 cups for 1 meal and it ranges from $.50 to $1.50. I find this cheaper and a great way of mixing other leafy greens. Don’t forget that 1 cup of leafy greens counts as 1 serving of vegetable intake.

Resources

http://www.woolworths.com.au/wps/wcm/connect/website/woolworths/Search+Results/ (Types of leafy greens)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15ueE89dbXM (How to Make the Perfect Salad Dressing )

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/21250/lettuce+avocado+and+mango+salad (Mango Salad)

http://suburbantomato.com/2011/05/lettuce-sing/ ( Kitchen gardening Blog ).

http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/factsheets/Food-Health-and-Nutrition/2UE-salad-greens-growing-tips-and-recipes/6017 ( Recipes: Dressing and Vinaigrette).

http://healthyblenderrecipes.com/recipes/basic_green_vinaigrette_dressing/ ( Recipes: Dressing and Vinaigrette).

http://www.healthyfoodguide.com.au/articles/2005/april/edible-garden-salad-greens ( How to start a small garden).


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Bring on the Bento Box

I have always loved Bento boxes , they way how food is presented in bento boxes (not to mention the food itself).  Furthermore I thought this would be great topic to talk about.

A bento box is a thin box, made of plastic or lacquered wood, divided into compartments which contain small separate delicacies which include the following.

 

 

Rice

Is one of the main staple meals in a Japanese culture and the main source of carbohydrate. This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Folate and Manganese.

Egg

Is rich in protein, and can be a valuable source of protein and vitamin B12 for vegetarians or even chosing a meal without any meat. Egg is also a good source of selenium.

Vegetable.

Provides a vast amount of vitamins, antioxidants and can be a good source of fiber, which can help you feel more fuller. Eat your Vegies :)!!!!!

Seaweed

Are also known as “sea vegetables” which exists in many forms such as nori, arame, kelp or wakame. The nutritional profile may differ for certain nutrients for each seaweed. But I have a link below which provides a detail  nutritional profile for each of the seaweed I listed.  (Thanks Nutrition Diva 🙂 )

See http://nutritiondiva.quickanddirtytips.com/is-seaweed-good-for-you.aspx

Meat : Which include either pork, meat, chicken or fish.

Itadakimasu (“Lets eat”)

Even though the bento box is filled with many different types of vegetables and proteins sources, which can provide a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, there are few factors that should be taken under consideration. Most Bento box dish can be quite high in sodium.  Even in  a healthy diet, it pretty easy to over exceed your daily sodium intake. Unlike in Western societies where processed foods account for 75% or more of the daily sodium intake   Foods that contribute to the high sodium intake include ( salted fish, pickled vegetables, condiments and soy sauce).

Chronic levels of sodium has been shown to increase your blood pressure and lead to hypertension, which may increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke. However that’s not all too much sodium can have negative impacts on calcium levels and can increase the excretion of calcium via the urinary pathway. To compensate for this your body draws the available calcium from your bones, which  can be a risk factor osteoporosis, especially if you are not getting enough calcium in your diet.

  I don’t want to give the impression that sodium is bad, the fact that our bodies cannot create sodium, probably suggests that sodium is essential to our diets. It’s just that  we consume more sodium than whats is needed, which leads to health problems.

Now this does not mean that you should never have these ingredients,  Here are a few suggestions that may help reduce the amount of sodium in a meal.

  • Try to find lower sodium versions of condiments such as soy sauce, or pickled vegetables whenever possible, or better you can reduce the amount.
  • Get enough Potassium. Potassium can be found in range of foods such as ( which are expensive at the moment, however there are other options  such as Leafy green vegetables, vine fruit such as tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant and pumpkin, and root vegetables are particularly good sources of potassium. It is also moderately abundant in beans and peas, tree fruits such as apples, oranges and bananas, milks and yoghurt and meats.

see :http://nutritiondiva.quickanddirtytips.com/sodium-high.aspx (for more ways of reducing sodium)

With the right tactics you can also make your own  healthy bento box. Also I have included  few links which  provides some bento box recipes, nutritional information in regards to bentos.

Resources:

http://www.aibento.net/2009/04/miso-chicken-in-a-gorgeous-bento-box/ (Bento Box blog which includes recipes, tips, ideas and styles of bento box)

http://leightheo.blogspot.com/2011/03/things-i-love-thursday-bento-baby.html (Bento box blog for kids)

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/the-nutrition-of-a-bento-box.html ( Nutritional information for bento box)

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/theappetizer/archive/2008/03/27/bento-box-breakdown-japanese-food-gets-put-to-the-nutrition-test.aspx

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/salt/sodium-china-japan/index.html

http://lunchinabox.net/2007/03/07/guide-to-choosing-the-right-size-bento-box/


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Does an apple still keep the Doctor away?

You may have heard the old saying that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” Well eating a variety of fruit is good for you, and can provide many nutritional and health benefits. But I don’t think this phrase is looking at  the different types of fruit, rather it focuses only on the apple . So what amazing health benefits does the old common apple have?

Apples come in all sort of shapes , size and colours. Apples are quite versatile and considered to be one of the top 5 consumed fruit in Australia . They can be enjoyed eaten cooked or raw, and are also an inexpensive food, that can be found available in supermarkets and fruit stores  all year round. But that’s not all, they can be a great snack as they are very in low in kJ and consists of virtually no fat. Apples are also juicy and that’s because of the water content in apples which makes  up to 80% of the apple.

Nutritional Profile

  • Dietary Fiber: Apples rich in soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommends individuals to have at least 30 grams of fiber day for adults (along with drinking sufficient amount of water), as this helps  reduce the incidence of constipation, diverticulosis, cardiovascular problems and certain types of cancers (Bowel, colon). Also getting enough dietary fiber good for digestive health along with having beneficial bacteria and adequate amounts of water with meals.
  • Low Glycemic Index:  Apples also have a low GI value which can help regulate blood sugar and provide longer lasting energy. Carbohydrate foods with a low GI (glycemic index) release sugar into the bloodstream gradually to provide longer lasting energy. Because apples have a low GI , they provide a sustained source of energy for the body. In general, it is recommended that a low GI food be eaten with every meal.
  • Potassium: The Australian Government recommends individuals to increase the amount of potassium in our diet, as it can help combat high blood pressure, which can lead to other health risks.
  • Vitamin C: Vital for healthy skin and a strong immune system – plus vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant.
  • Essential Minerals:
  • B vitamins: Important for release of energy from food – the B group vitamins are needed in the diet daily.
  • No fat, cholesterol or salt: It is nice to know that although apples have a variety of nutritional benefits, that we never really have to worry about the amount of cholesterol, fat or salt. :

For a more detailed version of the nutritional. profile:http://www.aussieapples.com.au/why-are-apples-healthy /the-apple-report.aspx

A for Antioxidant powerhouses.

Apples are jam-packed with antioxidants some examples of these antioxidants are quercetin, catehin(poly-phenol), and chlorogenic acid, which are all from the family flavanoids. These antioxidants have been suggested to have a much more powerful antioxidant activity than Vitamin C and Vitamin E.  They are what give the colour of many fruit, so many of them would be found in the outer skin.

Quercitin

Most studies  have a found a link to Quercitin and its ability to reduce in the  growth of cancer cells in the lungs, breast, prostate, liver, and colon. One of the studies that I found out suggested that the reduction rate has something to do with apoptosis (Cell Programmed death). As for some cancer cells they find some ways of escaping apoptosis. Apoptosis a quite a complicated process and some of the scientific articles that I have read shows that Quercitin have different ways of preventing the formation of cancer, as they are many factors that play in the regulation of apoptosis.

A For Amazing Antioxidant Capacity.

What really surprised me was the study that was conducted by the choice magazineown. In their study,they compared the antioxidant content of  Acai, mangosteen and noni juice to a red delicious apple.  Overall the results showed that having more apples on a daily basis was a more efficient, economical, and a much easier way of increasing antioxidant intake.  I’ve got a link for the figures and results for this study under the resources section.

see: http://www.aussieapples.com.au/why-are-apples-healthy/ask-our-nutritionist.aspx

It is also important to note that there are also other foods with a higher antioxidant potential such as blueberries, cranberries and red kidney beans. The important factor to consider is the total intake of (polyphenol). Lets face it eating apples everyday may be more easier than red kidney beans which is more challenging.

Getting the Most Out Of Apples

In order to get the most out of an apple it’s best that you do not peel the apple skin as, much of the antioxidants and nutrition is found on the skin Also when it comes to drinking apple juice, yes it does a have a high amount of vitamin c,but then again the fibre content is quite low, as well as the amount of antioxidants in apple juice.  Even 100% Fruit juice is quite high in sugar, so its probably best not to overdo it when it comes to drinking fruit juices, no more than 1 serving, as even too much natural sugars can also undermine your health.

Overall it’s pretty amazing that 1 single apple is capable of offering so many benefit to our well-being. However it is also important to incorporate a healthy and varied diet which includes plenty of plant sources, vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains, as the key to antioxidant intake is variety. I’ve got a few link s below which also shows other health benefits in more details that I did not discuss in this post.

I’d Like to dedicate this post to my friend Sharon who loves apples 🙂

Have a great week everyone and eat an apple for me 🙂

Resources

http://www.rhymes.org.uk/an_apple_a_day.htm (An apple a day poem)

http://www.freshforkids.com.au/fruit_pages/apple/apple.html (Types of apples)

http://www.aussieapples.com.au/why-are-apples-healthy/ask-our-nutritionist.aspx (Health Benefits)

http://bellacucinablog.blogspot.com/2009/01/apples-apples- ( Blog)

http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/info/books-phds/books/fqa-book/index.htm (

http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/10-health-benefits-of-apples.htm

http://www.naturalnews.com/025013.html


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The 101 On dietary fats.

Fats are an important source of energy and nutrients, which are essential in out diet. Sadly in our society many people are consuming too much “unhealthy” fats , which do not provide as much health benefits, and when they are consumed in excess over long periods of time, this will eventually lead to overweight and obesity and other chronic diseases.

It really depends on what type of dietary fat you are consuming, as there are different types of fatty acid, which may have different positive or negative effect in regards to our well-being. Therefore main issue here is the type of fat consumed and quantity, as many Health occupations are trying to point out.

Energy Dense Nutrients

The reasons why we are told to also limit of dietary fat intake is that fat are energy dense nutrients. Dietary fat has more than double the amount of kilojoules per gram (37kJ/g) than carbohydrate or protein (17kJ/g), making it very ‘energy dense’. Foods high in fat are usually high in kilojoules. Some research suggests that saturated fats are more likely to contribute to weight gain (especially around the middle) than polyunsaturated fat and mono-unsaturated fats, even though they do have similar kilojoule content. Many studies and published source have suggested that ~25-30% of our energy should come from fats.

Functions of Dietary Fat

Fats also play an important role in maintaining healthy hair and skin. Healthy cell function ( for cell signalling and membrane construction).In addition having some dietary is necessary because it facilitates the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, as fats act as a vehicle for these groups of vitamins.

Types of Fats

Dietary fat can be classified into four groups these include.

1. Saturated fats

These types of fats are considered to be “unhealthy”. They are likely to be solid at room temperature. They can be found in animal products such as red meats, poultry, processed meats (salami, Frankfurt) and dairy (whole milk and cheese).

Numerous studies show that a high intake of saturated fat is linked to a high level of Low density Lipoprotien (LDL Bad cholesterol) which eventually leads results is cardiovascular disease. They also lower High Density-Lipoprotein ( HDL Good cholesterol) which removes excess cholesterol that are clogged in the arteries.

2. Trans fats

Sources of trans fats include hard margarines and solid cooking fats, that are used in many shop – bought cakes and biscuits. These are also unsaturated but the secret here is that they undergo a process known as hydrogenation which causes them to function similar to saturated fats.

Like saturated fats they also pose as a threat in regards to our health and also they  lower HDL and increase LDL cholesterol. Therefore it is advised that we should avoid these types as much as possible in out diet.

3. Monounsaturated Fats.

Are also known as the “heart healthy fats” sources include: Oils (sesame, peanut, canola), avocado, nuts and seeds.

A large amount of research have shown that monounsaturated fats have shown to lower LDL levels, which reduces the risk of heart disease. but that’s not all. Here are some benefits that not usually discussed.

  • Improves insulin sensitivity: Diets enriched in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA)s have been shown to benefit glycemic control.MUFAs specifically stimulate secretion of the antidiabetic hormone, Glucagon-like peptide- 1 (GLP-.GLP-1 is one of two major incretin hormones that are secreted from the intestinal tract upon nutrient ingestion and that act to increase insulin secretion.
  • Packed with other nutrients: Such as vitamins A, D,E and K, which is important in blood clotting, bone development, and antioxidant properties.

4.Polyunsaturated Fats

These are a healthier form of fats than saturated fats or trans fats. much research has shown the benefits of replacing saturated fat for polyunsaturated fat, examples of polyunsaturateded fats are the omega 3 and omega6 fats, which are considered to be essential yo our diet, since our bodies cannot synthesise these types of fatty acids.

However in our society the omega -6: to omega 3 ratio is somewhat imbalanced. There is an excellent paper actually blog by Nutrition Diva Monica Rinagel a licensed nutrition who provides everything you would need to know in regards to omega 3 and 6, and how to effectively balance the ratio between the two, in order to achieve optimum nutrition and health.

Tips In Reducing both saturated and trans fats.

1. Remove skin of Poultry.

2. Use Non- hydrogenated margarines or use avocado instead of butter.

3. Select lean meat and trim off any excess visible fat.

4. Switch to low-fat dairy milk (people may find this a bit hard as a few people may enjoy milk for its creamines due to the fat content. Milk is fine as long as you drink/ consume milk in moderation.

The main objective is to reduce your saturated and trans fat. However there some foods that we may like that consists of these fats. You can still enjoy these types of foods once in a while. However it is important to note that they should probably not be the staple of our diet or in this may result in health problems which was discussed in this post.

The Next Post will look more into the omega 3 and 6 fats how they are essential in our diet and ways of balancing the ratio of omega 3 and 6.

Useful Resources

http://www.fitfaqs.co.uk/questions/nutrition/is-fat-bad/

http://www.everynutrient.com/essential-fatty-acids.html

http://nutritiondiva.quickanddirtytips.com/fish-oil-and-omega-3-fats.aspx


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Understanding The Relationship of Carbohydrate and Glycemic Index (GI)

What is A Carbohydrate?

A Carbohydrate can be defined as a starch or a sugar. Carbohydrates are essentially broken down into glucose  units during digestion process. Glucose is one of the main source of energy for our bodies. however the amount of carbohydrate foods eaten will have an impact on our blood glucose levels. High carbohydrate consumptions may result in a higher blood glucose levels. Therefore when it comes to meals, carbohydrates should be spread out envely thought the day.

   

What Foods consists of Carbohydrates 

The most common ones are:

Bread, Cereals, legumes, rice, fruit, grains, cakes, pasta, milk, yoghurt, sweets, starchy vegetables.

What is the Glycemic Index (GI)?

The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly carbohydrates are broken down and released into the blood.

High GI vs Low GI

High GI foods are digested and absorbed quickly. This causes higher blood  glucose levels.  On the other hand Low GI foods are digested and absorbed more slowly. This causes small rises in blood glucose levels. low GI foods increase satiety and delay the return of hunger. A low GI has also been shown to prevent the development of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, coronary heart disease and cancer.

Applying the GI

1. Include at least one low GI food at each meal.

2. When you are eating a high GI , combine it with a low GI food. This will help  lower the overall GI of the meal :). Also fat and protein does not really have much effect when it comes to blood glucose, so it is important to include  dietary fat and protein with any carbohydrate meal.

3. Be careful of the quantity of carbohydrate you eat if its is a low GI. If you eat too much of a low GI food, it will also  increase your blood glucose levels.

The table below, which is derived from The new glucose Revolution – The low GI shopper’s guide to GI values shows us some examples foods that are caterogized based on the GI, which will help us apply these principles to our everyday meal plans/choices.

Breakfast cereals

Low(Best Choices) Medium High Serve (15g Carbohydrate)
  • All Bran
  • Guardian
  • Sustain
  • Porridge
  • Natural Muesli
  • Linseed
  • Weet-bix
  • Vitabrits
  • Special K
  • Just Right
  • Wise for bowels
  • Sultana Bran
  • Instant Porridge
  • Coco Pops
  • Corn flakes
  • Rice Bubbles
  • 1/3- ¾ cup
  • 1.5 Weet-bix

Rice, pasta and Noodles

Low(Best Choices) Medium High Serve size
  • Pasta (all varieties)
  • Semolina
  • Soba Noodles
  • 2 minutes noodles
  • Basmati rice
  • Doongara rice
  • Arborio rice
  • Moolgiri rice
  • Gnocchi
  • Udon noodles
  • Rice noodles
  • Plain popcorn
  • White rice
  • Brown rice
  • Jasmine rice
  • Pasta = ½ cup cooked
  • Rice/noodles = 1/3 cup cooked.

Vegetables ( most of the vegetables are low in carbohydrates and will have little effect on blood glucose levels.  (Aim for 5  servings of vegetables)

Low(Best Choices) Medium High Serve size
  • Legumes, (lentils, baked beans, Chickpeas, kidney beans)
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potato
  • Sweet corn
  • Pumpkin
  • Carisma
  • white potato
  • Beetroot
  • Board beans.
  • White potato
  • Swede.
  • ½ cup – 1 cup of legumes
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 medium corn cob
  • 1/2 cooked vegetables
  • 1 cup salad vegetables

Fruit (Aim for 2  servings of fruit)

Low(Best Choices) Medium High Serve size
  • Apple
  • Berries
  • Orange
  • Peaches
  • Pear
  • Plums
  • Grape
  • Nectarines
  • Kiwi fruit,
  • firm banana
  • Mango.
  • Rock melon
  • Pineapple
  • Apricot
  • Cherries
  • Mixed dry fruit
  • Watermelon
  • Dried dates
  • 1 medium piece
  • 1 cup grapes/cherries.

It is crucial that we monitor our blood glucose levels as it is also another  factor that determines your appetite and even weight management.  If your blood glucose levels drop low, you eventually start to feel hungry. So when you ingest carbohydrates and begin the breakdown and absorption process via into the blood stream, your blood sugar levels increase. Our bodies produce a hormone known as insulin which help uptake the glucose into our cells, which is then eventually used to produce energy.


 

The problem with blood glucose level can be when a person has meals which consists of too much sugar. Because of the high consumption of sugar the blood glucose will increase rapidly. Eventually the body will not be able to take in all of the glucose as there is only certain amount of insulin that can uptake glucose. As a result glucose will then be converted into glycogen ( a storage form ,where gluose can be kept in both muscle and liver).

Soon the glycogen store will be unable to uptake any glucose , which leads the body system to convert the excess glucose into fat (since our bodies can store higher proptions of fat) , which results in weight gain. if no changes are made in reducing the blood glucose over a long period of time, this could lead to the development of type II diabetes.

Blood glucose and the GI

As I previously mentioned when your blood glucose is low, you may feel hungry. However if you only indulge in a meal, that primarily  fast-energy- relaseing fuels such as sweets or high GI foods as shown in the table, this will results rapid increase in blood glucose. After a while your blood glucose levels will drop substainially. Overally this results in a repeative yo-yo cycle, which makes it difficult to regulate blood glucose sugar levels. This is why again if the we apply the 2nd principle (including a low GI food in our will help control the blood glucose levels). 🙂