Tag Archives: cholesterol

Black is Beautiful Powerful and Healthy

Green vegetables have long been hailed as the go-to food for good health but dark fruits, vegetables, and grains are nutritional powerhouses too. Their colour comes from anthocyanins, which are plant pigments that may help lower the risks of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. For various reasons they have not been promoted as much as green vegetables. What makes foods black is anthocyanin, an antioxidant flavanoid pigment, which has been linked to reducing cancer cell proliferation and improving visual acuity. In fact, black foods not only have more antioxidants than light-coloured foods but these antioxidants are also more powerful and as a consequence offer greater health benefits because of their high pigment content, In eastern healing philosophies, black foods have long been used to encourage wellness. Chinese medicine believes that black foods correspond with the water element and nourish the kidneys — helping the body to stay energetic and warm, and the mind harmonious. Black beans, rice and sesame are the traditional foods eaten during cold winter months. ……..here is a list of some black foods and their recognized health benefits.

Black chicken

The Silkie (sometimes spelled Silky) is a breed of chicken named for its fluffy plumage, which is said to feel like silk, and satin. The breed has several other unusual qualities, such as black skin and bones, blue earlobes, and five toes on each foot, whereas most chickens only have four. They also come in a variety of colours, such as white, blue and light brown . Reports suggest that whilst their appearance may be unusual, the taste is second to none and will be a sublime addition to any home-cooked recipes. Apparently the  flesh  has a similar taste to that of game birds rather than that of regular chicken. Imagine some black chicken with black beans and black rice washed down with black grape juice.

Black Rice
Brown rice is good for you, but black rice is even better. That’s because the bran hull contains significantly higher amounts of vitamin E, which bolsters the immune system and protects cells from free radical damage. In fact, black rice contains more anthocyanin antioxidants than blueberries, according to a study from the Louisiana State University Agricultural Centre. . An extract from the rice has been shown to effectively reduce breast cancer cells. It is rich in vitamins B and E, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc as well. Black rice was so valued and rare in days past that emperors even declared it ‘forbidden’ to the common people.

Black cumin seed

This powerful seed, which goes by many other names such as Roman coriander, onion seed, black sesame, black caraway and simply black cumin kills MRSA, treats the body when chemical poisoning occurs, stimulates regeneration of dying beta cells within the diabetic’s pancreas, treats type 2 diabetes, improves liver function, epilepsy, high blood pressure, lowers cholesterol and helps decrease body fat.

Black grapes

Research has shown that black grapes can contain up to 600mg anthocyanins, which is 100mg more than berries according to a study cited in the American Journal of Nutrition. Black grape’s greatness lies in their skins -the stronger the colour, the higher the concentration of flavonoids and therefore, the more antioxidants they contain. They have been shown to reduce the risks of heart disease and help protect against DNA damage that ages skin.

Black radish

Consumption of black radish is very effective in curing all sorts of skin disorders. In fact, black radish has an ability to treat skin itchiness, allergies, skin ulceration and body odour without any side effects . Regular consumption of black radish gives better result in clearing spots and acne within a few days. Black radish is also a perfect medicine for improving the functioning of the kidneys.

Black Beans

The dark skins of these beans are packed with bio-flavonoids — potent plant-based nutrients that may protect against cancer. Black beans contain cancer fighting antioxidants and anthocyanin along with butyric acid. Remember that anthocyanins destroy cancer cells and block the creation of blood vessels that feed tumours. High in fibre, black beans also help reduce colon cancer risk by as much as 75 per cent.

Black Lentils

Black lentils are loaded with iron: One cup has about 8 milligrams, getting you almost halfway to the daily requirement of 18 milligrams for women. Lentils also boast high levels of soluble fibre, which may not only lower your cholesterol, but could also improve immune function. Lentils are a protein super-food and also help with weight loss.
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Blackberries

Polyphenols found in dark berries may help reduce cognitive decline in older people by cleaning up cells that impair brain function. Blackberries are also high in fibre . As one of the most antioxidant-rich foods, blackberries are a sweet addition to any diet and can be added to a hot bowl of porridge when eating to control diabetes. Overflowing in nutrients like vitamins C and K, folic acid, manganese, polyphenols, minerals and fibre, blackberries are an outstanding super-food. By reducing brain cell inflammation, these compounds enhance communication between the neurons, thereby improving memory and information processing.

Black Tea

Green and white teas get all the health hype, but black tea has its perks, too. It contains theaflavins — antioxidants that a study from Rutgers University in New Jersey suggests may improve recovery from muscle soreness after intense exercise. Drinking black tea may also lower your risk of having a stroke. It also prevents constipation, improves the complexion and slows down the aging process, normalizes blood pressure, improves memory, averts anaemia, maintains lustrous hair and fortifies the liver. Black tea is best drunk with  lemon juice.

Chia

Once used by the ancient Aztec’s for stamina in battle, chia seeds are a terrific superfood for modern day warriors. Full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, chia keeps energy levels up, inflammation and disease down. Omega-3 fats also foster a sharp mind.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are not intended to replace a one to one relationship with your health practitioner nor are they meant as medical advice. You are encouraged to do your own research and make your own decisions in partnership with your medical practitioner.

Unhealthy “health” Foods

Health is on most people’s agenda these days and food manufacturers are very much aware of this. However, if we all started to enjoy good health due to changes we make in our lifestyles and diets their businesses would lose revenue and shrink. No businessman or food manufacturer wants this so they have developed ways of selling more of their unhealthy products simply by labelling them as healthy and many people have bought into this hype. In this post we take a look at some of the unhealthiest foods that are masquerading as healthy.index.jpg Sports drinks

Sports| Energy| Diet Drinks

Sports and energy drinks are quite a fad nowadays but those who consume them appear oblivious to the unhealthy nature of these drinks. Firstly, they are full of caffeine and can sometimes contain more than a cup of coffee, as manufacturers only mention the presence of caffeine but not the quantity. Caffeine can be addictive resulting in the need for more and more. It is also a tanic acid which can block the absorption of nutrients from food. They are sold as a dietary supplement not a medicine consequently they do not have to undergo any tests. They are loaded with sugar, sometimes a quarter of a cup on average. Because of the high calorific content people usually drink more calories than they burn off.

Sports drinks are typically high in fructose, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), artificial flavours and food colourings and may also contain herbal stimulants. These have a negative impact on insulin sensitivity which of course is associated with diabetes. Furthermore most sports drinks also contain high amounts of sodium which can adversely affect your kidneys and elevate your blood pressure. Labels on the containers will simply say “carbohydrates” but these are simple carbohydrates which you should avoid if you want to maintain good health. The labels will also say “per serving” but the amount in the can usually equates to two servings. Sports drinks are meant to replenish the electrolytes (potassium and sodium) you lose while sweating from exercise however, there are two better options. Firstly, put a small amount of natural sea salt in a glass of water and drink it. Contrary to processed salt, sea salt contains eighty four different minerals and trace minerals that your body needs for optimal function. Secondly, drink some real coconut water which is one of the highest sources of electrolytes known.

index.jpg Energy drinks 2Energy drinks can be more harmful to athletes than non-athletes because they can elevate blood pressureand can also cause dehydration. They may not have the same amount of caffeine as sports drinks but they have their own issues. Energy drinks differ from isotonic drinks although they are regularly regarded as being the same. Isotonic drinks are those that contain similar concentrations of salt and sodium as the human body. Energy drinks on the other hand contain caffeine and taurine which is an amino acid which helps strengthen the immune system but is dangerous for the heart muscle when combined with caffeine. This causes a sudden drop in blood pressure by abruptly relaxing the nervous system. They also worsen the effects of anxiety, depression and bipolar disease and interact adversely with medications. Some energy drinks contain alcohol and as a consequence have been banned for children under 14 years old, pregnant women and breast feeding mothers. The Medical Journal of Paediatrics has warned that energy drinks can cause children to suffer strokes, seizures, heart palpitations and sudden death. They can also be highly addictive. Did you know that every year in the USA one thousand teenagers suffer strokes? So, don’t let the “healthy” image fool you. Drink clean water with a dash of lemon or lime. You will feel full, take in no fat or calories and at the same time you are alkalizing your body.

Most popular sugar sweetened beverages have “diet” versions which are marketed as calorie free and should therefore assist with weight loss, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Foods labelled “Fat Free” or “Low Fat”

Not all fats are bad and fat actually adds flavour to food. When manufacturers remove fat from foods so that the food can be labelled “fat free” they remove the flavouring agent (fat) which has to be replaced by something else and that something is usually sugar or sodium. People usually see “fat free” as a licence to eat more without realizing the adverse impact that “fat free” food is having on their bodies. Sugar as you know is a major player when it comes to diabetes and premature aging through the process known as glycation and excess sodium is associated with kidney issues and high blood pressure. Ironically, these fat free foods may contain calories but no fibre, vitamins or minerals. So what is masquerading as healthy due to its fat free or low fat nature may in fact be worse than the full fat version. You should also understand the terminology. “Reduced fat” or “light” mean that the product contains 30% less fat than the standard product. Low fat means containing less than 3% fat and “fat free” means that that product contains less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving.

Premade Smoothies

images.jpg SmoothiesMost ready-made smoothies sold in restaurants and commercial outlets are nothing more than sugary slush and contain one of the worse sugars, fructose. In addition, they may also contain regular milk, which is one of the primary ingredients of many smoothies and which may have come from cows that have been given hormones and antibiotics, tap water which may contain lead, arsenic, oestrogen, pharmaceutical drugs and other metals and bottled water which in some cases is no different from tap water. Although it may not always be convenient to make your own but you should do so whenever it’s possible. It would be a far healthier option and is much easier than you think.

After you have made your first home made smoothies you will feel so proud and pleased with yourself you might want to invite some friends over to sample them, including me. Here are some base ingredients you can start with. Coconut or almond milk, clean water that has been filtered, tea as some teas can improve the nutritional value of your smoothie turning it into an elixir. Try green tea, holy basil (tulsi), mint and peppermint and fermented beverages like kefir and kombucha. Do not forget to add some powerful antioxidant fruits, herbs and spices like cocoa, maca, aloe vera, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, all coconut products, green vegetables, organic Greek yoghurt, blueberries, avocados and mangoes. There are endless options here and bear in mind that every mistake is a new recipe. Once you have tried this you would not want to go back to the store bought unhealthy varieties. You may even start a little cottage business of your own.

Soy

About 5,000 years ago when soybeans were first cultivated in China the plant was used solely in crop rotation in order to replace nitrogen in the soil. So the root was the essential part of the plant. The plant itself is so toxic that even some animals would not eat it as it contained phytates, goitrogens and enzyme inhibitors all for its own protection. As you know many plants have different ways of protecting themselves, some with poisonous leaves and sap, others with thorns.images.jpg Soy

In unfermented soy goitrogens slow down the functioning of the thyroid gland which can lead to goiter and thyroid cancer. Soy also contains phytates (phytic acid) which obstructs the absorption of minerals like zinc, iron, copper and calcium and research suggests that giving unfermented soy to children can not only stunt their growth but can be fatal. The phyto-oestrogen (phyto = plant) in soy is linked to infantile leukemia and breast cancer in adult women. Most soy crops have also been genetically modified and sprayed with herbicides such as glyphosate which has been linked to cancer. Several studies have also linked soy to digestive disorders, immune system breakdown, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, infertility, cancer and heart disease. Most at risk are infants, especially those who are being fed regularly on baby formulas containing soy, vegans and vegetarians and midlife women seeking help with menopausal symptoms. Whole soy beans, soy milk, soy chips, soy flour, soy protein isolates and the whole raft of soy products or those containing unfermented soy have higher levels of phytic acid and should be considered unhealthy. Remember also that soy is a non-alkalizing product. Its use, however,is so widespread that you really have to be diligent to avoid it completely.

index.jpgSoya MilkAbout 3,000 BC someone discovered a mould on soya beans and this started the process of fermentation which has changed over the years and has become extremely commercialized. Soy sauce is best known as a flavour enhancer. When made in the traditional way, through a process of fermentation which lasts about 18 months it is considered to be healthy as it is unpasteurized and as a consequence retains beneficial nutrients and enzymes and is also wheat free. The most common soy sauces sold in restaurants and supermarkets, however, are made between two days and four months and are made from defatted soy bean pulp. It is this process that strips the soy bean of its nutrients and flavour. Commercialized soy is high in sodium and we know the adverse effect of sodium on blood pressure and the kidneys. It is also flavoured with glutamates which are in essence mono sodium glutamate (MSG) and it is also about 18% salt. Eating large amounts of soy whether unfermented or fermented may adversely affect the functioning of the thyroid gland as mentioned before. A 2008 study of 8,000 Asian men who ate high amounts of tofu showed that they had smaller brain sizes and three times the rate of senile dementia than those whose consumption of tofu was minimal. The suggestion here is that eating foods high in isoflavones, such as soy protein, may accelerate the aging of the brain. Apparently, when it comes to soy you should only eat natto, tempeh and miso and then in moderation.

Vegetable Oils

canstock11264203.jpgCooking oilVegetable oils may be regarded as healthy because the word “vegetable” is present in the labelling and in the human mind vegetables are healthy. Vegetable oils cannot be extracted from the base product (peanuts, soy) just by pressing. The oil is chemically removed, de-odourized and altered and as a result are some of the most chemically altered foods. They contain large amounts of omega 6, massive amounts of trans-fats and are easily oxidized (oxidation being one of the three “thieves of good health”). Vegetable oils also contain omega 3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats and these are the reasons they are promoted as healthy but very little mention is ever made by the manufacturers and their marketing teams of the high amount of omega 6. Consumers, consequently, buy into the omega 3 marketing without checking the omega 6 content. The ratio between the two should be 1:1 but these days the ratio can be anything from 10:1 to 25:1 in favour of omega 6. Vegetable oils also contain additives, pesticides and chemicals in addition to BHA and BHT which prevent the oils from spoiling but have been shown to produce cancer compounds in the human body. They have been linked to kidney damage, infertility, obesity, behavioural changes, liver damage and disruption of the immune system. Additionally, most, if not all vegetable oils come from genetically modified sources which have been treated with pesticides. Oils to avoid as much as possible are canola, corn, soybean, vegetable, peanut, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, grape seed and margarine. It is also worth bearing in mind that most processed foods also contain these oils. Virgin coconut oil, avocado oil, almond oil and olive oil are the healthiest options.

Fruit Juices

Fruit juices are in essence simple carbohydrates which are absorbed very quickly by the body and contain as much sugar as ordinary sugar drinks. They are a very processed product and are not as pure as manufacturers try to make us believe. Most of them are also made from “concentrates” which, when labelled can be misleading. Fruit concentrate is essentially the fruit with the water removed but if the fruit drink does not say 100% fruit juice from concentrate then there is a very good chance that it contains additives and index.jpg fruit cartonspreservatives, more so if it says “punch” or “beverage” on the label. Because they are simple carbohydrates, mainly sugars, they increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. If you take the time to read the labels on the cartons or cans you will see that they not only contain simple sugars but some of the worst types, such as Fructose, Aspartame and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) with a taste of pineapple, strawberry, mango, cherry or whatever to give it a different flavour. As you know excess sugar is not conducive to good health.

Many cereals

hana034051.jpg CerealAll packaged cereals are produced by a process called extrusion. This involves high heat and pressure to form the grains into whatever shape the manufacturer wants. Extrusion destroys most of the nutrients, including some of the vitamins that have been added to the cereal. Even so, vitamins that are added to cereals are synthetic which are not readily absorbed by the body. Cooking foods at high temperature destroys amino acids making them highly toxic. It also gives rise to advanced glycation end products (AGE) which are associated with disease and accelerated aging. See article on “Thieves of Good Health”.

Rich people sometimes eat bad food: Kikuyu Proverb

Cholesterol Myth Debunked

High cholesterol is not the problem it’s made out to be since 75% of the people who have heart attacks have what is considered to be normal levels of cholesterol. 75% of the cholesterol that circulates in your blood is made by your liver the other 25% comes from food but none from plants. Normally cholesterol helps the cells in our body do their job but when cholesterol levels are unusually high it can lead to the accumulation of plaque in the arteries causing them to narrow, thus restricting the flow of blood. This blockage, known as atherosclerosis can trigger heart disease and has also been associated with strokes and Alzheimer’s disease. So……

What is cholesterol and why we need it?

Put simply, cholesterol is a type of fat that is carried in the blood and stored in fat cells throughout the body. One of its most important functions is to help in the production of steroid hormones, without which we would not be able to function properly with regard to sex, weight, bone health, digestion and mental status. Testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone (the primary pregnancy hormone) are all produced by cholesterol, in fact, without cholesterol your body could not produce any hormones at all. Cholesterol is also used to help the liver create bile which helps with the digestion of foods. It is also a major constituent of the brain which has the most cholesterol of all the body’s organs. It plays a vital role in your cells ability to communicate with each other, helps your nerves function correctly and helps with the synthesis of vitamin D from sunshine. In fact, if your body stopped producing cholesterol you would die. Low cholesterol is associated with cancer, liver disease, stroke and more and a study from 2005 in the American Academy of Neurology concluded that “high total cholesterol in late life is associated with a REDUCED risk of dementia”.

How do you get high cholesterol?
index.jpg Cuts of meat

There are usually no symptoms of high cholesterol but it is simple to detect and there are many ways to bring it down. Detection is carried out by way of a blood test known as a “fasting lipoprotein profile” which measures the different types of cholesterol in your blood, after you have fasted for about 9 to 12 hours. The results will show the levels of HDL “good” cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, another type of fat. Total cholesterol is a combined measurement of HDL, LDL and VLDL (very low density lipoprotein, a precursor to LDL). When checking cholesterol it is the ratio that is important. Take your overall cholesterol figure, divide it by your HDL figure and if the result is 4 or less that is fine. If the figure is slightly higher there is still no need to worry as slightly high cholesterol is not as dangerous as very low cholesterol. If it is unusually high 7+ then you should take immediate steps to bring it down.

There are several factors that can make you more likely to develop high cholesterol but for most people saturated fat and trans-fats are the biggest culprits. Below are some factors for high cholesterol. Women usually have lower levels of total cholesterol than men of the same age and higher levels of HDL “good” cholesterol. This is due to the female hormone oestrogen, which drops off after a woman’s child bearing years causing a rise in cholesterol levels after about age 55 years. Some factors for high cholesterol …….
• A family history (genetics)
• Being overweight
• Getting older

image001.jpg vegetable oils

• Eating a diet high in saturated fat, cholesterol and trans-fats.
What are trans-fats? Trans –fats are made when hydrogen is added to vegetable oils through a process called hydrogenation, which makes the oil less likely to spoil. Using trans-fats in the manufacturing of foods helps the foods stay fresh longer, have a longer shelf life and have a less greasy feel. They are unsaturated fats which are not common in nature although small amounts occur naturally in beef, lamb and full fat dairy products. Like saturated fats, trans-fats raise LDL “bad” cholesterol and lower HDL “good” cholesterol, thus increasing the risk of heart disease. Trans-fats also go by the name of trans- fatty acids or partially hydrogenated fats and are usually found in fast foods, packaged foods, fried and frozen foods, margarine spreads and many baked goods. Ironically, fully hydrogenated oils do not have the same adverse side effects as partially hydrogenated oils. So read your food labels carefully.

Chemical remedies for high cholesterol.
index.jpg Pills and Drugs

Statins are the most prescribed drug for high cholesterol and in the UK about 7 million people per year take them on a daily basis. This figure is set to rise to about 10 million. Research has shown, however, that about 25% of people who were on statins have stopped taking them. Statins work by blocking the production of cholesterol in the liver but they have been reported as having severe adverse side effects, some of which are headaches, nausea, muscle pain, vomiting, constipation, sleep disturbances, decreased insulin sensitivity, depression, memory loss and erectile dysfunction.
Two other major side effects of statins are (1) that they may drive your cholesterol down to too low a level, which could lead to memory loss and even dementia, violent behaviour, aggression and moodiness due to a reduction in the hormone serotonin (2) Statins also reduce the hormone Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) which performs some important functions in your heart and every cell in your body, including the regulation of your heartbeat. As you age your body produces less of this hormone which makes the situation worse if you are also taking statins.
Niacin (vitamin B3) is also very effective in reducing cholesterol but comes with a side effect known as “flushing”, which is a tingling, burning sensation on all or parts of the skin, which can last for about three to four minutes and is extremely uncomfortable. Taking an aspirin half an hour before taking niacin is said to prevent flushing. Alternatively, taking niacin in a form known as Inositol does away with the flushing.

Natural ways to lower high cholesterol

canstock5771099.jpg antioxidantsThere are simple but very effective ways to reduce high cholesterol naturally. Losing weight, giving up smoking, exercising, drinking alcohol in moderation and eating a healthy diet low in saturated fat is top of the list. Adding certain herbs and spices to your low fat diet will also reduce high cholesterol and without the adverse side effects associated with drugs. Herbs such as fenugreek (methi), fennel, holy basil (tulsi) and garlic, although the latter may interact adversely with some medications, are very effective. Spices such as cinnamon, cloves and turmeric and fruits like coconut and avocado are all very effective in reducing cholesterol levels and one must not forget soluble fibre from sweet potatoes, oats, barley, plantains, breadfruit, okras, lentils and beans, olive oil and fish oils, mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines and tuna but beware of the high mercury content of tuna. Both garlic and turmeric are blood thinners and can be used as natural alternatives to aspirin. Among its many attributes turmeric also raises HDL “good” cholesterol, reduces LDL “bad” cholesterol and helps the liver eliminate excess cholesterol in a similar way to fibre. Needless to say this is a process which can become an everyday part of your diet and not a quick fix.

Co-enzyme q 10

Coenzyme q 10 is a natural antioxidant which the body produces but is also found in many foods. Its main function is the generation of energy within cells. It is found in every cell in the body but there are higher concentrations in the organs with higher energy requirements such as the heart, liver and kidneys. In heart muscle cells it also plays a vital role in the use of oxygen. Research suggests that CoQ10 may slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and low levels have been observed in people with Parkinson’s disease.
CoQ10 is sold as a dietary supplement and not a medicine so the quality can vary tremendously. A broad rule of thumb is that the lower the price the more inferior the product, so you could as well save your money if you are buying a cheap brand. The best way around this is to buy CoQ10 in a form known as Ubiquinol which is more readily absorbed by your body. Two other points to remember here are that ubiquinol is fat soluble which means that it should be taken with a meal, as the meal should contain some fat and also anything that is fat soluble can be stored in the body, similarly vitamins A,D,E and K. So, what has all of this got to do with cholesterol? It has more to do with the most popular drug used to reduce high cholesterol. Yes, statins. As you can see CoQ10 is extremely important for heart health and proper heart functioning and one of the reported side effects of statins is that they destroy CoQ10. So, if you are taking statins and you intend to stay on them then you should also take a proper CoQ10 supplement. It would, however, be better to consider getting off these drugs and reducing your cholesterol naturally by eating plant based foods which have no cholesterol whatsoever but lots of soluble and insoluble fibre. Remember there is no problem with moderately high cholesterol.

7 Pillars of Good Nutrition

There are seven pillars of good nutrition and every meal as far as practicable should include them in some form. This way you are eating a balanced diet which is essential for good health. The seven pillars are listed below.

Sweet PotatoCarbohydrates are sugars, starches and fibres found in most foods. They provide energy, regulate digestion, support immune functions and help with communication between cells. They are two types, simple (cakes, soft drinks, biscuits, bread, pasta) and complex (sweet potato, wild rice, plantain) the latter providing more health benefits. The more complex the carbohydrate the slower the glucose and hormones are released into the body. This makes for a more stable and sustainable energy level. Complex carbohydrates also assist with appetite control and provide the body with dietary fibre which in turn helps with elimination, lowering of cholesterol, colon cleansing and the provision of food for the good bacteria in your gut. Simple carbohydrates on the other hand release glucose very quickly into the blood stream, give you an immediate burst of short term energy (spike) and leave you feeling hungry after a short period of time. This is not conducive to good health as these spikes can damage your organs.Barbeque 1

Proteins are the second most common element in the body after water. They are used by the body to build, maintain and repair muscle tissue. They make hormones, enzymes, skin, blood, bones, cartilage and other body chemicals and the immune system. Proteins are made up mainly of amino acids of which they are about twenty, nine of which are considered essential, mainly because they must be supplied by your diet. Proteins come from beef, pork, lamb, fish, chicken and eggs and also pulses and legumes such as beans and black eyed peas, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, almonds and Greek yoghurt. Proteins from these non-animal sources are low in fat and cholesterol and are full of fibre. A diet with a heavy concentration on animal protein often provides much more protein than the body needs and can be toxic, as meat is acid forming and an imbalance of acid/alkaline can lead to inflammation and disease. Vegans and vegetarians should vary their diet regularly, as plants do not contain the full amounts of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Varying the types of vegetables and herbs means that what is not available in one vegetable is made up for by another. Proteins have a high thermogenic effect that helps stimulate your metabolism. This is because it takes more calories to chew and digest protein than carbohydrates so proteins can help with weight loss.

index.jpg Coconut oil in jarFats provide your body with energy and also help with the assimilation of vitamins A, D, E and K. It also insulates your body and the fatty acids play a role in brain development, blood clotting and the management of inflammation. They also help the body use proteins and carbohydrates more efficiently and when eaten make you feel more satisfied. There are three types of fats. Saturated fats are found in animal products (meat, milk) and are said to increase HDL “bad” cholesterol. Current thinking is that saturated fats that come from grass fed animals and free range chickens that are corn fed are quite healthy. However there are some saturated fats that are unquestionably beneficial to the body and help with the promotion of good health. One such fat is lauric acid from coconut oil. Trans- fats are formed when vegetable oils are hydrogenated to prolong their shelf life. They are found in processed and baked foods and are considered to be very unhealthy. Unsaturated fats are considered the healthiest of all and are derived mainly from fish (omega 3) nuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, mackerel, herring, salmon, avocados and olive oil. It is important when choosing unsaturated fats (oils) to avoid those that say “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated”.canstock5771099.jpg antioxidants

Vitamins are essential for good health. They help heal wounds, boost your immune system, help convert food into energy and repair damage to cells and lack of vitamins can result in the contraction of certain diseases. Vitamins can be fat soluble, meaning they should be taken with fat and can be stored in the body (A, D,E, K) or water soluble, those which cannot be stored in the body and need to be replenished ever so often (B, C). The exception is B12, which can be stored in the body. Vitamins are organic and can be broken down by heat, air and acid and become inactive as a result. They work in tandem with minerals but sometimes there can be an adverse interaction. For example, vitamin C helps your body absorb iron but can block its ability to absorb copper. You should get your daily requirement of vitamins from the foods you eat.

protein-diet-foodsMinerals mainly come into the body through food from all sources. They are categorized as major or minor (trace), depending on the amounts needed by the body for proper functioning. Major minerals like potassium, sodium and chloride help maintain the proper balance of water in the body. Trace minerals are needed by the body but only in small amounts. These are iron, zinc, manganese, copper, fluoride, chromium, selenium and molybdenum iodine. Of the trace minerals the most important are zinc, selenium, iron and copper all of which are found in a wide variety of foods. Minerals help our bodies to grow, develop and stay healthy. They are also used to build strong bones, convey nerve impulses, create hormones and keep our heartbeat normal. They work with vitamins to perform many functions in the body. Trace minerals carry out various tasks in the body. Iron, for example, carries oxygen throughout the body and zinc not only helps the blood to clot but bolsters the immune system as well and is essential for taste and smell.

free_8899134.jpg WaterWater is extremely vital and should be replenished daily. It is second only to air as an essential for life. Many processes in your body rely on it but you lose about two to three quarts of it daily through urination, sweating and breathing. You may only survive a week without water and if you were to lose 20% of your water you would die. It makes up about 60% of the male body and about 50% of the female body. Your blood is 83% water, your heart 79%, your muscle 75%, brain 75% and your skin 72%. Water helps to maintain body temperature, metabolize fat, cushions and lubricate organs, helps with digestion and flushes toxins from the body. Water, like carbohydrates, fats and protein is considered a macro-nutrient as it is vital for life.Fibre

Fibre is only derived from plant food and has many health benefits. It not only improves digestive health but helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and some cancers. There are two types, soluble and insoluble and a healthy diet should include both. Insoluble fibre passes through the gut undigested and helps to keep the bowels healthy, prevents digestive problems and as a result reduce the risk if colonic cancer. Good sources are coconut, nuts and bran. Soluble fibre can be digested and helps reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood. It bulks you up and helps with elimination. Water is essential here as it acts as a lubricant and prevents constipation.. Good sources of soluble fibre are sweet potato, bananas, apples barley and carrots. The flesh of the coconut is probably the best source of insoluble fibre although the woody parts of herbs are also good sources. There are some foods like sweet potato and green bananas that provide both soluble and insoluble fibre. Fibre also provides food for the good bacteria in your gut.