Everyday nearly there is some survey or study in the news. Often the headline is misleading and you need to read the article to get the truth or even read between the lines. You then have to use your own knowledge as to whether you agree or disagree or whether you should take notice of the article. A bit like these blogs really!
A Canadian study came out with the fact that the elderly are at risk of quicker mental decline if they consume too much salt and take too little exercise. A high salt diet is also given as a risk for heart problems, so there have been plenty of warnings about excessive salt consumption.
A diet high in sodium combined with little exercise was detrimental to cognitive performance of older adults. Low sodium intake and a sedentary lifestyle showed no detrimental effect. The elderly often have poor taste buds and find it harder to exercise. They take added salt to compensate for the poor taste buds. They should be made more aware of alternative flavourings like herbs and spices. Also adding salt is often a habit – like having a biscuit with your cup of tea.
The answer should be eat less salt and take more exercise. Though salt content is more likely to be from processed foods and snacks than added salt. Six slices of bread can contain over 3 gm or 1/2 tsp of salt. Then there are crisps, snacks, ham, bacon, cheese, butter etc plus the processed foods. So often there is little choice or realisation that you are eating so much salt. When cutting down you think of reducing added salt – not changing your diet.
Our bodies need salt. Our body is made up of about 60% water and that is salt water – just taste your own sweat. It is no good cutting all salt and salt products. Changing to a more natural diet, such as the nutrition diet I advocate, with little or no processed or junk food can help reduce salt intake. Using sea salt with a mixture of minerals also helps or changing to ‘low sodium’ salt and where possible taking more exercise will be a benefit.
You can read more about the nutrition diet in my book The Nutrition Diet and Recipe Book available free at www.obooko.com (under the heading Health and Self Improvement). Also in the book is an Annex on Diet and Old Age.
We are often being told by the news, magazines, or on television how we should be eating healthier. Regularly this includes the latest superfood that is a must and can solve all our nutrition problems. It may be as common as broccoli or more often some unusual tropical fruit that costs a fortune. In reality any food that is wholesome, fresh and full of nutrients is a superfood. Fruits and vegetables – broccoli, apples, prunes, berries, carrots, cabbage, etc. Nuts and seeds, peas and beans and even an egg is a superfood as far as nutrient content goes. Though you should not eat more than maybe 4 or 5 eggs a week.
You don’t need to spend a fortune or chase after some overpriced berry to have a healthy nutritious diet. The Nutrition Diet is one way of following a healthy diet and making nutrient content the basis of your diet. Even the experts are getting on the nutrition food bandwagon. Even to restaurants are getting on the superfood bandwagon and producing nutritionally balanced dishes – gourmet health food as they put it. (At a price). This is good news and I am not the only one promoting nutrition as the basis of diet. But if you can’t afford to eat at a michelin starred restaurant you can still do simple things that enhance the nutrient content of your diet.
When you have soup add a handful of chopped coriander or parsley for added nutrients. Do the same with pizza or pasta, sprinkling the herbs on the top. The herbal and medicinal benefits of garlic can be gained by adding finely chopped raw garlic to vegetables, especially tasty when sprinkled on broccoli or brussel sprouts.
More sprinkles – this time seeds – sunflower, pumkin, sesame, etc added to salads and breakfast cereals. Also add seeds and raisins to coleslaw.
Save your vitamins from cooking vegetables by using the water used to cook the vegetables. Make soup or gravy with it or even cook your pasta in the vegetable water. And if you must throw it away, throw it on the garden. At least the vitamins and minerals will be added to the soil!!
Another way to add nutrients to a dish is to use spinach or even rocket as an extra to pasta dishes. While cooking your pasta, chop the spinach or rocket roughly and add to the boiling pasta. Some of the nutrients from the greenery will be absorbed and when you drain the pasta you have tasty pieces of greenery mixed with the pasta.
What else – add a squeeze of lemon juice to your glass of water, grate a little fresh ginger into your tea. Use your imagination and your own ideas to add nutrient quality to your food and make your own superfoods at little extra cost.
I am always going on about eating natural food as much as possible. Processed and junk food is devoid of nutrients and often contains too much salt, sugar and/or fats and too many chemicals from msg to petroleum based products. It is even more important for our children to receive food that is high in vitamins and minerals as they need these nutrients to help their growing up. In my nutrition diet I advocate more fruit and vegetables and natural whole foods and avoid processed and junk food. As an example chicken nuggets are a case in point – a children’s favourite but do we know what they are eating. The following is a recipe taken from Wikipedia (October 2010).
The chicken nugget is a small piece of white meat chicken held together with chicken breast. The pieces are then coated with batter, lightly fried, individually quick frozen, packaged, and sent to stores where they are deep-fried and sold.
The ingredients are as follows: Chicken, water, salt, sodium phosphates. Battered and breaded with: bleached wheat flour, water, wheat flour, food starch-modified, salt, spices, wheat gluten, paprika, dextrose, yeast, garlic powder, rosemary, partially hydrogenated soybean oil and cottonseed oil with mono- and diglycerides, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, ammonium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate), natural flavor (plant source) with extractives of paprika. Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness).Dimethylpolysiloxane made of silicone is added as an antifoaming agent.
This last chemical added to the mix is also described as follows: Dimethylpolysiloxane is an important component in Silly Putty, to which PDMS imparts its characteristic viscoelastic properties. The rubbery, vinegary-smelling silicone caulks, adhesives, and aquarium sealants are also well-known. PDMS is also used as a component in silicone grease and other silicone based lubricants, as well as in defoaming agents, mold release agents, damping fluids, heat transfer fluids, polishes, cosmetics, hair conditioners and other applications. PDMS has also been used as a filler fluid in breast implants, although this practice has decreased somewhat, due to safety concerns.
It is not safe for breast implants but is ok in food. The answer is to eat fresh food and even better organic. If you buy processed food look at the labels, though you may need a science degree and a magnifying glass. An easy guide is to avoid buying any packet that has more than five ingredients besides the food content. Even better follow the nutrition diet as described in my FREE book ‘ The Nutrition Diet and Recipe Book’ which can be downloaded free from www.obooko.com (under the heading Health and Self Improvement).
We don’t just need food to satisfy ourselves and our hunger. The cells of the body also need nutrition. The body develops from a single cell and every part of our body is a collection of cells continually dying, being replaced, being repaired and maintained. The nutrients we get in our food have to be sufficient for cells to carry out this work as they are essential to our being.
Each cell has a nucleus containing the body’s DNA. Chromosomes are clusters of DNA molecules in a cell containing 1000′s of genes. Each cell contains 46 chromosomes in 23 pairs. Genes carry the genetic code for the formation of the body and every gene is a tiny piece of DNA.
Chromosomes are therefore part of our genetic make up. Shortages of nutrients causes cell damage including breaks in the chromosomes, which leads to disease. Folic acid is one nutrient needed for DNA repair and other nutrients also work at a cellular level providing the nutrients needed. We therefore need to be aware of the importance of a nutrient rich diet. Not just to feed us on a general level but also to supply the nutrients that are necessary for the very basics of our being – the cells.
If the cells don’t get the food needed they can’t operate properly and disease is more likely. The lack of nutients goes unnoticed until it is too late and the damage is done. This is one of the reasons that we should all be following a nutrient rich diet now, as a preventative measure and to help ensure a long and healthy life.
You can learn how simple it is to follow a nutrition based diet in my free book The Nutrition Diet and Recipe Book available as a free download at www.obooko.com under the heading Health and Self Improvement.
Meal in a Soup (5 -a – day Soup)
We keep getting told to eat 5 – a – day fruit and /or vegetables and with this soup you can get your 5-a-day!
3 large carrots roughly chopped
1 large onion roughly chopped
4 sticks of celery roughly chopped
2 large potatoes diced into small pieces
1/2 savoy cabbage shredded
l large leek sliced thinly
400gm tin of chopped tomatoes
400gm tin of butter beans (or beans of your choice)
5 oz spaghetti broken into small pieces
2 cloves of garlic crushed
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp olive oil
2 ltrs (3.5 pints) vegetable stock
Put carrots, onion, celery, leek into food processor and process into small pieces.
Heat olive oil in pan and add vegetables, potato and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until softened.
Stir in tomato puree, stock and tomatoes.
Bring to boil then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add beans and pasta and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Add cabbage and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Season and serve with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil (optional) and fresh crusty wholemeal bread.
You will find more healthy recipes and full details of the nutrition diet in my free book available free at www.obooko.com (under Health and Self Improvement)
Your Body Needs Food – but even if you do the right thing and follow the rules and try to eat a nutritious diet rich in vitamins and minerals it may not be enough. There are many things that stop vitamins and minerals being absorbed and doing the job they were meant to do.
You don’t get told about the anti nutrients that block or rob you of nutrients. On top of that their are many reasons why your food lacks nutrients. The biggest loss of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals takes place during food processing and refining. Wheat germ and bran are rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. They are all lost during the production of white flour. Likewise raw sugar is rich in nutrients and again they are lost in processing to produce white sugar.
Whether it is farming methods, food processing and food storage or chemicals, pesticides, toxins, medicines, (yes medicines that are supposed to make you well can also be vitamin robbers), alcohol, tobacco and traffic fumes, there are plenty of things that you need to be aware of and often don’t get told.
Even your lifestyle affects nutrient uptake:
Smoking, excessive alcohol and coffee, too much strong tea and lots of colas and fizzy drinks can have a bad influence on your vitamin and mineral levels. Smoking reduces Vitamin C, B Vitamins and zinc and copper, therefore smokers should be aware of the need for extra vitamins. Tea and coffee reduces absorption of iron and zinc. Alcohol uses up vitamins, especially the B vitamins essential for many processes including the nervous system and to help in energy metabolism. Depriving the body of essential nutrients means that there could be a need for extra vitamins.
Exercise – lack of exercise causes loss of calcium, especially in the elderly. Conversely too much exercise depletes your store of nutrients which is why athletes and sportsmen need to have a nutrient rich diet. Is the keen jogger or gym user aware of this fact or advised on diet.
Diet – processed foods, e.g. those foods full of white sugar and white flour have little or no nutrient value. Too much salt as well as affecting blood pressure also causes loss of calcium and potassium. Too much saturated fat depletes magnesium. High protein diets, too much salt and sugar, too much tea, coffee and fizzy drinks, too much alcohol and a lack of vitamin D can all increase the loss of calcium from the bones or reduce the amount which is absorbed from food.
Then there are the medicines – both over the counter and prescription medicines can be bad for nutrition. But does your doctor explain all this – not often. Here are some of the more common drugs. ALWAYS ask your doctor about any medication prescribed and its affect on nutrition.
Aspirin – affects vitamins A B and C as well as calcium and magnesium.
Antacids – interfer with the absorption of vitamins A and B complex vitamins as well as calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorous. Antacids that contain aluminium interfer with the absorption ofVitamin D.
Antibiotics – Many of us will perhaps know about the need to take a course of probiotics if prescribed antibiotics which as well as killing the infection/bacteria prescribed for also kill the friendly gut flora, which then needs replacing. But this also interfers with vitamins B and K.
Anticonvulsants – Interfer with the absorption of vitamins B6, D and K as well as folic acid. These drugs are normally taken for long periods to treat such things as epilepsy but also used for other problems including migraine.Since all these vitamins are important to health, higher doses may be needed.
Anti inflammatories – Widely used both over the counter and on prescription affects many vitamins and minerals including folic acid, iron, vitamins C and B12 and calcium.
Cholesterol medication – can interfer with absorption of iron, betacarotene, vitamins A, D and K and folic acid. Not always necessary either as diet can cure high cholesterol in many cases.
Cortisone – treatments reduce potassium, and vitamins A, C, D and B vitamins.
Diuretics – deprive the body of B vitamins, potassium, magnesium and zinc.
Laxatives – when used regularly, lower calcium levels, iron and Vitamins A, D and E.
The Pill – adversely affects folic acid, vitamins C, E and B complex. The pill also affects the gut flora. Do all the women on the pill get advise on the affects of the pill and nutrition.
Anti depressants, Sleeping pills, Tranquillizers – Sleeping pills affect the uptake of vitamin D which is being reported as more important to our health. Anti depressants interfer with B2 and zinc and magnesium. To show how you need to be aware of the importance of nutrition, people with chronic fatigue (which can be caused by zinc deficiency) are often prescribed anti-depressants which lower zinc levels even more and yet are supposed to help!
So it is all very complicated or so it appears. Interferance with vitamin and mineral absorption, nutrient robbery and lack of nutrients in food mean that vitamin deficiency can creep up without warning. The last thing you need if you are already having to take medication for an existing illness. Make sure you question your doctor – don’t get fobbed off. If you are ill it is almost certainly a good idea to take a good multi vitamin in any case as you may not be eating as normal. Even when well you may need to make up your own mind about your nutrient uptake. If in doubt seek advice and get all the information you can. The Nutrition Diet is always a good start and can be adopted gradually and is a diet for life. You can get a free copy of my book The Nutrition Diet and Recipe Book as a FREE download at www.obooko.com (under Health and Self Improvement).
If after all this you think you might need a supplement have a look at the additional information on supplements in my earlier blog.
You don’t always get the right advice whether it is about diet, nutrition or health. Even expert advice may turn out to be wrong or misleading. You need to be aware of your own health and understand your bodies needs. If you think there is something wrong seek advice but if you don’t get better or think the advice is wrong for you get another opinion. Not always easy, but there is also plenty of information available today, whether on diet, nutrition, food medicines or health. There are lots of books, magazines and of course the internet. But like anything else there is good and bad information, so don’t believe everything you read. It is not all correct advice. Some is only opinion and what works for one person may not work for another. But the message is be suspicious and sceptical and question everything until you are happy with the answers.
A good example of wrong advice was highlighted recently in the Daily Mail health section with the story of a woman with high blood sugar levels and in danger of diabetes. The normal advice has been to follow a high carbohydrate and low fat diet. The diet recommendation however was not actually aimed at curing or helping the diabetes problems. Though that was not admitted and the impression was that the diet was to help diabetics. Diabetics are more prone to heart attack so the low fat, high carbohydrate diet was aimed at preventing heart attacks rather than helping the illness.
To my way of thinking it is wrong to ignore the causes of an illness. Surely if you tackled the illness the secondary problems (in this case heart attack) would also be lessened. So distorted thinking. It is the same as being given pain killers for headache instead of finding the cause of the headache – or at least trying. I knew someone with diabetes and after being fed up with no prospect of getting better took matters into his own hands and cut out every type of foods with sugar. Drastic measures and not necessarily advisable but it worked for him. He could not see why he should be taking more insulin to balance the excess of sugars in his diet, so he did away with the excess sugars.
There has now been a change of thinking about diet advice for diabetics, although it is still not widely known. Better late than never. It is even thought in some circles that the traditional high carb diet recommended for diabetics could actually make matters worse.
There are any number of stories and reports about a healthy diet and/or exercise curing this or that illness. No doubt true but it doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for you. We are all different and what works for one person may not work for another. The main thing is to keep trying and find what works for you and don’t accept the status quo. You can find more on healthy eating in my book ‘The Nutrition Diet and Recipe Book’ available for download free at www.obooko.com under Health and Self Improvement.
You can use any meat for this simple nutritious recipe. Use turkey, chicken or beef roughly cut in thin slices. You can also use left over meat as well.
Ingredients – for 2 people
300 grams turkey breast chopped/sliced
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 cloves chopped garlic
½ inch of chopped ginger
½ tspn mixed herbs
¼ tspn cayenne
2 large carrots
200 grams green beans
¾ cup brown rice
1 tspn turmeric
2 tomatoes chopped and skinned.
- Dice the carrots small and chop green beans about ½ inch in length and cook together until almost done. Drain liquid and KEEP the liquid for later. Put vegetables to one side.
- Put the rice in a pan and cover with water including the vegetable water which contains nutrients from the carrots and beans. (See rice cooking method for cooking brown rice). Add turmeric and tomato and bring to boil and cook until almost ready (al dente). Add the pre cooked vegetables and continue cooking until the rice is cooked. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
- While the rice is cooking put olive oil and a little butter in a pan and add onion, garlic and ginger and cook gently for a few minutes then add turkey pieces.Stir fry together adding the mixed herbs and cayenne until the turkey is ready.
Serve the rice and turkey together and you have an easy to cook healthy meal
You can find lots more healthy recipes in my book The Nutrition Diet and Recipe Book available free at www.obooko.com (under Health and Self Improvement)
Our bodies need fat to function but there is a lot of misunderstanding about what is fat. There are fat soluble vitamins (Vitamins A D E K) which are important for our health and well being, especially vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D are risk factors for infections, heart disease and kidney disease. New research indicates that we don’t get enough vitamin D in our diets. The main source is from fatty fish and cod liver oil and of course the sun. (But then we are told to cover up and slap on factor 50!!)
Fat is looked on as the killer in many diets. We are encouraged to eat low fat dairy and low fat spreads. Then we have saturated fats (bad??), polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats and trans fats (definitely bad) and lots of confusing and conflicting information about them all. I am not a scientist so will not start to explain the science of fats but give some idea of what I think and hopefully you can make up your own mind.
Why is it that consumption of all these ‘healthy’ low fat products goes up and up and at the same time so does heart disease and obesity and diseases associated with it. The low fat campaign coupled with the low cholesterol campaign surely means we should all be healthier yet heart disease and obesity continues to rise. Yet most elder people – my parents included (and me in my youth) were brought up on fat – butter, red meat, lard, eggs etc full of saturated fats and cholesterol.
So what is good fat? Fats or lipids are found mainly in meat and dairy products plus vegetable sources such as nuts and seeds, olives and avacado which contain essential fatty acids. All are natural sources.
Vegetable oils are another source of fat but there is a question about a lot of vegetable oils as the original source of the oil is affected by the processing into oil. Unsaturated fats are monounsaturated fats (olive oil) and polyunsaturated fats (sunflower oil, corn oil, vegetable oils.). These are processed and tend to be unstable and sensitive to oxygen, light and heat. When heated they have toxic compounds including trans fats.
For decades now we have been told that saturated fats are bad for us and butter and other animal fats lead lead to heart disease and so we should be eating low fat spreads and vegetable oils. Yet despite this heart disease continues to rise along with the sales of these products.
The production of these low fat products and oils is big business and big profits for big business so they continue to advertise the supposed benefits. Making vegetable oils and margarine spreads is chemical processing and processed foods should be avoided where possible. This applies to any diet not just my nutrition diet. There are plenty of other choices, e.g. butter and olive oil.
The latest ideas backed by new research is now advocating going back to the old fashioned diets including fats as processed oils and fats are considered damaging by some experts. Animal fats and butter contain essential vitamins and nutrients. Some dairy products are also the same, yoghurt, cheese, cream (but not low fat).
I would go along with this and do include butter etc in my diet. Everything in moderation though. Also it all very well saying it is ok to eat red meat, offal, saturated fats and dairy products like our ancestors but times have changed. Our ancestors did not have to worry about what was in the meat or milk etc. Now we have hormones, anti biotics and animals fed unnatural foods. Milk is pasteurised and processed with fat removed leaving a watery liquid.
Our ancestors lifestyles were also different. They did not have all the other processed foods in their diet and usually had more exercise even if it was only manual labour, gardening and walking more when going about their daily business.
I would definitely say change to using butter. It has been proven that margerines and spreads can be damaging to our health, and where possible use olive oil – the best you can afford. Meanwhile eat meat and fat if you want but in moderation and make sure you know where it comes from – organic if possible. At the same time exercise more. That goes for any diet including The Nutrition Diet. In my book The Nutrition Diet and Recipe Book available free at www.obooko.com (download free) I also stress that more exercise has to be part of any diet.
180 gms (6/7 oz) of tinned chick peas
450 gm (1 lb) of potato and carrot – 1 large potato and 1 large carrot with total weight of 1lb
1 large clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
1 small onion
½ teaspoon of mixed spice
½ teaspoon of paprika
a pinch of mace (for that sausage flavour!)
salt and pepper to taste.
For covering, have ready flour, a beaten egg and breadcrumbs.
Cook the potato and carrot. Cook the onion till soft either in microwave or lightly fry but don’t let it brown.
Chop parsley and garlic
Drain and rinse the chick peas
Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mash together adding herbs and spices. Mix well.
Make into burger shapes and dust with flour, brush with beaten egg and coat with breadcrumbs.
Fry on both sides in olive oil with a little butter added until golden brown.
Serve with salad or vegetables of choice.
(I am not a vegetarian, but made these burghers for the wife of a friend when they came to lunch as she is a vegetarian and she said they were great. After trying one myself I had to agree!!)