food and nutrition …

What are Vitamins? Vitamins are organic compounds which are needed in small quantities to accomplish mighty tasks and enable the metabolism of other nutrients. Vitamins, are sometimes taken in as an active form, and sometimes in their inactive form known as a precursor and once in the body are chemically transformed to their active form. Vitamins are available in two forms: water soluble and fat soluble.

Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin available to us in the active form and as a precursor in the form on beta carotene. Vitamin A is needed in the body to perform various functions, namely:

  • Essential for eye sight
  • Regulation of gene expression
  • Skin and body linings
  • Immunity
  • Bone growth and development

The RDA of Vitamin A is between 700 and 900 micro milligrams a day and excess amounts can easily be consumed as well as a deficeny  occuring. A toxicity can easily build up if you consume much more than you need and you don’t have normal liver and kidney functioning to excrete the excess.  Toxicity can lead to

  • Headaches
  •  skin rashes
  •  hair loss
  • deformalities in babies

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 A lack of Vitamin, however, can also lead to major complications such as:

  • Night blindness
  • Keratinisation and xerophthalmia

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  • Dry, cracked skin
  • Rickets
  • Impaired immunity 

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Vitamin A rich foods which supply the body with the active form are:

  • Liver
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Eggs

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And foods rich in the in active precursor form are:

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Carrots
  • Apricots
  • Sweet potato

Happy eating 🙂

 

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Imageover the years we may have encounteterd monkeys, wether they stealing food out of your car or doing something weirdly disgusting, but the fact remains that when it comes to nutrition, they were spot on woth their bananas.

Bananas are age old and is a common household fruit, either used as a snack or in cakes and desserts, and athough we know they good for us we often overlook their real value. Below are some of their health benifits

1. Reducing Depression

Bananas contain tryptophan, an aminoacid that can be converted to serotonin, leading
to improved mood

2. Anemia

Bananas are relatively high in iron, which helps the body’s hemoglobin function

3. Constipation and Diarrhea

Due to their content in fiber, they help restore a normal bowel function. In
addition, diarrhea usually depletes your body of important electrolytes (of which the
most important is potassium, contained in high amounts in bananas). They also contain
pectin, a soluble fiber that can help normalize movement through the
digestive tract.

4. Healthy Bones

Bananas are an exceptionally rich source of fructooligosaccharide, a compound
that nourishes probiotic bacteria in the colon. These beneficial bacteria
produce enzymes that increase our digestive ability and protect us from unhealthy
bacteria infections. Thanks to fructooligosaccharides, probiotic bacteria can increase
both in number and functionality, increasing our body’s ability to absorb calcium.
In addition, green bananas contain indigestible short chain fatty acids that are
very nutrient to the cells that make up the mucosa of the stomach. These cells, when
healthy, absorb calcium much more efficiently

5. Healthy Kidney

Research published in the International Journal of Cancer has shown that daily
consumption of whole fruits and vegetables, especially bananas, is highly protective to
kidney health.  Results show that, over a long timeframe, women eating
more than 2.5 servings of fruits and vegetable per day cut their risk of kidney cancer by
40%. Among the fruits, bananas were especially protective. Women eating bananas four to six times a week halved their risk of developing the disease compared to those who did not eat this fruit. The conclusion of the study is that frequent consumption of fruits
and vegetables, especially bananas, cabbage and root vegetables, may reduce risk of
kidney cancer. This is because bananas and many root vegetables contain especially high
amounts of antioxidant phenolic compounds.

7. Blood Pressure

Bananas are extremely high in potassium, yet very low in sodium ,thus having a perfect ratio for preventing high blood pressure.

8. Heartburn

Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn,
try eating a banana for soothing relief.

9. Morning Sickness

Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood-sugar levels up and avoid
morning sickness.

10. Smoking

Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. They contain vitamins B6 and
B12, as well as potassium and magnesium. These substances help the body
recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

11. Ulcers

This is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicle
cases. It also helps reduce acidity and reduces irritation. Bananas stimulate the cells
on the internal stomach lining to produce a thicker mucus (which protects against acid).
Additionally, bananas contain protease inhibitors that help eliminate bacteria in
the stomach that have been pinpointed as a primary cause of ulcers.

12. Nerves

Bananas are high in B vitamins that have been shows to improve nerve function

13. Mosquito Bites

Many people report that rubbing the inside of a banana peel on a mosquito bite is
very effective in reducing itching and swelling

14. Stress Relief

Bananas are high in potassium, which helps normalize the hearthbeat and regulate the
body’s water balance. During periods of high stress, our body’s potassium levels tend to
be rapidly depleted: eating bananas is a healthy way to rebalance them without using
drugs

15. Stroke Risk

According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part
of a regular diet can reduce the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%

Passion Player

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To settle the confusion, passion fruit and granadillas are one and the same. There are, however many varieties available.  The purple granadilla is native to South Africa but is thought that the more common variety actually originated from South America. The seeds were then taken over to Australia and Hawaii and today they are popular in most domestic gardens.

Granadillas are a rich source of anti oxidants, minerals, vitamins and only contain 97 calories per 100g. They are also a good source of dietary fibre, both soluble and insoluble therefore they aid in lowering cholesterol and improving bowel movements. They are especially rich in vitamin C, A and potassium.

When selecting granadillas, choose fully developed ones which are lighter purple in colour and slightly shrivelled skin as this indicates sweetness. When storing, wash, dry and store in a cool dark place where they should last for up to two weeks. It is best to buy in bulk during season as they are cheaper. Extend their shelf life by scooping out their pulp and freezing in ice trays.

Try out this amazing granadilla and white chocolate ganache.Ideal for cupcake and cake toppings.

3 slabs (180g each) white chocolate

250ml cream

80ml granadilla pulp

10ml grated orange peel

 

Break chocolate into a large heatproof pan and add cream. Heat over a pot of simmering water until chocolate starts to melt. Stir to combine it into a thick mixture. Add granadilla pulp and grated orange peel and mix well. Cover bowl with cling wrap and set aside until firm before icing.

Enjoy 🙂

Positive Aspects of a Vegetarian Diet

Today, scientist can state with confidence that well chosen vegetarian diets can meet nutrient needs whilst still supporting health superbly. Such evidence is not easy to obtain though. It would be easy of every vegetarian just cut out mean, but it’s not that easy as seen in part 1 of Meat eaters vs. Vegetarians. Certain significant been found and stated below.

Defence against Obesity
Both men and woman and across and across ethnic groups, vegetarians are found to maintain a healthier body weight than meat eaters. There is no clear sought out reason yet, but the diet speaks for itself. A vegetarian diet is often higher in carbohydrates and fibre and lower in calorie protein, total fat, cholesterol and saturated fat

Defence against heart Disease
Vegetarians are at lower risk of heart disease because of their limited intake of saturated fats which is directly related to heart disease risk. Also with a diet higher in fibre, it’s an added bonus to blood lipids. Studies also show that when soy sources replace animal protein, there is a small but significant decline in heart disease risk.

Defence against high blood pressure
Vegetarians tend to have a lower blood pressure and rates of hypertension due to having a proper body weight which helps maintain a healthy Blood pressure. In addition, the diet is lower in saturated fat and higher in fibre. However, lifestyle factors also affect it: smoking and alcohol increase blood pressure and physical activity decreases blood pressure.

Defence against Cancer
Vegetarians have significantly lower rates of certain cancers, such as colon cancer. Colon cancer is seen to be less apparent amongst people who follow a plant based diet. Colon cancer risk appears to increase with moderate to high intakes of
– alcohol
– total food energy
– well cooked red meat and processed meats (excluding fish and poultry)
– low intakes of whole grains
A diet low in veggies and high in red meat are also associated to stomach and breast cancer.

In addition to the above factors, vegetarian diets also help prevent type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, diverticular disease, constipation and gall stones. However, it is important to remember that these factors are dependent on what fruits, vegetables and legumes are consumed rather than what foods are omitted.
Happy eating 🙂

“Dripping blood, flesh, muscle fibre and bone”- these are the words that come to mind when I think of meat, red meat in particular.

About 7 years ago I decided to stop eating red meat, for no particular apparent reason. I was young and naïve and convinced that red meat makes you fat, so in order to lose weight I’ll have to stop eating red meat. Needless to say, I’m older and wiser (or so I’d like to think)

So, today, 7 years later, I don’t eat red meat, processed meats, fish and chicken on the bone…so that leaves me with chicken fillets only. The reason for this is: Fish doesn’t look like they meant to be eaten, red meat is just gross and if it wasn’t for a really badly cooked chicken I was made to eat (that still had traces of fresh blood on the bone), fillet chicken is all I’m eating. So, being “older and wiser” and still no concrete valid reason for not eating meat, I’ve decided to clue myself up on vegetarian terms and the benefits of my eating arrangements, through a series of upcoming blogs…

Terms used to describe vegetarians and their diets

1. Fruitian – includes only raw/dried fruit, seed and nuts in their diet.
2. Lacto-ovo-vegetarian – includes dairy products and eggs, excludes flesh and seafood
3. Lacto vegetarians – includes dairy, excludes flesh, seafood and egg
4. Macrobiotic diet – a vegan diet consisting mainly of whole grains, beans and certain vegetables
5. Ovo vegetarian – include eggs, excludes flesh, seafood and milk products
6. Partial Vegetarian – an eating style, but only excludes or strictly limits certain meats, i.e. Red meat
7. Pesco vegetarian – the same as partial vegetarian but excludes poultry
8. Vegan – only includes food from plant sources
9. Vegetarian – includes plant based foods and eliminates some or all animal derived food

Happy eating vegetarians 🙂

Why do people take protein supplements? Athletes take it to build muscle. Dieters take it to lose weight and preserve lean tissue, and some woman take it to strengthen their hair and finger nails. Some people also take individual Amino Acids ( which are the building blocks of protein) to cure herpes, sleep better and to relieve pain and depression. BUT, do these supplements really work on their own? Probably not. Are they safe? Probably not!  The exception to this rule is that if administered by a skilled practitioner and used correctly then a result is likely to be guaranteed.

Protein supplements are popular with athletes, but well fed athletes don’t need supplements. Many athletes think they need to increase their protein intake to increase muscle. This is also not always true. It is true that extra adequate protein is needed for muscle building and also true that consuming extra protein with resistance exercise helps build new proteins, thus muscle, but protein supplements do not improve performance beyond the gains of ordinary balanced meals.

Any excess protein must be metabolised which places a burden on the kidneys to excrete excess nitrogen which can result in kidney disease. Excess protein that is not used up through exercise will result in it being stored and causing weight gain.

Individual amino acids, such as lysine which has been claimed to prevent herpes is not true. It is also not safe to use for any herpes related infection, as scientific evidence is lacking. Tryptophan, another amino acid has been advertised to relieve pain, depression and insomnia. Tryptophan is directly related to serotonin which is an important regulator of sleep, appetite and sensory perception. High doses of tryptophan can induce sleepiness bur also include unpleasant side effects.

The body is designed to handle whole proteins and can under normal circumstances, survive completely fine on dietary intake only. Listen to your body, it knows best..Happy eating and training:)