Just like everything else that we did, eating also requires brain function to distinguish what we eat?
Our brain is a complex system that combines perception, emotional feelings and knowledge. As many others, I believe in the power of knowledge. What do you know about your food?
I am a food scientist and I do not know all about our food. You might thought you knew it all but no one does. I have been following few food advocates and their amazing effort to reveal what is in our food. It is a real issue where food are indeed chemical-ized and the real challenge is to distinguish and define real food.
Many of us would define modern real food as the fresh foods such as vegetable, meat and fruits from our market. These food are previously obtained directly from farmers. In the past, way before Green Revolution, foods are made for the local market. There were no issues of mass production. There were nothing called genetic modified foods. There were just natural selections to grow food that everyone perceived as real foods. The argument of natural foods now include genetically modified crops on top of synthetic chemicals.
If I did not study food technology, I am not even aware of the processing of our modern real food. Fruits are being ripen through exposure of ethylene gas and made shine through the addition of wax. Meat are being raised with growth hormones (sometimes with antibiotic too) and nitrates remaining to keep the slaughtered meat safe. Vegetables that comes with pesticides and chemicals agents. These foods found its way to our food system.
The call for organic foods is perfectly normal. We needed something that we can be more confident to consume. Our food systems have gone to a stage where the definition of foods are continuously being challenged.
How real is your food? How about processed organic foods? Is it a real foods?- An argument that I like to leave you with.
Nutrients are not distributed equally across every foods. There is no foods that are made equal; that is what I called as genetic diversity.
Three common nutrient deficiencies that of concern are probably calcium, vitamin A and iron.
Our body internal bank. Calcium are important minerals that our body needs to strengthen bones and teeth. Calcium is also known as important signalling agents for nerve and muscle action. Calcium are absorbed into our body and deposited into the calcium bank. Most people do not realized that calcium is also need to regulate the body pH. For example, eating high acid food such as proteins and fatty acids would leach calcium out of bones, causing brittle bones.
Tip 1: High protein diet can cause calcium leach. Consume more calcium with high protein diet.
Calcium can be found mostly in dairy products such as cheese and milks. Calcium can also be found as fortified food to enhance calcium intake and storage.
Tip 2: Exercise help compact calcium into the bones.
Tip 3: Take calcium supplement suitable for you if you can not get them from food.
Common vitamin A sources are beef, liver, egg, shrimp, carrot, pumpkin, squash, spinach and mangoes.
There are distinct evidence that plant source vitamin A in the form of beta carotene are less effective compared to retinoid form of vitamin A found in animals product. Vitamin A deficiencies can bring night blindness and poor light adaptation. Vitamin A are also known to protect against cancer.
Vitamin A deficiencies can occur to vegetarian and vegan that are solely dependent on plant source to obtain their vitamin A.
Tip: Supplementation can help increase vitamin A. However, often supplementation leads to vitamin A overdose. Your skin can turn yellow if you have too much vitamin A. The condition is reversible by reducing your vitamin A intake.
Iron helps build our red blood cells and help them carry the oxygen throughout the body. Iron often are found in red meat, poultry and green vegetables such as spinach.
Similar to vitamin A, plant source iron are not readily usable by our bodies compared to animal source.
Tip 1: Our body can only use what it absorb. Vegetarian or vegan may opt to consume twice as much of the iron they need. Using iron based cooking pots can help increase the amount of iron consumption.
Tip 2: Women requires more iron (18mg) compared to men (10mg) because of the menstruation.
Tip 3: Excess iron intake (especially from supplementation) can be stored in our bodies cells and can be toxic.
On Monday, we talked about fat reduction and today, I am introducing some beneficial oils that we need to know.
Why add oil to our diet when the primary strategy for us is to eliminate oil. Oils are made different. There are different types of oil that we categorized based on its properties. There are the saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids and the omega categories.
The development of food science throughout the years allow us to learn what is the type of fat that would benefit us. We are discovering more and more about the food that we ate. For example, trans-fat were introduced and being used for years and in the recent year, we see tremendous reduction of trans-fat as we discover the adverse effect of changing the fat structure. Of course, you don't need to know why but just remember to look out for trans-fat in your label and make sure you are consuming low amount of trans-fat.
Let's discuss a little bit about saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Saturated fats are typically derived from animal fat while unsaturated fatty acid derived from plant based source.
Do you know the difference between fats and oil? Fats are solid, typically from saturated fatty acids. Oils are from unsaturated fatty acids.
The only problem with fat (animal based) is that you will see the frozen solid at room temperature. That is exactly how it is in our blood arteries. It leads to cholesterol deposition. Imagine having a solid fat deposit into our arteries, it is blocking our blood flow and I think it is scary to have a blockage in our arteries.
Unsaturated fats on the other hand, contribute to what we seen as polyunsaturated fatty acids- some people know them as good fats. They are not exactly good fats. Let me describe how it works. These polyunsaturated fatty acids need a good balance to function as good fats. Why are omega-3 fatty acids are always one of the top supplement list that everyone should consider taking? We ate too much omega-6 fatty acids from our vegetable oil and it creates unsaturated fatty acid imbalance in our body. The basic rule about omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is that these fatty acids have opposite properties. If omega-3 helps you to remove blood clotting, omega-6 fatty acids helps you clot your arteries. When you took too much omega-6 fatty acid, you will find that you need more omega-3 fatty acids to help clear your arteries due to omega-6 fatty acids. That is why I recommend taking omega-3 supplements plus reducing the omega-6 fatty acids at the same time. Look at most supplement's omega-3 and omega-6 content ratio. It is likely omega-3 and omega-6 comes together in the oil, You should always just consider the omega-3 in the form of EPA and DHA.
These are the equation.
Omega 3 Fatty acid = EPA +DHA
Other fats in the supplement = Capsule size/Oil content - Omega-3 fatty acids
There are others oil that are useful. For example, flax seed oil, evening primrose oil. Human body are not perfect; sometimes our body lack of certain enzymes that help us make the fatty acids that we need for our health. That is why people who take supplement see results and some doesn't as I have mentioned before.
The know how to take oil based supplement is important.
I always suggest having food or natural health product to substitute drugs but never feel that you are dependent on these product. There are many alternatives.
Copyright (c) 2014 Felicia Loo.
October 16 is the World Food Day for 2013. The theme Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition are defined through this link. It looks like an important day for the US and Canada's food system communities but it isn't what it seems like.
Food belongs to everyone and my belief is always accessible food for everyone. Whether or not you have the financial support to get food, you deserve the opportunity to have access to food. Why should problem like hunger coexist with obesity?
We have multiple food program, locally and globally to feed the world's population. Food distribution remains to be a barrier to get food to the right people within a given shelf life of food. While there might be doubts over processed foods, the concern that we are facing is preserving food and minimizing food waste. With nutrition being a concern, we looked at ways to minimize nutrient loss, ways to create and balance our food intake. The dietetics society provide what we called as professional food intake advise. Food safety have been an issue that we looked into recently, added up with US government shutdown. Many food companies are looking into having a food safety system in-place, be it HACCP, BRC or SQF as part of food regulation requirement and to gain consumer trust.
One probably argues the food system is created to sustain the growing profit, but I have seen the beyond. We are working on creating a global food systems that sustain and provide safe food to the consumers. And the biggest contributors is not the government, not the food science society, not the food producers but the global citizen. Make a change in your lifestyle, cares about the food you eat, where they came from and the hardest is why they exist? My lecturer always says "no food is bad but taking too much is bad for you". I certainly hope it meant something for you.
I strongly encourage my blog reader to like the facebook page to learn more about our food systems and what the global food science communities is working on to create a healthy and sustainable food system.
This website contains links that worth to be read. Enjoy.
World Food Day. Retrieved from http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/
Suddenly, felt like eating steamed bun or called "Pau". Pau is made from flour, yeast, water and typically filled with ingredient such as red bean paste, kaya and so on.
If we look at it, we are steaming is solid dough. How could the solid dough turn into smooth and soft steamed bun? The secret lies with a key ingredient called yeast. Yeast produces gas, that are aerated or push upward the steamed bun surface allowing air pores to exist in between the steamed bun, creating an effect of enlargement of the steamed bun.
Sodium bicarbonate is known substitute for yeast. I am not sure if you have tried to substitute yeast with sodium bicarbonate but it doesn't work for me. Have you tried steaming bun at home. Certainly a tasty home-made item. Do you prefer making steamed bun on your own or purchase it?