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Is consuming foods rich in calcium enough for our bones

calcium for bones

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We all know how important the mineral calcium is for our bones. It is necessary for the growth of our bones and for maintaining the overall bone density in our body. Since early childhood parents push their kids to consume a diet rich in calcium. They want their children to have stronger bones during their growing age, as bones provide structural support to the body. Some children tend to grow faster than others, hence they require more calcium for their body.

Even adults require strong and healthy bone structure. If calcium consumption is less and more calcium is flushed out of the body, there is a great chance that the bones will become weak. This increases the chance of fractures on medium-strong impacts. Another problem is, that weaker bones will not be able to support the weight of the body and the overall structure. This can lead to muscles to have majority of impact on them in order to support the body structure. As a result there will be more stress on the muscles , especially the joint muscles (tendons, cartilage in joints). As a result these muscles will go under wear and tear at a higher rate, thus increasing the chance of joint injuries.

Spinal cord being the major bone structure supporting the back, needs a good supply of calcium for it’s over all strength and to maintain the over all posture of the body. A weaker spinal cord structure can cause excruciating pain in the back, making it difficult to stand, sit and even sleep. In humans, women tend to lose calcium faster than men. This is due to blood loss in women during periods, pregnancy and post menopause which is the major factor in late ages.

The real question is, “Does consuming calcium rich foods enough for our bones”?

No, just consuming calcium is not enough. The important thing is whether body is absorbing calcium from food for making the bones strong and to maintain their strength. Research suggests both men and women after the age of 35 start losing calcium from their body. If good calcium intake along with good calcium absorption doesn’t occur in the body, there are great chances of developing osteoporosis –  a disease in which the bone density decreases and chances of fractures increase, along with other joint problems. In order to overcome this our body needs a good supply of calcium along with good calcium absorption.

How to achieve higher bone density or higher bone mineral density?

Just like muscles need protein, our bones need calcium. In order to have stronger and bigger muscles, one need a diet rich in protein and should engage in regular exercises. If we only consume protein and do not engage in exercise, protein will not be absorbed by the body and will be flushed out quite easily. The same way calcium is absorbed by the body more often, when we exercise on a regular basis. Research suggests that weight-bearing exercises increase bone density and make bones heavier and stronger. According to the research (Dana L. CreightonAmy L. MorganDebra BoardleyP. Gunnar Brolinson, Journal of Applied Physiology, Published 1 February 2001, Vol. 90, Page no. 565-570), athletes involved in sports producing higher weight-bearing exercises have higher bone density mass as compared to sportsmen and sportswomen who were involved in less weight-bearing/resistance activity. This means both men and women along with their calcium diet should also engage in weight-bearing exercises from an early age to increase bone density, thus increasing the chances of stronger/healthier bones and reducing the chances of osteoporosis in the older age.

Another way to increase calcium absorption in the body is by consuming food rich in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is an important nutrient which helps in making our bones stronger by helping our bones to absorb more calcium. The good news is, that this nutrient is naturally available from Sun. All you have to do is spend at least half an hour to one hour a day in the Sun. Make sure you wear sun screen to protect your skin from damaging. Some of the foods rich in Vitamin D are fish, eggs, button mushrooms, oysters, caviar, etc. Now days you can find many fortified milk products to which Vitamin-D is added. Cod Liver is one of the most popular supplement for Vitamin D.

In conclusion, just consuming a rich diet of calcium is not good enough for our bones. One must consume foods rich in Vitamin D, spend time in the Sun and most importantly conduct in weight-bearing exercises for better calcium absorption, so to achieve higher bone density and have stronger bones. By doing this you are pushing away the common bone disease Osteoporosis.

Eat fresh and always stay healthy. A better health means a better life and less medical bills.

-EAT ALL FRESH 🙂

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Are you eating enough fibre

Goodness of fibre

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We often hear people saying, that fibre is good for the body and helps in weight loss. However they fail to mention, that why it is good for the body and how it helps to achieve weight loss. Fibre is one of the most important nutrients studied by doctors, nutritionists and dieticians. Also fibre has a great reputation in the world of ‘dieting and weight loss’. In recent years due to rising blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, fibre has become a focal point of interest for many research institutes and scientists.

So what is fibre?

Fibre or dietary fibre which is also referred as roughage(ruffage in American English) is simply the indigestible part of plant foods. Yes, fibre is never digested i.e. fibre is never broken down by the human body. Hence fibre has no calories.  As partially mentioned in one of my previous reads – ‘What carbohydrates you are eating, fibre is a type complex carbohydrate. However it is not digestible.

This characteristic of fibre raises an important question-If fibre doesn’t get absorbed by the body and doesn’t provide energy, why do we need it in our diet?

Just like carbohydrates fibre can be divided into two categories – Soluble fibre and Insoluble fibre.

Soluble fibre is a fibre that dissolves in water. Do not get confused, I said dissolved not digested. This fibre forms a gel like material after dissolving in water. Water carries this fibre through our body where it absorbs excess glucose from the food in small intestine, hence helping in removing excess glucose to stabilise blood sugar. Another great property of soluble fibre is that it absorbs bad cholesterol from the blood. The gel like material flowing through our blood sticks to cholesterol and leaves the body through waste removal.

Insoluble fibre is the type of fibre that does not dissolve in water. It rather acts like a sponge where it absorbs waste and become bulkier. Due to its characteristic of being non-digestive it leaves the body intact through intestines with all the absorbed waste. Its main purpose is to improve the movement of food through the digestive system and promote healthy removal of stool from the body.

Some great benefits of fibre rich diet

Soluble fibre helps in removing excess glucose from the blood. It stabilizes blood sugar thus keeping the energy level normal. As a result there is no pressure on pancreas to release excess insulin. As pointed out in the post – “What carbohydrates you are eating’’, excess insulin production in the body can make the body less sensitive towards insulin and increasing the chance of diabetes in the long run. Soluble fibre is recommended to prevent diabetes in people. Food rich in soluble fibre is also prescribed by doctors for diabetic patients.

A diet rich in fibre helps to maintain healthy bowel movement in the body. Insoluble fibre acts as a vacuum to absorb waste associated in the intestines. It accumulates the waste and form a bulkier state before leaving the body. This helps in preventing certain diseases related to constipation. If waste does not leave the body, it starts decomposing in the body due to reaction with bacteria. In some cases constipation can cause serious infection. Insoluble fibre helps in removing this waste.

As mentioned earlier soluble fibre helps in absorbing bad cholesterol from the blood. Bad cholesterol sticks to the artery walls and can damage the heart tissue or can even result in stroke. Research has suggested a diet rich in soluble fibre is very good for removing bad cholesterol from the blood.

Soluble bacteria due to its property of dissolving in water can help to aid the condition of diarrhoea. It solidifies the stool by absorbing water thus helping in smooth removal of toxic waste.

One of the greatest advantages of fibre is that it helps in losing weight. Soluble fibre absorbs water in the stomach thus making you feel full. Another reason is, that soluble fibre absorbs excess glucose from the blood thus lowering the state of insulin production. Due to this, energy is conserved in the body which makes you feel full for a longer time. It’s quite unlikely for a person to overeat when feeling full.

An indirect benefit of fibre is that its presence is usually accompanied with other complex carbohydrates that help in conserving and slowing down the release of energy. Hence a diet rich in complex carbohydrates is a diet rich in fibre.

Foods rich in fibre

Whole foods such as brown rice, brown bread, oats, bran, whole pasta, cauliflower, cucumber, zucchini, cabbage, carrots etc. are rich in insoluble fibre. Hence these foods can help in aiding constipation and help in healthy bowel movement.

Lentils, beans, carrots, apples, cucumbers, celery, strawberries, nuts, carrots, zucchini, cabbage, cauliflower etc. are rich in soluble fibre. Hence these foods are good for maintaining healthy blood sugar and removing bad cholesterol.

Some of the foods mentioned above are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fibre. It’s good to maintain a balance between the two. Hence foods rich in both should be considered on daily basis.

Daily healthy intake

According to study conducted by Institute of Medicine in 2012, men and women below fifty should consume at least 38 grams and 25 grams respectively. Above fifty men and women should consume at least 30 grams and 21 grams respectively. Most of the labels mention fibre content per serving on the pack. The good thing about fibre is unlike other nutrients it doesn’t get destroyed while cooking. It’s a good idea to include leafy greens in your cook and some salad on the side daily to maintain a good fibre balance in your diet.

One fun and interesting fact about fibre to think about: The human digestive tract is twenty-eight feet long. Fibre helps move waste along this large muscle.

Keep fresh and stay healthy 🙂

NAKUL BAJAJ


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What carbohydrates are you eating?

Whole Foods

In today’s fast paced environment not all of us are able to focus on our eating habits. We don’t pay attention to what we are buying and eating. We just consume food because food is necessary to keep us alive and keep our batteries charged. But did you know that some foods that are rich in carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, white pasta and some of the cereals; not only provide energy, but also add extra unnecessary calories to our diet. Not only that, but these foods are also responsible for creating insulin imbalance in our body. Why does this happen? Does it happen because these foods are rich in carbohydrates (sugar) and carbohydrates are bad for the body? The answer is no.

Carbohydrates are very important to our body and our day-to-day functioning. When they are absorbed in the body, they provide energy to the vital parts of the body. In their absence a person can feel very tired and brain is unable to process the simplest of tasks. However not all carbohydrates are good for the body. To differentiate there are two types of carbohydrates:

1. Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates are nothing but simple sugar. The reason they are called simple is because of their chemical composition of one to two sugar molecules. Simple carbohydrates due to their simpler chemical composition are broken down and digested quickly by the body, resulting in sudden rise of glucose (blood sugar) in the blood and quick release of energy. Due to higher level of glucose in blood, the body responds by producing excess insulin to remove extra glucose from blood and inhibit the release of further glucose. Eventually our body feels the lack of energy, therefore to refuel energy levels we tend to consume more food.

2. Complex Carbohydrates:

As compared to simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates instead of a simple chemical composition of one-two sugar molecules have a much more complex chained like composition of sugar molecules. Complex carbohydrates are broken down much slowly and absorbed by the body at a slower rate, thus resulting in slow and constant release of energy over a longer period of time. Hence our body stays fuller for a longer period of time while supplying constant energy to the body parts. As a reason we tend to consume lesser quantity of food.

Products such as white pasta, white rice, white bread and some cereals are processed foods. These processed foods contain simple carbohydrates due to added sugar and lack complex carbohydrates due to removed fiber.  As pointed out earlier that simple carbohydrates provide quick energy to our body, hence our body responds to them by releasing excess insulin to combat excess blood glucose. If consumed, can result in a state where body becomes less sensitive to insulin. In other words our body will not respond well to produce the amount of insulin needed to normalize blood glucose. As a result there is a change of hormonal activity in our body and the excess glucose starts converting in to fat.

In conclusion, over consumption of simple carbohydrates is bad for our body.  Due to change in insulin sensitivity one can develop a state of diabetes and other health problems such as high blood pressure, organ failure, etc.

Foods to consider

1. Whole foods: Foods such as brown rice, wholemeal bread, whole meal pasta, whole meal cereals/oatmeal cereals contain complex carbohydrates. Such foods will keep you fuller during the day and provide you with constant energy throughout. Many athletes are considering whole foods these days. Especially in longer format of games such as football, tennis and cricket one needs constant energy supply for healthy working of the body and brain.

2. Fresh fruits and vegetables: Fresh green vegetables and fresh citrus fruits are rich in fiber (complex carbohydrates) and other essential minerals for the goodness of body. These keep you full and satisfied during the day with constant energy. Some of the examples are: peas, carrots, broccoli, capsicum, mushrooms, etc. in vegetables; and grape fruit, oranges, apples, cherries, plums, etc. in fruits.  If cooking meat, add good quantity of steamed vegetables to the dish. You can also use vegetables in curries.

3. Legumes: Legumes such as lentils, chick peas, Lima beans, red kidney beans, etc. are a rich source of fiber. Legumes are also good sources of iron and folate. Due to their higher protein content, these take longer to digest thus keeping us full for a longer period of time. You can prepare lentil soups, prepare Mexican wraps, use them in salads, etc.

Mostly processed, packaged and canned foods contain simple carbohydrates. Consuming them on regular basis can really damage our body over time. If consumed, should be used in moderation. Adding more fresh and whole foods to the diet can offer greater health benefits, increase energy levels and can help in fat loss efforts.

Stay fresh and healthy.

– NAKUL BAJAJ