- Diet & Weight Loss
Weight Loss Programs
There is so much to learn about food and nutrition. You may think you are doing right by your diet only to find that it is actually detrimental to your overall health.
Getting the necessary nutrients from your diet has become increasingly difficult. We can turn to nutritional supplements, but research has consistently shown that fresh food is usually our best source of valuable nutrients.
Things you should know to maximize the availability of needed nutrients in your diet:
Iron: This mineral is critical for brain function and also helps your immune system function by increasing your resistance to stress and disease. Iron can help you avoid symptoms of fatigue, weakness, irrititability.
Although some tout the benefits of being a vegetarian or a plant based diet, plant foods are rarely a good source of iron. Even though spinach is a good source of magnesium, vitamin K and other nutrients, the fiber and plant chemicals in the spinach leaf bind to iron, inhibiting the mineral's availability.
Look for dark meat products, like beef or dark turkey meat. They are the best sources of iron.
Zinc: This mineral is essential for a healthy immune system. Red meat, nuts (almonds and walnuts) and poultry are good sources of zinc.
Magnesium: This vital mineral is necessary for heart health, blood sugar control and strong bones. Up to 75% of Americans do not get enough magnesium in their diet.
Calcium: Sardines are an excellent source of calcium as well as dairy foods. Skim milk is not recommended because vitamin D is diminished when you remove all the fat from milk. Leafy green vegetables are advocated for calcium, but these foods do not provide ample amounts of this mineral that the body needs.
Selenium: This cancer-fighting mineral is best obtained from whole-grain wheat bread and cereals.
Chromium: This mineral also helps control blood sugar levels but is poorly absorbed. It is suggested that everyone take a 200-mcg chromium supplement daily for general health. If you are diabetic, your doctor may suggest that you take even more.
Cartenoids: These are a group of 600 nutrients which are found in vegetables and fruits. One of them is lycopene which is found in tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit. This nutrient is helpful to prevent prostate cancer. Lutein and zeaxanthin are cartenoids which are found in dark green, leafy vegetables and corn, and may help fight against vision loss in people over age 65 from macular degeneration. Carotenoids are fat-soluable nutients which require some dietary fat for optimal absorption. It is best to take them with olive oil or low-fat salad dressings. Cooking vegetables breaks the cell walls increasing the bioavailability of many nutrients, so steaming or lightly simmering vegetables is recommended. Adding tomatoes to sauces helps to maximize the amount of cancer-fighting lycopene.
Protein: Although this protein is found in lunch meats, such as ham and bologna, these foods usually contain high levels of sodium and harmful fillers with preservatives known as nitrates. Poultry, fish, eggs and meat are the best sources of protein. Beef should be prepared medium rare for the maximum bioavailability of nutrients. Whey protein powder can be easily added to a smoothie and contains protein. If there is an allergy to whey, soy powder can be used.
In conclusion, if you are considering a diet, make sure that you get enough nutrients from the foods that you do eat, otherwise your health with diminish. Certain foods have nutrients and minerals that help the body fight disease and help it build itself, and the more you know about them, the better off you will be.