Friday, 27 September 2013

PEAS “The Heart’s Friends”

You may have been of one of those that carefully separated peas from other foods on your plate to avoid eating them. If so, there is still time to give these little seeds another try, particularly if you suffer from coronary disease.

Peas are a fresh green legume with a delicious taste. The small, round legumes are encased in green pods. They have a high protein, vitamin and mineral content. The green legumes contain vitamins, A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C and K. Mineral content includes potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc. Inclusion of this fresh legume in your diet is sure to avail several health benefits.

  • The green peas are one of the few fresh vegetables that are rich in B-complex vitamins. They contain vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6. These nutrients play a vital role in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The fresh legumes assist in energy production which sustains numerous activities in the body. They’re a great item in the diet if you want to improve your energy levels. The vegetable is also a good source of iron which helps to prevent anemia and fatigue.
  • Because of their protein richness (particularly when combined with grains), vitamins, and minerals, peas are very appropriate food for pregnant or lactating women. They are also rich in folates, which prevent fetal nervous system malformation. 
  • Green peas are one of the highly recommended vegetable for healthy bones. The legume is a good source of vitamin K1 which activates non-collagen protein in the bones. This nutrient also sustains calcium supplies in the bones. One cup of boiled peas provides about 50 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin K1. Inadequate vitamin K1 hinders mineralization of bones. The legumes are also rich in vitamin B6 and folic acid. These facilitate strong bones, which reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Foods that contain pyridoxine and folic acid also help to improve bone health.
  • The fresh legumes are a good source of pyridoxine and folic acid. These are vital nutrients that help improve cardiovascular health. These nutrients also protect the heart from the harmful effects of plaque build-up. Vitamin K supports healthy blood clotting which improves cardiovascular health. It also lowers the risk of stroke.
  • Green peas are a good source of vitamin C which is a potent natural antioxidant. A 100 gram serving yields 40 micrograms of vitamin C. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C have established it as a vital nutrient for cancer prevention. It helps to prevent cervical, ovarian and pancreatic cancers.
  • The green peas are rich in dietary fiber. A 100 gram serving provides 5 grams of fiber. This is a vital component that facilitates proper digestion. High fiber intakes help to cleanse the digestive tract of toxins and carcinogens. This lowers the risk for gastrointestinal diseases and colon cancer. When plenty of roughage is available in food consumed, it helps to prevent constipation. Being a low calorie, high fiber vegetable makes peas a great item if you want to lose weight.
  • The starch in peas is slowly transformed to glucose during digestion, which makes them well tolerated by diabetics
  • Peas have everything necessary to be a heart-healthy food. Additionally, they contain practically no fat or sodium, two substances that are antagonistic to coronary health if consumed in excess. They are appropriate in the diet of those suffering from heart failure, heart valve lesions, myocardiopathy (degeneration of the heart muscle) and coronary heart disease.                                                                                                                

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Health Benefits of Plantains

Plantains are best described as green counterparts of rich, ripe yellow bananas and are actually a natural super food that many people are unaware of! Although they look similar to bananas, they are actually quite different. In many tropical regions, they are considered a staple and a reliable source of starch in many households.  Plantains have more calories than the fruit bananas, 100g plantain consists of 122 calories, while dessert banana has 89 calories. Indeed, they are very reliable sources of starch and energy ensuring food security for millions of households worldwide. Plantains also provide a wide variety of health and nutritional benefits

Plantains are great sources of a variety of vitamins and minerals including:

  • Vitamin A: Plantains have more vitamin A than bananas. 100 g fresh ripe plantains contain 1127 IU or 37.5% of daily required levels of this vitamin. In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin A plays a vital role in the visual cycle, maintaining healthy mucus membranes, and enhancing skin complexion.
  • B6 (Pyridoxine): They are a rich source of B-complex vitamins, particularly high in vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine). Pyridoxine is an important B-complex vitamin that has a beneficial role in the treatment of neuritis, anemia, and to decrease homocystine (one of the causative factors for coronary artery disease (CHD) and stroke episodes) levels in the body. In addition, they contain moderate levels of folates, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin. 
  • Vitamin C: Fresh plantain have more vitamin C than bananas. 100 g provide 18.4 mg or 31% of daily required levels of this vitamin. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.
  • Fiber:  It contains 2.3 g of dietary fiber per 100 g (6% of DRA per 100 g). Adequate amount of Dietary-fiber in the food helps normal bowel movements, thereby reducing constipation problems.
  • They also provide adequate levels of minerals such as iron, magnesium, and phosphorous. Magnesium is essential for bone strengthening and has a cardiac-protective role as well.
  •  Fresh plantains have more potassium than bananas. 100 g fruit provides 499 mg of potassium (358 mg per 100 g for bananas). Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure, countering negative effects of sodium.


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Peptic Ulcers

An ulcer is an erosion of the mucous membrane. Peptic ulcers may occur in the stomach (gastric ulcer) or the duodenum (duodenal ulcer).  The specific cause of ulcers is not clear, but some physicians believe that a number of factors including genetic predisposition, abnormally high secretion of hydrochloric acid by the stomach, stress, excessive use of aspirin or ibuprofen(analgesics), cigarette smoking and, in some cases, a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori may contribute to their development.
A classic symptom is gastric pain, which is sometimes described as burning, and in some cases, hemorrhage is also a symptom. The pain is typically relieved with food or antacids. A hemorrhage usually requires surgery.
Ulcers are generally treated with drugs such as antibiotics and cimetidine. The antibiotics kill the bacteria, and the cimetidine inhibits acid secretion in the stomach and thus helps heal the ulcer. Antacids containing calcium carbonate can also be prescribed to neutralize any excess acid. Stress management may also be beneficial in the treatment of ulcers.

Eating well may help your ulcer heal more quickly and may help the stomach make less acid. Here are some tips for healthy eating:

  • Cabbage heals ulcer. Experiments carried out at Stanford University demonstrated the healing effect of cabbage juice on gastric and duodenal ulcers. The healing time for those ulcer patients who drank a glass of fresh cabbage juice (200-250ml) four or five times a day was shortened to two weeks. Their stomach pain also disappeared within a few days of beginning to drink this juice. Subsequent experiments have shown that smaller amounts of cabbage juice (from two table spoons to one-half glass) are equally effective.
  •  Enjoy a wide variety of foods. Choose whole grains, vegetables, fruit, low fat milk products, fish, meat and alternatives such as beans and lentils.
  •  Eat foods that contain soluble fiber. A diet that’s high in soluble fiber may prevent ulcers from coming back. Foods with soluble fiber include: lentils, beans, oats, barley, peanut butter, nuts, and some vegetables and fruit. 
  • Coffee, tea, or anything else that contains caffeine, or that seems to cause indigestion in the client or stimulates gastric secretion should be avoided.
  • You do not have to eat a bland or boring diet, Spicy foods may be eaten as tolerated,  but some people do find that spicy food and citrus fruit make their ulcer feel worse. Spicy foods include dishes prepared with chilies, cayenne, black pepper or hot peppers. Citrus fruit are oranges, lemons and grapefruits. You can avoid these foods if they cause any pain. If these foods don’t cause any symptoms, you can continue to eat them.

Ulcers may be painful, but can be treated quickly. The first step is to find out the cause of the ulcer. Next, follow your doctor’s advice to treat the pain, and remember that smoking and drinking alcohol may make your ulcer worse. Choose foods that are rich in fiber - from delicious whole grains, vegetables, beans and nuts - and your ulcer may not come back to bother you again. 

If you have a peptic ulcer and would like to ask a Registered Dietitian a question, call +23408076187634 or send an email here.

Monday, 16 September 2013

The Many Reasons To Eat Sweet Potato

Sweet potato, not only is just sweet to your taste buds but also good for your cardiovascular health. This starchy root vegetable is rich source of flavonoid anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber that are essential for optimal health.
Not only are sweet potatoes readily available, inexpensive, and delicious, there are many other reasons to love these yummy vegetables.  

  • The tubers are packed with many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), (Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies, Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases, including the prevention of heart attacks) and thiamin (vitamin B-1), niacin, and riboflavin. These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish. These vitamins function as co-factors for various enzymes during metabolism
  • Sweet potato is one of the average calorie starch foods (provide just 90 calories/100 g vs. 70 calories/100 g of potato). The tuber, however, contains no saturated fats or cholesterol and is rich source of dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • They are a good source of vitamin C. While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity, and is essential to helping us cope with stress. It even appears to help protect our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.
  • They contain Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year.  Vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and it supports the thyroid gland.
  •  Sweet potatoes contain iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper immune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein, among other things.
  •  Sweet potatoes are a good source of magnesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function. They are a source of potassium, one of the important electrolytes that help regulate heartbeat and nerve signals. Like the other electrolytes, potassium performs many essential functions, some of which include relaxing muscle contractions, reducing swelling, and protecting and controlling the activity of the kidneys.
  • Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet-tasting but their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain.
  • The tuber is an excellent source of flavonoid phenolic compounds such as beta-carotene and vitamin A (100 g tuber provides 14187 IU of vitamin A and 8509 µg of β-carotene). The value is one of the highest among the root-vegetables categories. These compounds are powerful natural antioxidants. Vitamin A is also required by the body to maintain integrity of healthy mucus membranes and skin. It is a vital nutrient for acuity of vision. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Try them roasted, puréed, steamed, baked, or grilled. You can add them to soups and stews, or grill and place on top of leafy greens for a delicious salad. I enjoy grilling them with a side dish of Roasted Peppers and Seasonal Vegetables. Puree them and add to smoothies and baked goods

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Tomato 'Protector Of The Prostate'

One serving of red, ripe, raw tomatoes is a good source of Vitamins A, C, K, folate and potassium. Tomatoes are naturally low in sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. 
Tomatoes also provide thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, all of which are necessary for good health.

 One serving of tomatoes gives you 2 grams of fiber, which is 7% of the daily recommended amount. Tomatoes also have a relatively high water content, which makes them a filling food. In general eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, confers protection against high blood pressure, high cholesterol, strokes, and heart disease. 

Tomatoes build strong bones.The vitamin K and calcium in tomatoes are both very good for strengthening and repairing bones.

 Tomatoes can keep your blood sugar in balance. Tomatoes are a very good source of chromium, which helps to regulate blood sugar. 
Tomatoes can reduce chronic pain. If you are one of the millions of people who deal with mild to moderate chronic pain (such as from arthritis or back pain), tomatoes may be a pain-buster. Tomatoes are high in bioflavonoids and carotenoids, which are known anti-inflammatory agents.
Chronic pain often involves chronic inflammation, so attacking the inflammation is a good way to fight the chronic pain.

Lycopene also has been shown to improve bone mass, which is a great way to fight osteoporosis. 

Tomatoes are a natural cancer fighter. Lycopene can reduce the risk of several cancers, including prostate, cervical, mouth, pharynx, throat, esophagus, stomach, colon, rectal, prostate and ovarian cancer. Tomatoes’ antioxidants (vitamins A and C) fight the free radicals which can cause cell damage.  
A variety of studies conducted at Harvard University (USA) show that men who regularly eat fresh tomato, as well as tomato sauce or juice, are at much lower risk of prostate cancer.

Tomatoes make your skin look great. Beta-carotene, also found in carrots and sweet potatoes, helps protect skin against sun damage. Tomatoes’ lycopene also makes skin less sensitive to UV light damage, a leading cause of fine lines and wrinkles.

Tomatoes can improve your vision. The vitamin A that tomatoes provide can improve vision and help prevent night blindness. Recent research shows that consuming tomatoes may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a serious and irreversible eye condition.

Tomatoes can help you lose weight. If you are on a sensible diet and exercise plan, build lots of tomatoes into your everyday eating.They make a great snack and can be used to “bulk up” salads, casseroles, sandwiches and other meals. Because tomatoes contain lots of water and fiber, they are a “filling food” for Weight Watchers, one of those foods that fills you up fast without adding a lot of calories or fat.

Easy Ways To Eat More Tomatoes

· Add sliced tomatoes to sandwiches—from tuna to turkey

· Chop tomatoes in salad (leave them at room temperature, if possible)
· Drink tomato juice or vegetable juice with tomatoes

· Tomatoes for breakfast? Top scrambled eggs with coarsely chopped tomatoes 

· Eat tomatoes as a mid-afternoon snack

 · Make a tomato sandwich—this is a sandwich that stars the tomato. 

 · Add  stewed tomatoes to soups and stews, like vegetable soup or beef stew

 · Serve stewed tomatoes over a baked potato (also great on mashed potatoes)

 · Make your own salsa with lots of fresh tomato—salsa is a great replacement for high-fat salad dressings as well as being tasty on meats, fish, and eggs