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Healthy  HEALTHY FOOD

Healthy HEALTHY FOOD

Eat what is good for you!

Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, probably is the best-known vitamin and a very powerful antioxidant.

Antioxidants can block some of the damage caused by free radicals. The free radicals occur naturally when our body transforms food into energy. Those radicals are said to be responsible for the ageing process and the development of health conditions such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis.

Vitamin C boosts the immune systems and helps maintain healthy collagen in the skin, repair damaged tissue and promote healthy teeth and bones. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient not only for humans but for certain animal species too.

As vitamin C is water-soluble and leftover amounts of it leave the body through the urine so that you need a continuous supply of it in your diet. But with a healthy diet this can easily be achieved. All fruits and vegetables contain at least some amount of vitamin C. Good sources of it are green and red peppers, sweet and white potatoes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, cabbage, winter squash, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and pineapples.

As the body cannot store it, vitamin C toxicity is very rare but an amount greater than 2,000 mg/day can lead to stomach upset and diarrhoea.

But there are several symptoms of vitamin C deficiency such as a decreased ability to fight infection, anaemia, a decreased wound-healing rate, nosebleeds, bleeding gums and gingivitis, dry and splitting hair, dry skin and even a possible weight gain because of slowed metabolism.

Anyway, as long as you eat a balanced diet containing a variety of foods including many fruits and vegetables you won’t have to take any vitamin C supplements.

Tags: Healthy, Vitamin, Vitamin C Posted in Vitamins and Minerals No Comments

Sage (Salvia officinalis) has not only a long tradition of culinary use, it was also used to preserve meat and was recommended to treat just about every know condition, from snakebite to mental illness.

Sage © Jörg Hempel/flickr.com

In medieval times sage was called ‘toute bonne’ in France, which means ‘all is well’. Modern research has shown that sage is not a panacea but can help reduce excessive perspiration, sore throats, premenstrual cramps, digestive problems and even high blood sugar. Sage has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Because of being a versatile herb, sage works well with other herbs like thyme, rosemary or basil. It can be used as an accompaniment to roast lamb or pork dishes and is commonly used in stuffing mixtures for roast poultry in the UK.

But you can also use it when barbecuing or grilling meat and vegetables. It can be used either fresh or dried and crumbled and even though both versions have a strong flavor, fresh sage is less bitter than dried sage. Fresh sage can also be placed in plastic bags and frozen. It should be used sparingly because it has a pungent flavour.

Sage is native to the Mediterranean region but has naturalised in many places throughout the world. Besides its culinary and medicinal use it is also often used as an ornamental garden plant because of its beautiful flowers.

Tags: Healthy, Herbs, Sage Posted in Healthy Herbs No Comments

Like many other minerals calcium is essential to maintaining body health. It keeps your bones and teeth strong, ensures proper functioning of muscles and nerves and helps your blood clot.

If you are not getting enough calcium every day, the body ‘borrows’ it from the bones and the risk osteoporosis increases. Calcium deficiency can also be a possible cause of hypertension or colon cancer. Research also suggests that enough calcium in your diet makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight.

Milk © Tambako the Jaguar/flickr.com

Good sources of calcium are milk, cheese and other dairy products as well as green leafy vegetables, soy beans, tofu and soy drinks with added calcium.

If you use calcium supplements to prevent or treat calcium deficiencies, you should make sure that vitamin D is added, as vitamin D is converted to a hormone that helps enable calcium to pass from the digestive system into blood and bones.

Calcium carbonate is not only the most common but also the least expensive calcium supplement and should always be taken with food. And taking magnesium with it might help to avoid constipation, some people might develop.

Calcium citrate can more easily be digested and absorbed and can be taken without food. But it also is more expensive.

Tags: Calcium, Healthy, Minerals, Vitamin D Posted in Vitamins and Minerals No Comments

As fat is an important part of a healthy diet you should make sure to eat fat that is good for you.

Many fats can actually reduce the risk of heart diseases and stroke and also help our sugar and insulin metabolism. But of course not all fats are created equal.

‘Good’ fats include monounsaturated fats that can be found in olive and canola oils, peanuts, other nuts, peanut butter and avocados. Monounsaturated fats lower total and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) while maintaining levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) The LDL cholesterol accumulates in and clogs artery walls, whereas the HDL cholesterol carries cholesterols from artery walls to the liver for disposal.

Polyunsaturated fats found in seafood like salmon, fish oil but also corn, soy, safflower and sunflower oils, walnuts, almonds and macadamia nuts also lower total and LDL cholesterol. Omega 3 fatty acids belong to this group too and they might even help prevent arthritis, asthma, colitis and cardiovascular deaths.

‘Bad’ Fats are saturated fats as they raise total blood cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and are mainly found in animal products such as fatty red meats and dairy products. But also some plant foods like coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil are high in saturated fats.

‘Very bad’ fats and worse than saturated fats are trans fats. They were invented to hydrogenate liquid oils to provide a better shell life for food products. Trans fats are found in margarine, package foods, chips, crisps, cakes, cake icings and biscuits. They are bad for not only for your blood vessels but also for your nervous systems and waistlines.

To reduce the intake of trans fats and saturated fats you should go natural and limit margarine, packaged foods and fast food. Cook with canola or olive oil instead of margarine or butter and bake broil or grill rather than fry. Use lower-fat version dairy and trim visible fat and skins from meat products.

Tags: Bad Fats, Cholesterol, Fat, Fats, Good Fats, Healthy Posted in Fats No Comments

Ginger is a knotted, thick, beige rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale and has been used as a medicine in Asia, India and Arabia since ancient times.

It can not only be used to treat stomach upset, diarrhoea and nausea and aid digestion, but also to help treat arthritis, colic diarrhoea and heart conditions. Ginger also contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols and many people with arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels.

But ginger is also valued around the world as an important cooking spice and helps treat cold symptoms as well as headaches, as it can promote healthy sweating.  It can be used either fresh or dried and ground to a powder.

The sweetly pungent taste of the fresh, juicy ginger makes it suitable for sweet and savoury dishes. It can also be cooked in sugar syrup, then dried and rolled in crystallised sugar. The dried ground ginger is more fiery.

You can use ginger finely chopped, grated, crushed to give juice or sliced. It can be added to curry pastes, fish dishes, squash soups and many more. Dry ginger is often used in baking.

Fresh ginger is of course superior in flavour and contains higher levels of gingerol. When purchasing fresh ginger make sure it is firm, not wrinkled and free of mould. Unpeeled it can be stored in the fridge for up to three weeks. Dry ginger quickly loses its pungency when ground and you should keep it in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place.

You can easily make ginger lemonade by combining grated ginger, lemon juice honey and water. It is not only very tasty but also very healthy. And combining ginger, tamari, olive oil and garlic makes a splendid salad dressing.  Ginger is also often used in puddings, jams, preserves and drinks like ginger beer or ginger wine and tea.

Tags: Dry Ginger, Fresh Ginger, Ginger, Gingerols, Healthy Posted in Healthy and Spicy No Comments

Oatmeal is not only a very healthy food product with good carbohydrates, protein and low fat, it has also been proved to lower cholesterol.

So eating a bowl of oatmeal is the perfect way to start your day as long as it is not the instant kind which is full of sugar. Only use the real stuff, the plain oat flakes.

Oatmeal with Fruit © kthread/flickr.com

Oats, and therefore oatmeal as well of course, are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fibre.

The insoluble fibres attack certain bile acids and reduce their toxicity, which is good to prevent cancer.

Soluble fibre can not only reduce the bad LDL cholesterol without lowering the good HDL cholesterol, it also slows down the digestion of starch, which can be beneficial to diabetics. When the digestion of starch is slowed down the sharp rises in your blood sugar level, following a meal, are avoided.

When the soluble fibre passes through the digestive tract, it forms a gel that traps some substances related to high cholesterol. This way it is reducing the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream.

It has also been found that people who eat more oats are less likely to develop heart disease.

Besides that oats are a good and healthy source of vitamin B and E, zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium and protein.

As oatmeal has a pretty bland taste you should make it with milk instead of water, which is also a good way of adding calcium and even more protein. Instead of sugar you can add Stevia powder or fruit such as blueberries or raspberries to sweeten it up.

For health reasons you should eat a cup of cooked oatmeal each morning. Your body will thank you for it.

Tags: Cholesterol, Health, Healthy, Oatmeal, Oats, Protein Posted in Healthy Cereals No Comments

Food is our main source of energy and therefore should be healthy.

It is really important to know what we eat and what is good for us, because eating is of course one of the most important events in our life.

Vegetables and Fruit © karimian/flickr.com

These days far too many people live on fast food and the knowledge of what our body needs gets lost. Many children (and adults) hardly ever eat vegetables or fruit and ready meals are more popular than any home made dish.

We do not only forget what natural food tastes like but we also forget what variety of foods we have when cooking ourselves.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying fish and chips or a hamburger from time to time but that shouldn’t become your main source of nutrition.

The results, besides being overweight, then could be high cholesterol, heart diseases or diabetes.

As long as you are young you might not even notice that fast food isn’t doing you any good, but the problems will arise when you get older, and then it is even harder to fight them.

So make sure that you eat healthy food to stay healthy. And once you got used to it, you might even find out that it tastes much better than any ready meal.

Tags: Food, Health, Healthy, Healthy Food Posted in Uncategorized No Comments

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