Firstly, we would like to take this opportunity to wish a happy new year to everyone from all here at Benefits of Eating, let’s make 2013 a great year! We hope that your new year’s resolution will be to follow our simple guides to eat a healthy and more balanced diet. We also hope that you will gain a little something from our newly designed nutrition tables which are meant to inform our readers in a simple way about the contents of various different foods and offer an alternative to traditional formats.
Highlights of 2012
Whilst the world is rightly waking up to the many nutritional benefits of a vegetarian diet, there is definitely still a place for good old fashioned red meat. As well as being jam packed with goodness like iron and phosphorus, they are a rich source of protein and a plethora of other vitamins and minerals. Check out the whole article and judge for yourself whether or not you want to continue with your current eating habits.
Read about the Benefits of Eating Meat.
2012 was certainly the year of the Beetroot. This wonderful vegetable just kept cropping up in everything from cakes to curries. No recipe was complete in 2012 without the addition of the purple delight that is the is the trademark of this root vegetable. Benefiting from a great deal of nitrates and various ingredients which help maintain blood pressure this is by no means a bad fashion trend. We hope that 2013 is even more successful for the beetroot!
Read about the Benefits of Eating Beetroot.
Cashew nuts are enjoyed in most part of the world but are often sweetened by coating them with sugar or chocolate. Natural nuts which have not been treated can be equally as enjoyable. Read all about their health benefits in the complete article. It features a few great comments regarding cholesterol and it’s positive and negative effects on the body. Nuts are a great way to enjoy a quick snack without resorting to fast foods.
Read about the Benefits of Eating Cashew Nuts.
2013 will be an exciting year packed with posts about the benefits of foods which are relevant to you. We genuinely feel that learning about what we are eating is a valuable part of life and something which can people rarely regret researching.
This term is practically a composition of two words – nutrition and pharmaceutical. Nutraceuticals are foods which provide medical benefits (scientifically proven) in order to fight and prevent chronic diseases. The products considered to be nutraceuticals are all fortified foods, dietary supplements and specific diets. For example, Omega3 pills are nutraceutical as they contain an isolated nutrient which is derived from a food source, in this case cod liver.
These products are usually in the pill or powder form and are a useful tool used to treat nutrient deficiencies. However, there are many claimed benefits of supplements related to the general improvement of life. We have all taken some ‘vitamins’ at some point of our lives but usually they are most needed during childhood and the later years of life.
In childhood – the body is developing very rapidly and consumes a lot of energy and nutrients especially essential for bone strength and brain development.
With age tissues of the body start to degrade thus putting us on risk to become ill in many different ways. The repair processes in the body after injuries are much slower therefore a proper nutrition is vital during this stage of life.
At high risks to be deficient in nutrients are people with allergies, certain eating habits like vegans, people with lower income, after-surgery and eating-disorder patients. In the Western World this is somehow a less common problem because there is variety of foods available containing the same nutrient base.
Nutraceutical industry is less regulated than pharmaceutical it means that there are less clinical trials needed and scientific evidence therefore in order to bring a new product on a market is easy. Supplements are freely available to buy in any pharmacy without a receipt.
From the nutritionist point of view dietary supplements are not the ideal way to provide yourself with essential nutrients. If a patient needs an urgent dose of nutrient for short period of time it is acceptable to use pills. However along with supplementation the dose should be reduced but the natural source-food increased.
We all have heard about side-effects of drugs. What about dietary supplements? Side effects are usually consequence of over-dosing and pro-longed use. Unlike in pharmacology dietary supplements ‘escape’ the crucial 10 year development processes which involve complete research including more or less long-term effect research. The side-effects or adverse effects of nutritional supplements are at the same scale as the one of drugs. Nutrients to be exact are strongly involved in the body mechanism mainly as coenzymes and the body’s building material. Can’t too much of it be dangerous? Indeed it can. From mild effects like constipation to severe toxicity and liver failure they are in many ways similar to the harm of drug overuse.
How to choose and use dietary supplements?
Best way is to consult with someone who knows exactly about your problem and can actually do calculations of how much of a nutrient you need daily and advice the best product depending on your individual needs. Don’t rely on magazines, a shop assistant’s knowledge or your friend. Pay a visit to dietician or exercise physiologist if you are an athlete.
Choose the product carefully if you are doing it on your own. There are many people who have a bad experience with supplements therefore much information on internet available about ‘bad’ products. Try to investigate the clinical relevance of the claimed benefits of the supplement. Even if sometimes stated – clinically proven – it doesn’t mean that the substance has been researched for long-term effects etc. Read reviews in independent and objective sources. My advice – research which foods are rich in the particular nutrient and try to introduce them in your diet.
On the packaging almost definitely it should show exact amount of substance in it. Usually the amount is approximately the same as daily allowance or requirement and sometimes even higher. However not 100% of the supplement will actually be absorbed (that’s one of the big minuses) therefore just one capsule might not exceed your requirements.
Remember that what you eat might also contain the same nutrient you are supplementing so be careful to not exceed as it adds up.
If an expert told you to take one capsule a day – than take just one. Supplements are similar to drugs – too much of it can cause totally opposite effects of what you wanted.
Take the supplement for the exact period an expert advised you to and not longer. However if you experience adverse effects before reaching the end of that time, consult with a specialist immediately.
This part of nutraceutical industry works with adding essential minerals and vitamins to foods. Enrichment however is adding the micronutrients to foods which would be otherwise lost during processing. Fortification of foods is associated also with the term – functional foods. These would be products which contain micronutrients which in naturally would not be otherwise found in them thus a new function or benefit is introduced.
Here are some commonly fortified foodstuffs which have been proven to be very helpful in the fight against common deficiencies:
Iodine deficiency is the greatest threat for mental and the endocrine health. In the regions of higher relief there are greater risks to become deficient as the soil does not contain appropriate amounts of Iodine which would then be absorbed by plants and animals. Naturally rich in Iodine is certain seafood and sea kelp.
Folic acid addition to flour
Especially advised for mothers -to be folic acid is crucial component in reactions of cell growth and division. Also known as B9 deficiency can cause anaemia and neural tube effects in developing embryo. Bread fortified with folic acid is becoming more and more popular. Natural sources of B9 are leafy vegetables (spinach, asparagus), eggs, liver and legumes.
Niacin in bread
Pellagra is a consequence of niacin deficiency. People at risk might also be alcoholics, HIV patients and cancer sufferers. Most common symptoms are dermatitis, diarrhoea and dementia. Rich in niacin or B3 are liver, tofu, dates, tomatoes and many other foods.
Vitamin D in dairy
This vitamin is commonly added to dairy products and oils in order to prevent Rickets. This is very important micronutrient for children, elderly and people who generally have little sun exposure. However you can also find it in salmon, mushrooms, eggs and beef liver.
Vitafoods Europe 2012
There are some issues concerning the nutraceutical industry especcialy with the international standards. This year from 22nd to 24th of May in the Vitafoods event held in Geneva where people within the industry could discuss issues and see the novel products. Alongside with revealing recent researches on different nutrients in foods the health claim problem was discussed. Importance of clinical trials seems very crucial in order to support any benefits of nutraceutical products. To explore more please visit Vitafoods 2012.
Pregnancy is probably the most important period in our lives in terms of what we eat. It is when our cells are dividing with unbelievable speed, brand new tissues and organs are developing rapidly. This explosive process requires a lot of different nutrients and energy to ensure a healthy development of a new human being. Where else are the nutrients going to come from if not the mother’s body. The female body is able to adapt to the process of pregnancy by increasing the uptake of Iron and turnover of bones for Calcium. So, even without having a very healthy diet the baby will be able to receive most of needed nutrients from the existing diet. The placenta even protects against very bad habits like smoking, alcohol consumption and poor activity levels. Even this is a very energy requiring process, the advised calorie intake is just slightly larger than normal average females with the exception of underweight and very physically active individuals. Weight gain during pregnancy is a seemingly normal process with an expectancy of on average + 12kg but less in overweight women. There is a great risk for both undernourished and overweight mothers during pregnancy. Lack of weight-gain might lead to low birth weight which is the major killer of babies on the other hand excess weight might lead to a still birth or complicate the birth (i.e. Need for performing caesarean, more anaesthetics required). Other popular worries are related to some food which might harm the baby; however there are many products which might help to decrease risks of complications during pregnancy.
As mentioned already, energy requirements for pregnant women are almost the same as usual but the needed values of some nutrients might increase.
Protein although very essential mostly is being provided by the Western diet anyway thus 6-10g of extra protein might be unnecessary. It would be beneficial to avoid protein sources which are also rich in cholesterol to help maintain a good health. Alternatives to meat could be pulse origin foods like tofu (see benefits of eating tofu).
Folates are both very important prior and during pregnancy and are advised to have increased dietary intake most from all nutrients. As discussed in our benefits of eating bananas article, folates prevent blastic anaemia, neutral tube defects and increase plasma homocystene. Some other food rich in these are peanuts, liver, eggs, beans and leafy vegetables.
Calcium which is the major mineral in bone production has been proved recently to have a sufficient availability in the mother’s body. If the mother does not suffer from Calcium deficiency already, increased intake is not necessarily. More Calcium in diet is rather a general health advice which applies to the majority of population not just pregnant women. More on Calcium can be found in articles about the benefits of eating cheese and benefits of eating dairy.
Iron requirements increase during the pregnancy. Lack of iron is associated with anaemia and perinatal mortality. On other hand supplementation of iron again might not be necessary for the same reason why we don’t need more protein. Benefits of eating chia seeds include the high content of Iron which is much needed if the mother has low haemoglobin levels.
Zinc is another metal which if deficient in the body might cause retardation of the new-born. This is due to the Zincs role in DNA synthesis in cells. Not just lack of Zinc from dietary sources might cause preterm delivery and fetus abnormalities but also increased supplementation of Iron and Calcium as they limit Zinc’s absorption. It has been concluded that Zinc should come from food, for example liver.
Iodine like other metals also doesn’t show deficiency in developed countries. Lack of it though causes cretinism with general mental and physiological retardation. The most common sources of Iodine are dairy products and iodized salt.
Lack of Vitamin A in developing countries causes weak immunity, death from measles, general increases morbidity and high AIDS mother-to child transmission. In West we get enough vitamin A from different foods like carrots, liver and tomatoes. High intakes of liver are on other hand are considered to be dangerous as too much of metals and vitamin A might cause toxic levels in the blood. The consequences are defects of the nervous and cardiovascular systems.
Many Ethnic minorities with darker skin have risk of vitamin D deficiency when living in less sunny climate. Lack of vitamin D during pregnancy might cause lower weight gain, disturbed skeletal homeostasis in the child and neonatal pelany. Most of women in UK therefore are advised to increase their vitamin D intake during pregnancy.
Vitamin C is required for the use of Iron the body and formation of collagen. Rich in this vitamin are food like citrus fruit, apples, green vegetables and potatoes. As it can be noted they are common part of the Western Diet. Even needed more during pregnancy a balanced diet should already cover the needs of vitamin C.
Things to avoid
Although most substances when not over consumed should not cause any harm, there are some which carry more health risks than others and should be restricted during pregnancy.
Alcohol – One drink a day might be tolerated by the body though excess will lead to under development of the face, body size and mental retardation of the infant.
Nicotine – Should be totally avoided as it increases risk of spontaneous abortion, retardation, preterm delivery and lack of pregnancy weight gain.
Caffeine – Intake of more than 2 cups of coffee or 4 cups of tea might cause low birth weight and spontaneous abortion.
Mercury – present in large oily fish like tuna, shark and sword-fish cause impaired neurological development and increase risk of cancer. However it is still allowed to eat approx. 4 cans of tuna a week.
Bacteria – Mother should avoid uncooked foods which carry risk to be contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogens. Such foods are maturated, soft and blue cheeses, pates. Even if you would enjoy rather a rare cooked steak, think of your baby and make it well done. Otherwise continuous exposure to bacteria will lower the strength of immunity both for a new-born and the mother.
Yesterday we celebrated our 8th post which is about the most nutritious product on our site so far walnuts, check it out for yourself here: benefits of eating walnuts. 8 is the number of eternity so we hope that soon we will approach the 88th article and so on. While writing the past articles we came up with tips which would help you enjoy reading our aticles most.
Why? In older articles we explain detail much deeper when we mention a nutrient with beneficial effects the first time. This will understand to explore both the particular beneficial substance much more and also see which other foods have similar properties.
Follow the blue words.
Why? These links will direct you straight to a similar food, benefit or nutrient.
Comment and rate
Why? Share your knowledge to us and othe readers, give us suggestions and tell wether you liked what you read. Rating will help us to undestand how to improve and make this website the way you would like it.
Spread the word and follow us
Why? Help your friend to open gain more knowledge about benefits of eating different foods too. Spread the word and help us to prevent peoples suffering. Stay updated about new articles by following us. We have twitter, facebook, google+, yahoo and are memebers of different blogs. Wherever your friend are, we are there too. Additionally, we like to be friends with people who are interested in nutrition, health and fitness so don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or enquriies.
This day has arrived when we launch our new website www. benefitsofeating.com. We are very excited about the opportunity it gives us to promote healthy eating. The developers were inspired to make this work when searching for nutritional information of different foods we realised that there are actually no specific sites which are focused on giving simple information about it. Our background is nutrition and IT development which allowed us to build this site. We admit there is nothing fancy, just facts, gathered by us from different sources and analysed but it does the job! When making the first articles about benefits of eating apples and onions we were faced with a lot of misinformation. Therefore we tried to present our articles in way which informs but also doesn’t give you empty promises. Our intentions are informative not curing as we are not doctors. If you have a concern regarding your health or you already suffer from one and you want to help your body with eating good food, we would strongly advise you to pay a visit at a nutritionist or dietician.
“Benefits of eating” we thought sounded quite amusing but at the end of the day it is the hard reality that majority of people don’t think that eating is very important. We are not talking here about overweight or undernourished people but about the general public which tends to consume anything without thinking about the benefits or disadvantages. Eating itself is losing the tradition of being the activity in the day where you sit down and eat peacefully with you family a home cooked lunch. Knowing the ingredients of each meal of the day has become an illusion. Even though something says 100%beef, for example, doesn’t mean it is actual meat. Did you know that for example when preparing minced meet, lots of fat(from the animal) is being added or that peanut butter is made out of those peanuts which are too bad quality to put for sale as a snack? Nothing about this is said on the labels of course. Therefore this web project will also try to gather information not just about fresh ingredients but also about prepared foods. Hopefully this will make more people choose the most local and fresh produce to allow them to fully benefit from eating.
You can also check out our new blog here: Healthy Eating & Living.