Health Canada came up with what nutritionists and dietitians regards as a "better indication of the nutrient values of foods".
The new proposed nutrition facts panels are consumer friendly- educating consumer what to be expected of the daily nutrient value. 5% DV is regarded as little and 15% DV or more is a lot. As a consumer, it is a lot simpler for me to compare nutrient value when I know less than 5% is considered less and more than 15% is consider more.
One of the "interesting" topic now is the added sugar. The difference between added sugar and natural sugar is that added sugar is added during processing. Food processors uses different sources of sugar to cater to their marketing needs. While many uses processed sugars, some food processors who market food as natural do uses alternative sugars from fruits such as date paste, honey etc. From a consumer point of view, to be able to know what contribute to the sugar level meant being able to choose natural source of sugars.
If this proposal were to be approved, it meant food processors do not only spend money to comply for the new label regulations but it opens up formulation transparency to all the consumers. Some food processors might even need to come up with consumer's friendly formulation to cater for the rising demand for less added sugars.
Food such as milk chocolate, yogurt, juices and drinks would be the obvious products when it comes to added sugar. Would this boost up the use of sweeteners or sugar substitute to lower a formulation's added sugar?
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.
This year, I like to feature 8 types of many foods that symbolize good luck to the Chinese. And not to forget, wishing you a Happy Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year last for 15 days too, and the last day coincidentally fall on Valentine's Day.
Whole fish, 魚 (yú), has the same pronunciation as the word 餘, which is "remain or surplus", It meant having surplus to everything that we used -prosperity, luck and wealth for the rest of the year.
Nutritional point of view: Fish contains proteins and omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for growth and to help lower LDL cholesterol.
Mandarin (瓯柑; ōugān) represent gold and wealth. It can be thought of harvesting gold and wealth into our possession. That is why the Chinese like to decorate their houses with mandarin orange plant.
Nutritional point of view: Mandarin Orange does contain fibers and vitamin C. A tips for you- keep the bioflavonoid (the white string that covers the mandarin orange) and it will help you absorb vitamin C more efficiently
Cashew nut (腰果, yāoguǒ) represent gold and money from the replicating of the nut shape that resemble ancient gold bar.
Nutritional point of view: Cashew nuts are packed with dietary fibers, vitamins and minerals plus rich in monounsaturated fatty acids that help lower LDL cholesterol and increasing good HDL cholesterols.
100g of nuts could give you 553 calories. Please be aware of the high calories of cashew nuts
Chinese garlic chives(韭菜, jiǔcài) symbolizes eternity and long life.
Nutritional point of view: These garlic chives too contain allicin, a compound found in garlic that helps lower cholesterol and are a rich source of folates, vitamin A and vitamin K.
Shitake, Black mushroom (冬菇; dōnggū) represent longevity.
Nutritional point of view: Shitake mushroom are known for its immune boosting properties, aids to slow cancer progression and are rich source of iron and vitamin B particularly panthothenic acid, B2, B6, niacin, choline and folate.
Rice cake (年糕; nián'gāo) bring good fortune and 'sweeten' the new year.
Nutritional point of view: Rice cake are made from processed rice flour with high amount of sugar. Despite the good meaning, taking a little bits of rice cake to sweeten your new year is advisable.
Peanuts (花生; huāshēng) symbolizes continuous growth and development of wealth and good fortune.
Nutritional point of view: Peanut contains resveratol, which is typically found in the red wine that makes red wine good for your heart. Be aware of the salted peanut for spike in your sodium intake.
Mixed vegetable (什锦蔬菜; shíjǐn shūcài) represent family harmony.
Nutritional point of view: Best dishes for Chinese New Year. Mixed vegetables contains vitamins and minerals, plus fibers and antioxidant that helps to provide not only the growth factor but also, prevent the development and progression of diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Plus, fibers help healthy weight management too.
Copyright (c) 2014 Felicia Loo
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.
Natural health product- Most people know them as supplement. That's a plain language that I used when I talk about them.
They are the vitamins and minerals, the magically beneficial natural food extracts, chinese medicinal herbs, homeopathic medicines, probiotics and many more.
I mentioned in one of my previous article that these supplements does magic. It possessed the power to prevent and heal over a LONG PERIOD of time. Some people like to refer to it as an alternative treatment.
Simply said, these are amazing health products. If it is so great, how come it doesn't provide immediate cure? Why isn't it works for everyone?
Immediate cure-please go to your doctor. The key is our body. Everyone has a unique body system; the genetics make-up in our body is so unique that even if we are family, we don't have the same body system. Our body is capable of self-healing but that is time-consuming. What we are doing with natural health product is giving it a little boost; providing natural compounds that our body needs to heal.
Secondly, when we take these supplements, it is likely we are looking at symptoms and curing the symptoms. It is not a correct method of medication but we like to do it anyway. I do it too! The evidence of successful cure by our doctors is through scientific analysis of the problem- getting the X-ray, the MRI scan etc. Medicine have its own health failure too especially with pain killer, where you stop feeling the pain but the symptoms is still there. It is just that you wasn't aware of it.
Is supplements better than medicine? My short answer is YES but I do hope you understand that a diagnostic of your health situation would be beneficial. Have an excellent NHP week and complement your food with supplementation..
One last question for you: There are many companies that produce similar types of supplements. Are they the same?
Read more: Navigating Natural Health. Retrieved from http://dna.chfa.ca/navigating-natural-health/. November 6, 2o13.