Friday, 1 November 2019

Potassium

               
         

Potassium plays an important role in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. Its deficiency is characterized by an increase in blood pressure, fatigue, salt sensitivity, irritability and kidney stones. As deficiency progresses, symptoms like irregular heartbeats, muscle weakness, and glucose intolerance will be experienced. An average intake for potassium for adults is 4700 milligrams (4.7g) per day.
  Potassium toxicity (overdose) from natural sources is nearly impossible except through overconsumption of potassium salts or supplements.
  Low levels of potassium in the diet plays an important role in the development of high blood pressure. Low potassium intakes raise blood pressure, while high potassium intakes together with low sodium intakes prevent and correct hypertension.

NB: some diuretics(drugs) used to treat high blood pressure deplete the body potassium. Thus, people who take potassium-wasting diuretics need to monitor their potassium intakes carefully.
    
  Rich sources of potassium include purple fresh fruits/vegetables(e.g. eggplant, beetroot), banana, orange, sun-dried tomatoes, honeydew, dates, pears, avocados, whole-wheat products, coconut water, walnuts, non-fat dairy products, shrimp, fish, chicken, vegetables (cucumber, potatoes, spinach, lettuce, pumpkin leaves(ugu), carrots, broccoli etc) and legumes like kidney beans, lima beans, soybeans, etc.

Why You Need Potassium

For starters, it helps your blood pressure. It does this in two different ways:
  • It aids your kidneys. Potassium helps remove extra sodium from your body through your urine. This is a good thing, because too much sodium can cause high blood pressure.

  • It also helps the walls of your blood vessels to relax or loosen up. When they’re too tense or rigid, it can lead to high blood pressure, which can cause heart problems. Getting enough potassium is good for your heart.
You also need enough potassium for good muscle health -- so that your muscles can flex or contract the way they should. And your nerves need potassium so that they can work well.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Is Junk Really Cheaper Than Main Meal?



Many people are of the notion that "eating healthy is expensive" but this belief may be costing them more while potentially damaging their health. We are often lured in by the convenience and marketing of junk food, disregarding the detrimental effects on our own health.  
Processed fast food usually has fewer nutrients than homemade and you’re feeding into the addiction to a highly processed food, riddled with large amounts of excess sodium, sugar, saturated fats, trans fat and cholesterol.  These foods over time can lead to obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes type 2, heart and stroke disease and certain cancers. Getting into a healthy mindset helps preserve your current health and decreases your susceptibility to preventable diseases too. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, a good number of total disease and injury burden is attributable to overweight and obesity. (Two per cent can be blamed on low fruit consumption.)

In general, follow these rules:
  • Have a salad, steamed vegetables, fruit or soup instead of fries.
  • Choose water, low-fat milk, or diet sodas instead of regular sodas, fruit drinks, or milkshakes, which can be a huge source of calories and sugar. Instead of a slice of pie or cookie for dessert try fruit and yogurt.
  • Choose foods that are broiled, steamed, or grilled instead of fried. For example, pick a grilled chicken instead of fried chicken or chicken nuggets and choose steamed vegetables or fresh fruit instead of French fries.
  • When ordering a sandwich, select lean meats such as turkey or grilled chicken instead of items such as burgers, steak, or cheese sandwiches. Ask if they have a whole wheat bread or wrap option.
  • Ask for sauces or dressings that come with meals to be served on the side and use just a small amount.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Canned Food! Good or Bad?




In today’s life everybody is very busy and so no time to cook. Our busy lifestyles make convenient cooking, enticing. However, the question is often asked: is canned food healthy for you? Always, a question comes in our mind that what is the  health factor behind canned food. Canned foods can be a lifesaver; they can also be dangerous.

The good:
  • Canned food is a convenience alternative to fresh foods. They are convenient and can be found almost anywhere. It’s practical way to add more nutrient-dense foods to your diet, they don’t spoil easily and can be stored safely for years. 
  • They are also affordable.
  • Fresh fruit can cost a pretty penny when out of season. Canned is a great way to enjoy fruit any time of year. 

The bad:
  • Canning is used to preserve foods for long periods. During this process, foods are prepared, sealed and heated. Heat is used to kill harmful bacteria and prevent spoiling, but can also destroy heat-sensitive nutrients like Vitamins B and C. For this reason, canned foods often get a bad rep for being less nutritious than fresh or frozen foods.
  • May Contain Deadly Bacteria- canned foods that weren’t processed properly may contain dangerous bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum. Consuming contaminated food can cause botulism, a serious illness that can lead to paralysis and death if left untreated. It’s important to never eat from cans that are bulging, dented, cracked or leaking.
  • Added Salt, Sugar or Preservatives-Salt, sugar and preservatives are sometimes added during the canning process. Excess salt or sugar may pose health problems. A variety of other natural or chemical preservatives may be added as well.
  • May Contain Trace Amounts of BPA- BPA (Bisphenol) is a chemical that is often used in food packaging, including cans. So BPA can migrate in the food content. BPA is linked to health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and male sexual dysfunction.

How to make the right choices

All canned foods aren’t created equal. So, you still need to be mindful when going to the shop:
  • Always read food labels and the ingredients list.
  • Choose lower sugar and lower sodium versions.
  • Look for any dents in the cans. If you see a dent, find another can to prevent the risk of botulism.

  • Choose BPA free cans – BPA has been linked to heart disease and other chronic diseases.
  • Never eat from cans that are bulging, dented, discoloured, rusted, cracked, or leaking.





  • Check the best before date.










Sunday, 6 October 2019

Vitamin C Deficiency

     
                            
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin, one of the most essential vitamins in an individual’s daily diet. It acts as a potent antioxidant helping to reduce the damage caused by free radicals and thereby helping prevent the development of conditions like heart disease and cancer. It plays vital functions in the body including growth, maintaining the health of the body,  repair of  tissues like the skin, joints, blood vessels, bones, and teeth, boost the absorption of other nutrients in the body. It is critically important in wound healing and is also a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C can have a huge impact on the health from the inside out. It is needed for numerous daily functions, supports immune function, and facilitates the absorption of iron. 

   Found primarily in fruits and vegetables, it is abundant throughout the diet. A deficiency in this important vitamin can wreak havoc on health, causing symptoms like easy bruising, bleeding gums, fatigue, weakened immunity,  increased risk of conditions like gout and heart disease and, in severe cases, scurvy. 
     You need to consume vitamin C daily—preferably through foods rich in vitamin C. Most people think of oranges—and they are a great source—but many other fruits and vegetables are loaded with this nutrient, like strawberries, papaya, broccoli, tomatoes, red bell peppers, and cauliflower. It is also found in fresh milk, fish and offal such as liver and kidney, it can also be gotten from fortified foods such as cereals.

   The recommended daily intake for Vitamin C differs according to age and gender.  Pregnant and breastfeeding women need higher amounts of this vitamin in their diet. Adult women are advised to take 75 mg daily; while men should consume 90 mg daily. You can easily get what you need from these foods; Red pepper — 1 cup: 190 mg, guava — 1 fruit: 126 mg, green bell pepper — 1 cup: 120 mg,  orange — 1 large: 98 mg, strawberries — 1 cup: 89 mg, papaya — 1 cup: 87 mg, broccoli — 1 cup, raw: 81 mg,  pineapple — 1 cup: 79 mg, cauliflower — 1 cup, raw: 46 mg, mango — 1 cup: 46 mg, lemon — 1 fruit: 45 mg, grapefruit — 1/2 fruit: 38 mg, peas — 1 cup, cooked: 23 mg, tomatoes — 1 cup, raw: 23mg.
  
  Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency

While symptoms of severe vitamin C deficiency can take months to develop, there are some subtle signs to watch out for.

  • Sudden, swollen and unexpected bleeding from your gums:The gums are made up partially of collagen, which is why they tend to be more sensitive when vitamin C levels in the body dip. Swollen gums are a result of inflammation, a process that vitamin C helps prevent as an antioxidant. 

  • Beeding Nose: Nose bleeds occur when the tiny blood vessels in the nose burst, so frequent nose bleeds are a sign of weak blood vessels in the nose. Since blood vessels are strengthened by collagen, having a vitamin C deficiency can result in weakened blood vessels, causing them to burst and create nose bleeds frequently. 

  • Slow wound healing: The immune response that works to repair wounds and fights infection relies on vitamin C. The nutrient also helps with the formation of collagen, which strengthens the scar tissue that forms over wounds. With a vitamin C deficiency, this process is less efficient, causing longer bleeding and slower healing. 

  • Slit, dry hair: When the hair is healthy and shiny, it’s a good sign that one is eating a balanced diet. When the ends of one's hair are splitting and dry, there might be a vitamin C deficiency. Hair depends on collagen for strength and health: When one is low on vitamin C,the collagen production can pay the price, leading to weak and brittle hair that falls out easily. 

  • Iron deficiency: The body absorbs two types of iron: heme and nonheme. Heme iron typically comes from animal sources and is easily absorbed, while nonheme iron comes from plant sources (like spinach, plantain, kale, broccoli, etc). Vitamin C helps the body absorb nonheme iron more efficiently and has been shown to be a strong indicator of iron status; that’s why iron deficiencies often go hand in hand with vitamin C deficiencies. Getting enough vitamin C ensures that your body can make the most of iron-rich foods.

  • Easy bruising: When small blood vessels right under the surface of the skin burst, one ends up with a bruise. If bruise occurs easily, it could be a sign that the blood vessel walls—which are made largely from collagen—are weak. Vitamin C helps strengthen the blood vessels by boosting collagen production so they don’t breakdown as easily. 

  • Frequent infection: Vitamin C helps stimulate the production of white blood cells that attack bacteria and viruses as part of the immune response. As an antioxidant, vitamin C also helps protect the health of immune cells so that they can work efficiently to prevent infections. Frequent wound infections or suffering from common infections like the flu, Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), or strep throat is an indication of a weakened immune system. You can boost your immunity by getting enough vitamin C. 

  • Fatigue and moodiness: Vitamin C plays a key role in energy production and mood stabilization, so a lack of vitamin C can throw both your energy and mood out of balance. There is evidence that eating produce high in vitamin C can enhance overall mood, reduce fatigue, increase vigor, and reduce depression.

    By incorporating just a few servings of vitamin C foods in your diet, it’s a simple way to take advantage of all the health benefits this water-soluble vitamin has to offer. Since your body doesn’t store it, developing a vitamin C deficiency is easier than you might expect.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Nutrients Dense Food For Picky/Fussy Eaters



Every mom desires to feed her children with nutritious foods, made in the home, that will nourish their growing bodies and minds. While you strive to provide the very best in nourishment for the kids, it's more challenging by the picky tastes children can develop. The foods they are eating today are the building blocks for the rest of their lives.
    There are all sorts of reasons why your child may not seem to be eating enough, be it a period of fussy eating, a reduced appetite due to a period of illness or even just being too tired to eat much after a jam packed day of school/nursery or play.
     Healthy eating styles are based on choosing foods that contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other healthful nutrients or ingredients and choosing the amount of calories you need to maintain a healthy weight. A way to do this is by packing all the 5 food groups in your child’s daily diet. The five essential food groups:

  • Grains (like rice, wheat, millet, maize and products produced from them )
  • Nuts (like peanut, almonds, cashew nuts etc)
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables including green leafy vegetables
  • Protein-rich foods (such as beans, eggs, seafood, poultry and other meat products)
  • Dairy products (such as milk, cheese, and yogurt)


Getting your picky eater to try new foods can be a major challenge. Luckily, there are several ways you can change their habits, making mealtime a breeze!

  • Have a plan: Because it can take a while for little palates to come around, try pairing these easier-to-accept foods with other items they aren’t ready to eat (yet)Don't be too restrictive: Have standards for the foods your kids eat, but don't be so rigid that they never can have an occasional unhealthy dessert. Studies have shown that children who are excessively restricted with foods are more likely to overeat when they're alone.

  • Make meals family-style: Family-style means that each food item is placed on the table in a serving dish, and each person helps themselves to whatever items they desire. A picky eater will be less picky if he or she can serve their own plate. Additionally, this will greatly decrease the stress surrounding mealtime. Letting your child feel in control of their own plate eliminates the power-struggle that results from controlling your child’s meals. When kids are more relaxed, they are more likely to try new foods on their own. They can also get very excited about eating your food, so if family-style isn’t an option, letting them try food off your plate may have a similar effect.

  • Make whole food smoothies: Smoothies are a great way to get a lot of nutrient-dense foods in your growing kids. Blending foods like coconut milk and oil, avocados, probiotics (yoghurt) and leafy greens with some berries and cocoa in a yummy drink is a treat most kids will enjoy!

  • Provide palatable protein sources: Most children get their share of protein from milk and yogurt but it’s the nutrients in eggs, meat, fish, and beans – iron, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc – that are essential for growth. If your child won't eat any animal protein; meat, chicken, eggs, fish, hide it the the food they like most. Meat is a good source of protein, but not all kids are fans. So get creative and disguise meat by adding it into other foods. For instance, you can add grided/minced meat in a jollof pasta/rice when frying the sauce. 

  • Explain to them food benefits in terms they will understand: Having conversations about what their food is doing for them, like, "Avocados make your brain nice and strong or beans make you to grow tall and strong" is a great way for them to start making good food choices. Little boys will eat veggies and drink milk if they know it will make them big and strong or “taller than daddy.” Little girls will eat veggies containing biotin if they know if will make their hair grow long and pretty. Conversely, having an age-appropriate but honest conversations about what junk food does to the body is important.

  • Eat together when possible: Studies have shown children who eat together with their family tend to eat healthier foods than children who don't. This is not always possible for everyone; but whenever you can, make a point to eat with your family. Turn off your cellphone and television, and use that time to talk and connect with your kids.

  • Be creative: Make food fun! Arranging vegetables in the shape of a silly face can be a simple way to engage your child in healthy foods.

  • Don’t force a food if they can get the benefits elsewhere: Don’t force your child to try meat if they enjoy eggs or yogurt. The important thing is that they have a balanced diet of protein, fat, carbs, and vitamins/minerals. If they don’t like one source of the nutrients, try another. 

  • Be consistent and patient: These tips are not miracle cures for a picky eater. As with anything in parenting, consistency and patience are two crucial qualities for you to have.

  • Make them aware of how precious and valuable they are: Teach your kids to love themselves enough to nourish their bodies with good things. If we fully realized our unique gifts and potential, would we fill ourselves with junk?

  • Be a good eater: If your children watch you eat healthy foods, they will be more likely to eat those foods. Your children watch you constantly and model your behavior. Eating a wide variety of new and healthy foods will encourage them to as well. Take steps to be a healthy parent role model.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Healthy Snacking



Eating healthy doesn’t apply solely to what you consume for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The right snacks can help us to focus mentally by taking the edge off our hunger and can provide a much-needed energy boost until the next meal. Snacking isn’t bad if  done in moderation.  It is an important part of a healthy diet, since it helps to keep the body going and also helps to keep one from overeating in the next main meal. Making a  healthy snack choices does not only keep your kid healthy but revitalize their brains and energy for the day's activities.
It’s good to add more fruits and vegetables to their diets for a variety of health benefits, including to maintain a healthy weight. Whether you cook at home or you buy lunch outside for them, try easy ways to sneak more colorful, nutritious and delicious vegetables and fruits into their lunch boxes (even breakfast). If you add many different types of fruits and veggies, you’re sure of them getting all the different types of nutrient their body need. 
It’s important to choose wisely when selecting your snacks. 
As boring as “healthy snacks” might sound, you’d be surprised at just how tasty they are, all the new things you’ll get to try, and how easy they are to tote around with you on the go. (Seriously, they fit in your laptop bag, purse, workout bag or backpack just as easily as the prepackaged stuff). The best way to get all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need is to eat a variety of colorful fruits and veggies. Add color to your plate each day with the five main color groups. Junk food such as candy bars, soda and potato chips won’t help power you through your afternoon — and consistent consumption of junk foods can harm your body over the long run by boosting your risk for disease.


Tips 
  • Read serving size information. What looks like a small package of cookies can contain 2 or more servings — which means double or even triple the amounts of fat, calories, and sugar shown on the label.
  • Choose your snacks wisely: With sugary treats like cookies and chips, you’re getting calories with little extra nutrition. Get the nutrition you need with snacks that are lower in sugar, like carrpts, healthy nuts like almonds or walnut.Don’t skip meals: Skipping meals may leave you with intense cravings that can trigger your appetite and may result in an unintended binge. As a general rule, eating every 3-4 hours will help your body feel satisfied and leave you less likely to snack excessively. Don’t feel like you’re limited to the basic 3-meals-a-day rule – feel free to eat 4 or 5 smaller meals throughout the day to keep your energy levels high.
  • Eat slowly: Eating your food slowly gives your brain and stomach the time to effectively send messages (hormones and nerve impulses) about how much food you need and when it’s time to stop eating. Try sitting back in your chair every few bites and having a drink of water. Or if you’re eating a number of smaller food items as one meal, try holding off before getting another item for a few minutes when you feel about 80% full. That should give some time for your brain to register how full you are.
  • Pack in some protein: Some people find adding a food choice that is higher in protein with meals and snacks help keep their appetite in check. Having protein-rich snacks readily available like roasted almonds, hard-boiled eggs, a glass of milk, or yogurt are great ways to keep your body feeling full and satisfied – so you can avoid those impulse snacks that can often be full of calories. Keep protein-rich snacks close by, and you’ll be well on your way to curbing those afternoon cravings.
  • Stay hydrated: Dehydration may sometimes be disguised as feelings of hunger, so make sure to stay on top of your fluid intake. If you feel a sudden hunger set in, try drinking a tall glass of water and waiting 5 minutes. You’ll find the feeling may pass or subside. 
  • Snack mindfully: stop what you're doing for a few minutes and eat your snack like you would a small meal. Don't eat your snack while doing something else — like surfing the Internet, watching TV, or working at your desk.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Benefits of African Walnut

                   





African walnuts are seasonal fruits with enormous nutritional and health benefits to human health. Round shaped  with dark brown shells and whitish nuts encased within the shell, cultivated mostly for its nuts which can be eaten boiled or roasted as snacks.  It is mostly found in Nigeria and some other parts of Africa. In the Western part of Nigeria, it is known as “ASALA” while in the Southern part, it is called “UKPA”. It is an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients needed for the healthy functioning of the human’s body. Like all nuts, walnuts contain good fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) also, they are a good source of the essential fatty acid omega-3, contain iron, selenium, calcium, zinc, vitamin E and some B vitamins required daily for overall maintenance and development.

  • Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and proteins which aid eye and brain development in children.
  •  Helps lower blood cholesterol level and increase the good cholesterol (HDL).
  • Reduces inflammation of blood vessels. 
  • Helps relax blood vessels and control high blood pressures.
  • Walnuts are rich sources of proteins and fiber that offers a feeling of fullness. This helps in weight management.
  • Walnut contains copper that aids proper growth and development of a growing fetus.
  • Walnuts contain antioxidants such as vitamin E, polyphenols, manganese and copper. These help ward off the free radicals and strengthens the immune system.
  • Walnuts are a rich source of vitamins, fibre, magnesium. They are also loaded with calcium, iron, zinc, and selenium. These nutrients add to the numerous advantages of walnuts.
  • Walnuts increase the melatonin which acts on the brain and signal the body to give you a sound sleep.