Probiotics Important Good Bacteria

Do You Understand Why Probiotics Important Good Bacteria is Essential for Optimal Health?

We all need the benefits of probiotics important good bacteria, inside our digestion system.

We’ve been talking a lot about how to get nutrients from your food instead of taking a supplement. For example, you can eat sweet potatoes to get your vitamin A. You can eat kale to get a full day’s vitamin C. And you can eat red meat to get your vitamin B. But what about probiotics? How do you get these good gut bacteria without taking a supplement?

What Are Probiotics?

Your digestive system has trillions of bacteria. The vast majority of these bacteria are good, but there are also bad bacteria present. The good bacteria facilitate digestion. They also help keep the bad bacteria under control. If the good bacteria are damaged, the bad bacteria can take over. This can cause illness, discomfort, and inflammation. Probiotics is the name that’s assigned to the healthy live bacteria that live in your digestive system.

Probiotics Important Good Bacteria
Probiotics Important Good Bacteria For Digestion

You can take probiotic supplements. They come in capsule form or liquid form. However, you can also get them from your food. The following foods are great sources of probiotics:

  • Yoghurt – Look for yogurt that is low in sugar and high in protein. Greek yogurt is a good example. Dress it up with berries to add more nutrients to this tasty snack.
  • Miso – Miso is made from fermented rye, beans, rice or barley. It’s salty and rich. Add a bit of miso to hot water and enjoy a healthy snack that’s also great for your digestion.
  • Sauerkraut – Made from fermented cabbage, sauerkraut has live bacteria and is also packed with vitamins B, A, E and C.
  • Kimchi – Kimchi is another fermented food made from cabbage. It’s spicy and it’s also a good source of beta-carotene, calcium, iron and vitamins A, C, B1 and B2.

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Also consider, tempeh, pickles, kombucha, and kefir. You can easily integrate probiotic-rich foods into your diet. Yoghurt makes it easy, but also consider varying your diet so you get a diverse source of probiotics.

Next time: well talk about how to get enough calcium in your diet.

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Special Nutritional Needs

Do you have Special Nutritional needs?

When you have special nutritional needs and you’re trying to get complete nutrition, you may be basing much of your information on the daily recommended amounts and values.

These recommendations are based on the average person. They’re designed to make sure you don’t get to toxic levels. For example, the recommended amount of folate for a woman is different depending on whether she’s pregnant or not.

If you have special nutritional needs, then it can be a challenge to make sure you get everything that you need from food. It’s difficult to avoid supplementation.

Special Nutritional Needs
Special Nutritional Needs

What Are Special Nutritional Needs?

There are a large number of considerations when talking about special nutritional needs. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities:

  • Pregnancy – Pregnant women need more calories. They need extra folate for the spinal and neurological development of the foetus. They also need extra iron.
  • Lactating Women – If you’re breastfeeding then you also need more calories. Calories for a breastfeeding mom are even more important than when you were pregnant.
  • Athletes – People that are athletic or highly active need to make sure they get enough protein. They need extra protein to help with muscle repair. They also need more calories to help create energy for repair and renewal.
  • Older Adults – Senior citizens also have special nutritional needs. Due to metabolism slowing down, they do well with fish and foods with healthy oils. Making sure they get enough minerals is also important because it helps with bone density and energy production.
  • Vegans, Vegetarians and Those with Gluten Issues – Finally, anyone who is on a special diet or is allergic to gluten needs to make sure they’re getting what they need from their diet. For example, vegans and vegetarians need to make sure they’re getting enough protein, iron, and vitamin B12. Gluten intolerant and allergic people need to make sure that they’re absorbing nutrients. Also, vitamin B is a nutrient that you may be deficient in.

Many people have special nutritional needs. Knowing what your body requires can help you plan your diet and achieve optimal health. Talk to your doctor, speak with a nutritionist and create a strategy.

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Next time: we’ll look at probiotics – what they are and why we need them.

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Reducing Inflammation In Your Diet

Key to reducing inflammation in your diet…

Did you know that inflammation appears to be the source of all disease, so reducing inflammation in your diet can be a life saver!

Chronic inflammation can cause diabetes, heart disease, cancer and even Alzheimer’s. It requires an ongoing immune response as your body tries to heal the injury.

The interesting thing that scientists and the medical community are learning is that there are many foods that cause chronic and systemic inflammation, meaning inflammation throughout your body. There are also foods that help cure inflammation in the body.

Let’s talk about the foods that cause the inflammation and then we can look at the foods that prevent and reduce inflammation.

Reducing Inflammation In Your Diet
Reducing Inflammation In Your Diet

First though, do you know what inflammation is?

It’s when something in your body becomes irritated and your immune system has a response. Generally, with acute inflammation the response is helpful and protective.

Chronic inflammation is another story. Let’s say you sprain your ankle. It swells up to three times its normal size. Why? It’s a protective mechanism that immobilizes your ankle and the damaged tissues. Fluids and specific types of cells flood the area as a way to try to repair the damage. With chronic inflammation, though, this process doesn’t end.

The reason most of us don’t see the damage caused by chronic inflammation is that it resides inside the body. It’s in your digestive system, your cardiovascular system, and your organs.

Junk Food Causes Inflammation

Quite simply, the chemicals, fats, and processed sugars in junk food can cause inflammation. They cause your digestive system to become inflamed, as well as your heart and cardiovascular system, and other organs.

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Allergic Foods

Foods that you’re allergic or sensitive to can have a similar impact. For example, if you have a gluten intolerance or a disease like Crohn’s, then you endure inflammation in your gut.

What Fixes Inflammation?

There are essentially six food categories that fight inflammation. You’re probably eating many of them on a regular basis. Fruits, nuts and seeds, leafy greens, fatty fish, tomatoes and olive oil are all inflammation fighters.

Steer clear of junk food and eat a diet rich in nutrients, and you’ll be able to stave off disease and increase your chance to live a long and healthy life.

Next time: we’ll focus on having special nutritional needs, which are different than the daily recommended amounts for an average person.

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Personal Nutrition Language Explained

Here for your guidance – Personal Nutrition Language Explained

RDAs or DRIs – what’s the difference – Personal Nutrition Language Explained…

When you start looking into the world of personal nutrition and exploring what you’re supposed to eat and how much, it can quickly become quite confusing. Part of the problem is that different experts and resources use different language. So let’s try to break it down for you so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your health.

RDA

RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance. The Institute of Medicine uses this terminology. The United States Food and Drug Administration, FDA, used to use the term as well, though you’d likely see it as US RDA. It’s essentially a recommendation for the amount of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals that you need. It’s a term that is losing favor as it’s replaced by other more specific terms and measurements.

Personal Nutrition Language Explained - Confusion
Personal Nutrition Language Explained – Confusion

DV

DV stands for Daily Value and it’s the term that the FDA now uses instead of RDA. Confused yet? They changed it to reflect food labeling. For example, if you read the side of a can of soup, you might see 50 percent of your DV when talking about sodium or sugar. It’s a tool to help you compare labels and in theory help you make sure you’re getting enough nutrients and not too much sugar, sodium, and fat.

AI

Adequate intake is a measurement of vitamins and minerals, although you don’t see this very often. Created by the Institute of Medicine, they’re used in cases where no RDA is established. However, when you look at vitamins and supplements, you’ll likely see the next one on this list.

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UL

UL, or Tolerable Upper Intake Levels, is defined as the maximum level of total chronic daily intake of a nutrient from all sources that is unlikely to create a risk of adverse health effects to humans. Read the label on a multivitamin and you’ll see both UL and DV as a percentage. For example, vitamin A in a traditional and popular over-the-counter multi says that it has 2500 UL and 50% DV per serving.

DRI

Daily Reference Intake is a calculation created by the IOM, Institute of Medicine, that looks at several factors including RDA, AI and a measurement that we haven’t talked about, EAR. You just aren’t likely to see EAR unless you become a nutritionist. EAR stands for Estimated Average Requirement.

So how do you compare?

What information is useful? If you’re eating whole foods, there is no label so there’s nothing to compare. The only time this information becomes truly useful is when you’re looking at the label on a product and making sure that you’re getting more nutrients than junk. Also, it’s useful if you’re comparing supplements. Otherwise, strive to eat vegetables, nuts and seeds, meat and some fruit.

[pullquote align=”normal”]Choose a variety and enjoy. [/pullquote]

Next time, we’ll talk about the importance of diet when it comes to reducing inflammation.

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Include Veggies To Every Meal

Tips to include Veggies to every Meal

How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you get each day – knowing you should Include veggies To every meal? If you look at the US government’s food recommendations, they suggest anywhere from one to three cups of vegetables each day depending on age and gender.

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Harvard follows suit with their recommendations. They recommend servings ranging from one and a half cups to two and a half cups depending on your caloric intake.

Include Veggies To Every Meal
Include Veggies To Every Meal

For example if you are consuming 1800 calories a day, you should be eating two and a half cups of vegetables each day. Why so many vegetables? Because they are high in nutrients that your body needs. Additionally, when vegetables are consumed with protein, they help keep harmful fats and cholesterol from staying behind in the system. The plant cholesterol or sterols are powerhouses.

The challenge isn’t knowing that vegetables are good for you, though; it’s getting enough in your diet. The following tips will help.

1. Try something new. Add variety to your veggie routine by trying a new vegetable. Try to add one new veggie to your repertoire each week. There are many different varieties of squash, for example, so that’s an easy way to branch out.

2. Have meatless meals. Strive to make one meal each day a meatless day. And instead of reaching for a starchy carb as the foundation of the meal, why not make it vegetable based? For example, you can make zoodles (noodles made from strands of zucchini) and top it with pasta sauce. A salad on the side and you’re getting at least two cups of vegetables all in one meal.

3. Drink them up. Don’t juice – blend instead. Throw some tasty vegetables with water and ice into your blender and whip them up into a frenzy. A vegetable drink can be delicious, refreshing, and a great way to get several cups of vegetables into your diet. They make great snacks. Spinach, apples, and ginger are a simple beginner recipe but don’t be afraid to experiment.

Finally, try to include a vegetable in every meal. You can even add vegetables to your breakfast. Top your eggs with some chopped greens and tomatoes, or make a quick hash with sweet potatoes and onions.

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We’ve talked about different ways to measure your nutrition, and today we talked about cups of veggies. We’ve also mentioned IU’s, calories, and daily value in past lessons. Next time we’ll take a closer look at some of these measurements. We’ll explore what they mean and discuss the difference between RDA and DRI’s.

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Importance Of Vitamin D

The Importance of Vitamin D in your Diet

Avoiding supplementation – but what about the Importance Of Vitamin D In Your Diet?

Most doctors, nutritionists, and health experts agree that it’s better to get your nutrition from food. But what about vitamin D? That’s a nutrient that isn’t stored in your body, and it’s essential for many systems and functions. Your body can and does make vitamin D but you have to provide the ingredients, which are sunlight and calcium.

Importance Of Vitamin D
Importance Of Vitamin D

Most people wear sunscreen to protect themselves from skin cancer and aren’t outside in sunlight enough each day to get enough vitamin D. So that leaves it up to diet. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many foods that are high in vitamin D. With a little effort, however, you can add the following foods to your diet to get your vitamin D.

  • Fatty fish like mackerel or salmon
  • Mushrooms
  • Beef liver
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified milk
  • Fortified cereals
  • Tofu
  • Pork
  • Soy alternative dairy products (they’re fortified)
  • Caviar

Yes, if you were looking for an excuse to add caviar to your daily diet, then now you have one.

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You need your vitamin D.

Signs that you aren’t getting enough vitamin D include a lack of energy, depression, and a weakened immune system. You can also go to your doctor and have a quick blood test to test your levels of vitamin D.

Don’t be surprised if you’re low in this nutrient – Most people are.

Simply create a plan to get a little vitamin D into your diet every day.

How much do you need?

The U.S. daily value for vitamin D is 600 IU. One egg has 7 percent of your daily value. On the other hand, one portabella mushroom has 63 percent of your daily value. And a three-ounce piece of fatty fish has more than 100 percent of your daily value.

Importance Of Vitamin D - Oily Fish
Importance Of Vitamin D – Oily Fish

Add a little fish and a little sunshine to your daily routine and you’ll have good levels of vitamin D.

Next time we’ll take a look at some tips to get vegetables into every meal and snack. It can be difficult to eat enough veggies, and a few tricks can help you out.

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3 Nutrient Dense Foods To Add To Your Diet

Discover 3 Nutrient Dense Foods To Add To Your Diet…

Getting complete nutrition into your diet can be difficult, so here are 3 nutrient dense foods to add to your diet.

There is no such thing as a food that has everything in it that you need. And sometimes it may seem that in order to achieve complete nutrition, you need to eat thousands of calories – way more food than you want or need. It’s one of the reasons that people turn to multivitamins and supplements. Yet we know that in many cases, supplementing with pills is largely a waste of your money.

3 Nutrient Dense Foods To Add To Your Diet
3 Nutrient Dense Foods To Add To Your Diet

One way to help you get more from your food is to seek out nutrient dense foods. They’re also often called superfoods, and adding them to your diet can help you achieve better health and nutrition without supplementation.

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Dark Leafy Greens

You might be tired of hearing about, and eating, kale. However, it belongs in this category of superfoods. If kale is so last year, try collards, spinach, dandelion greens and arugula. Really, any dark leafy greens are great and you can’t eat too much of them. They’re high in minerals like calcium. They also have protein, antioxidants, and folate. Try greens in a salad, in a smoothie, and even sautéed and served as a side.

Beans

Beans are wonderful because there are so many different types of beans that you may never get tired of them. They have an abundance of fiber and are high in protein. They are also a good source of nutrients that can be difficult to obtain from other foods – including copper, manganese, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B, magnesium, potassium, and iron.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest vegetables that you can eat. They’re delicious baked, sautéed, or even diced up and tossed into a stir fry or soup. They’re extremely high in vitamin A as well as a good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, and different types of vitamin B.

We’ve highlighted these three foods because they’re foods that people often don’t include in their diet. When was the last time you ate a sweet potato, for example?

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Both sweet potatoes and beans are quite versatile and you can always find a way to get your days’ worth of dark leafy greens.

If you’re looking for a way to naturally add more nutrition to your diet, these three foods need to be part of your plan.

Next time we’ll take a look at one of the biggest challenges to complete nutrition without supplementation. We’re talking about vitamin D.

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Importance of Minerals in Your Diet

The Importance of Minerals in Your Diet…

Discover the Importance of Minerals in Your Diet and the benefits to your overall health.

Dairy or fortified dairy alternatives

We’ve already discussed how dairy provides calcium for a healthy diet. If you cannot have dairy products, try dairy alternatives that have been fortified with calcium. They may also have some additional mineral fortification.

Dark leafy greens

Dark leafy greens are one of the most powerful superfoods that you can add to your daily diet. This includes kale, spinach, and collards. Add them to smoothies, enjoy salads, and you can also sauté and even bake some greens. They’re packed with minerals and vitamins.

Importance of Minerals in Your Diet
Importance of Minerals in Your Diet

 

Bone broth

Bone broth has become all the rage and if it hasn’t hit your community yet, just wait. Bone broth is made from boiling bones for long periods of time, up to 12 hours. It releases the minerals and an abundance of flavor. You can make soup from it or drink it as is. It’s super healthy and a great source of minerals.

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Finally, don’t forget that sea salt, kelp and fortified cereals can also provide an abundance of minerals. While you don’t need a large amount of minerals on a daily basis, it is important to make sure that you’re eating foods that give you the mineral nutrition that your body needs.

We’ve talked about minerals and a few vitamins specifically. Now let’s take a look at a broader category, antioxidants, and talk about what they are, why they’re important, and how to make sure you’re getting them into your diet.

Food High in Antioxidants

You’ve probably heard the term, “antioxidants.” And you may know that they’re good for you and that you can find them in food. You can also find them in beauty products, vitamins, and nutritional products. What you may not know is exactly what they are, and what they do for you and your body.

What Are Antioxidants?

In technical terms, an antioxidant is a substance that inhibits or stops the oxidation of other molecules. Okay, great – right? What’s oxidation and why does that matter? Well, when something is oxidized it loses electrons. It’s now called a free radical which means that it can, and wants to, bind with something. There’s room. And it can wreak havoc and cause damage to your tissues.

These radicals can start chain reactions. These oxidized elements actually steal electrons from other molecules, which damages them.

Now your body can handle some free radicals. It’s used to it and it’s generally prepared to deal with it. However, our lifestyle has changed enough that we now tend to have many more of these little buggers running around in our bodies. They’re caused by environmental problems like pollution, pesticides, and even exposure to cigarette smoke.

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Antioxidants Neutralize Free Radicals

Antioxidants, as mentioned, negate the damage of free radicals. They protect your cells and help ensure you don’t suffer the damage from free radicals. So what damage can free radicals cause?

Some of the problems include (but aren’t limited to)

  • Arthritis
  • Neural degeneration, which can lead to Alzheimers
  • Premature ageing
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Some cancers

Antioxidants are found in some specific foods. There are three major antioxidants that you want to include in your diet every day. They are beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. You can find antioxidants in abundance in colorful veggies and fruits. Look for purple, red, blue, and orange produce.

You can also find them in interesting sources like coffee and tea, chocolate, and onions and garlic. The good news is that essentially if you eat a diet that is generally prepared from whole foods rather than processed foods, you’re probably getting an abundance of antioxidants with every meal.

Importance of Minerals in Your Diet!
Importance of Minerals in Your Diet!

Focus on making sure that you’re getting enough fruits and vegetables and you’ll be well on your way to preventing excess damage caused by free radicals.

We’ve talked a lot about the nutrients that people generally consider to be healthy – vitamins and minerals. However, your body cannot even metabolize many vitamins and minerals without two other important nutrient categories. We’re talking about protein and fat.

What about Protein and Fat?

Your body is protein. It’s in every cell and tissue. Enzymes are made from protein, as are your hormones and components of your blood. Your hair, nails and of course your muscles all are made from protein.

Protein isn’t stored in your body. You have to consume it and this is where many people get into trouble. Vegetarians often don’t get enough protein, though many other people don’t either. There’s a misconception that Americans often get too much protein. The recommendations are:

Adults need to get a minimum of 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you’d want to get at least 60 grams each day. Athletes and active individuals may need more protein.

The challenge when you’re talking about complete health is to find sources of protein that come from foods that also provide other nutrients. For example, salmon is a protein that comes with omega-3 fatty acids, lentils are packed with protein and an abundance of vitamins and minerals, and eggs come with minerals too.

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When it comes to fat, it is true that your body need fat. However, what it needs are fats from plants rather than fats from fatty cuts of meat. Sure, you can have the occasional hamburger but you may not want that to be the norm. Studies have shown that food that’s high in saturated fat does cause heart disease and cardiovascular problems.

Strive to get your fats from plants. For example, avocados, nuts and seeds are all high in fat, but it’s fat that is good for you. When you’re looking at your plate of food, the majority of it should be vegetables and plants. However, you do want to have some room devoted to both fats (a small amount) and protein. A balanced diet is the best way to get complete nutrition.

Simple Signs That Your Diet Is Missing Something

It can be difficult to know if you’re getting the nutrients that you need. This is one of the biggest reasons why people say that they take a multivitamin. However, we know that supplements don’t really work and they rarely offer a benefit. A better approach is to pay attention to your body. Here are some signs that your diet is missing something.

1. Low Energy

One of the surest signs that your diet is deficient in something is that you’re low in energy. If you feel fatigued, it can be something as simple as not enough minerals or vitamin B in your diet.

2. Losing Your Hair/Cracking Nails

Dry and brittle nails and hair are often a sign of a nutrient deficiency. It could be that you’re low in protein or you could be low in biotin.

3. Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps are often a sign of mineral deficiencies. You may also be dehydrated.

4. Skin Changes

If you notice rashes, acne, or small red bumps on your arms and legs, then it can be a sign of nutrient deficiency.

5. Chronic Illness

If you find that you’re getting sick more often or generally feeling unwell, look to your diet. Take some time to evaluate if you’re getting complete nutrition or if you might be lacking.

Finally, your digestion can be a big clue about your nutritional well-being. Talk to your doctor if you have digestive and/or elimination issues. It’s a direct reflection of your health and well-being and can be a significant clue about what is missing in your diet.

Importance of Minerals in Your Diet~
Importance of Minerals in Your Diet~

 

Next Steps: Getting Complete Nutrition through Your Diet

Awareness is the first step to improving your nutrition and leveraging food instead of pills. Become aware of what you’re putting into your body and how it makes you feel. What foods make you feel healthy and strong? What foods improve your digestion? What improves your sleep and what foods make you feel lethargic or cause cravings?

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You can begin by keeping a food journal. Start learning about the nutrients in your food choices. What types of fat are you getting and are you eating enough protein? You might consider making a list of the daily recommended values for the major nutrients. From there you could start placing check marks next to the nutrients you are getting from each meal.

Whether you measure and calculate and total your daily nutrients, or you simply keep an eye on whether you’re getting what you need, is up to you. What’s most important is that you’re aware of what you should be getting and that if necessary, you’re taking steps to improve your nutrition by making smart food choices.

This brings us to the final step and that is to set nutrition goals and to change your eating habits. For example, do you normally skip breakfast altogether, or just have a piece of toast? You’re missing an opportunity for nutrients. Change this habit and drink a smoothie or eat a piece of whole grain toast with an avocado on it. Take advantage of every snack and meal because they can be both delicious and nutritious.

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Why Complete Nutrition Is Important

Why Complete Nutrition Is Important To Your Health and Well-being…

Here are some tips for better meal planning to show why complete nutrition is important to you and your family’s health.

Meal planning becomes an important part of achieving optimal or complete nutrition. If you don’t have a plan for what you’re going to eat, you may end up grabbing whatever is fastest and most readily available.

This often means you’re consuming processed food or junk food. It’s a missed opportunity to get at least some nutrients into your system. Junk food often causes more harm than good.

Why Complete Nutrition Is Important - Veggies
Why Complete Nutrition Is Important – Veggies

 

What Is Meal Planning?

Meal planning is simply deciding in advance what you’re going to have to eat. In most cases people plan several days’ worth of meals and snacks. It makes shopping, cooking and preparing food, and eating, a much simpler and healthier process.

Here are nine steps to make meal planning fun and easy.

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#1 Decide how often you can shop.

If you can only shop once a week then you’re going to want to plan an entire week’s worth of meals. If you can shop every three or four days then you only have to plan those meals.

#2 Plan for snacks too.

Include snacks into your meal planning. It’s too easy to grab something unhealthy when you don’t have a plan.

#3 Make it tasty.

Sure, you can plan to have carrots and celery stick for a snack. However, if you don’t like carrots and celery sticks, there’s a bigger risk of you letting that snack get moldy in the fridge while you go out for some fries. Make sure the recipes and foods you put into your meal plan are actually foods that you want to eat.

#4 Identify recipe sources.

Where are you going to find your meal ideas? Identify a handful of great sources of nutritious recipes. For example, you might begin to subscribe to a few nutritious eating blogs, or you might buy a few cookbooks.

#5 Create a system.

Create systems to organize and plan. For example, maybe you hit the supermarket on Wednesday and Sunday. Sit down at your table and make a full meal plan before you shop. Add ingredients from each recipe to your shopping list so you go to the store knowing exactly what you need to buy.

Why Complete Nutrition Is Important - Water Melon
Why Complete Nutrition Is Important – Water Melon

#6 Get folks involved.

If you’re cooking for a family, get others involved in the meal planning – and maybe even the preparation! When people feel that they have a say in what is served, they tend to be more excited about it. You might, for example, let a child choose one meal a week. They can also help prepare that meal.

#7 Have contingency plans.

It always makes sense to have some backup food. You might not have leftovers that you expected from last night’s dinner and now you have nothing for lunch. If you have some backups then you’re ready to go.

#8 Make ahead.

If you live a super busy life (and who doesn’t), then consider a few make-ahead recipes. These are healthy recipes that you can prepare on the weekend, freeze, and thaw and heat for dinner. Casseroles are great for this. Crockpot recipes are also wonderful. You can put everything together in the morning and come home to dinner.

#9 Try something new.

It’s easy to get into a meal planning rut. Meatless Monday, taco Tuesday, noodles on Wednesday and so on. While that does provide a framework to make planning easier, it can also start to feel limiting. Try to include one new recipe each week. It’s good to feel excited about your food.

Meal planning can take some getting used to. It requires you to create a few new lifestyle habits. However, once you’ve integrated these habits into your routine, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. It’s a great way to make sure that each meal is nutritious and delicious.

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One of the nutrients that many people tend to be deficient in, especially those with specialty diets like a vegetarian, are the B vitamins. Next, well take a look at foods that are high in B vitamins so you can make sure to include some of these foods into your meal planning.

Foods High in B Vitamins

Did you know that there are eight B vitamins? They often work together but each one has a few specific jobs. For example, thiamin or B1 is necessary to make energy for your cells from the food that you eat.

It’s also an important part of making DNA and RNA. You really cannot do without this vitamin. So let’s take a look at each of the eight and provide a short description about what it does and what foods provide that specific B vitamin.

Thiamin

You can find this B vitamin in beans and lentils. You can also find it in many meat products, including read meat and pork. Vegetarians will be happy to know that it’s in many nuts and seeds as well as spinach, cauliflower and cruciferous vegetables.

Niacin

B3 is also an important part of creating energy for the cells. In addition, it synthesizes fatty acids and is important for your cardiovascular health. You can find niacin in fish, beef, and chicken as well as peanuts and beans and lentils. It’s also in whole grains.

Riboflavin

Very important for children and their development, B2 is required for energy production, growth, and controlling free radicals in the body. Salmon, beef, eggs, and green leafy and cruciferous veggies contain riboflavin. Also known as vitamin B2, riboflavin is a basic building block for normal growth and development.

Vitamin B5

B5 aka pantothenic acid, supports your body to produce energy. It’s found in lots of different sources, including both meat and vegetables. Avocados, organ meats, nuts and seeds, are all great sources of B5.

Vitamin B6

This is a vitamin that your body simply cannot do without. It’s essential for just about every cellular function in your body, including your hormones, your nervous system and your metabolism. If you eat meat, you won’t have a problem getting this nutrient. Don’t eat meat and you’ll have to look for fortified foods and dark leafy greens for B6.

Vitamin B7

B7 is also known as biotin. It’s found in yeast, dairy products and strawberries. It’s important for hair, skin, and nail health, as well as metabolism.

Folic Acid

Folic acid, or B9, is needed for the formation of red blood cells. It’s important in the development of fetuses, and you can find it in fortified foods and dark leafy greens.

Vitamin B12

This vitamin helps produce cellular energy and DNA synthesis as well as the formation of your red blood cells. It’s important. You can find it in animal products almost exclusively, including milk and eggs. If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, look for fortified foods to get your B12.

B vitamins are important for optimal health and there are many B vitamins that you just cannot live without. Also, there are minerals that are essential for survival. We’ll explore those next and talk about how you can embrace mineral-rich foods into your daily diet.

Why Complete Nutrition Is Important - Cherries
Why Complete Nutrition Is Important – Cherries

 

Tips to Consume More Foods That Are High in Minerals

When you think about complete health and a well-rounded diet, you probably think about vitamins first. After all, we often hear words like “antioxidants” and “plant sterols” and “phytochemicals” before we hear words like “electrolytes” and “minerals.” Yet minerals are just as essential to your health and vitality as vitamins.

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What Do Minerals Do?

Minerals actually play a very large role in a number of metabolic processes. At the cellular level they are an integral part of the energy production process. Your body cannot make energy from your food without minerals.

Minerals are also required for carrying nutrients to your body, as well as the hydration and elimination process. You probably already know that minerals are required for bone health, but did you know that minerals impact your hormones and your immune system too?

The bottom line is that minerals are equally important to your health and this is often overlooked. Let’s list the most important minerals first and then talk about adding them to your diet. The top three were mentioned earlier.

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Selenium
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Boron
  • Zinc
  • Iodide

We will look at getting more Minerals into our Diet in the next article…

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Is Complete Nutrition Important

Why Is Complete Nutrition Important?

What Are the benefits to complete nutrition and is complete nutrition important to your overall health and well-being?

There are a number of benefits to complete nutrition, including but not limited to:

Stronger Immune System

When you have complete nutrition, your body has what it needs to function optimally. That means that it can focus energy on your immune system. When foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses hit your body, and this happens on a daily basis, your immune system kicks into action and isolates and kills the invaders. If you don’t have complete nutrition, your body has to compensate for that lack. When it has to compensate, it’s weaker.

Is Complete Nutrition Important
Is Complete Nutrition Important?

 

More Energy

You need a number of nutrients in your body for your metabolism to function well. Your metabolism is a complicated system of hormones, enzymes, and chemical reactions. It needs specific minerals and vitamins to manage different levels of the process.

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For example, your thyroid is a gland that releases hormones that impact your metabolism. When this hormone is low, your metabolism slows down. You feel lethargic, you get sick more often, and you gain weight. Vitamin D, B, and C are important for healthy thyroid function, as are many minerals including selenium.

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Longer Life

Because your cells and systems require essential nutrients, when you fuel your body with these nutrients it has what it needs to thrive. It’s not compensated. It’s not weakened. It’s able to function optimally. When you’re compromised and your body has to work extra hard, that’s when disease happens, which ultimately shortens your life span.

As you can see, complete nutrition is essential for optimal health. So why not take a supplement? Why rely on food when a pill can help you give your body the vitamins and minerals that it needs?

Why Not Just Take a Pill?

People take supplements for a variety of reasons. Common logic for some is that they eat healthily but they take a multivitamin for insurance. It’s a just-in-case option – a Plan B, so to speak. The other reason that people take supplements or a multivitamin is because they believe that they’re staving off disease.

Many advertisements for supplements will tell you that taking a multivitamin will help prevent heart disease. There are vitamins for men and sexual health, for women and memory loss and for teenagers too. There are even gummy candy-like multivitamins to make them more fun to take.

Is Complete Nutrition Important - blueberries
Is Complete Nutrition Important – blueberries

The truth is that vitamin supplements aren’t doing what they claim. Many studies have proven that supplements really do little if anything at all. And one large study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, showed that both multivitamin and mineral supplements did not work any better than placebo pills. In turn many doctors have stopped recommending that their patients take multivitamins.

Could It Be Dangerous?

Additionally, many people believe that taking vitamin and mineral supplements is causing vitamin poisoning. According to poison control centres, there are more than 60,000 reports of vitamin toxicity annually.

It’s Your Money

Think about the answer to this question…would you rather spend your money on food or on vitamins? Estimates are that 150 million people use supplements annually and they spend more than 20 billion dollars. How much did you spend on supplements last year? Would you rather have spent that on something else?

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Generally, people enjoy eating much more than taking pills. And nutritious food can and does taste wonderful. You can get the complete nutrition that we talked about, and you can do it without taking a supplement.

What Nutrients Do You Need?

If you’re striving for complete nutrition and you’re looking to get it from food, it can be helpful to know what vitamins and minerals most people fall short on. These are generally nutrients that can be difficult to get from a standard American diet.

Calcium

The daily recommendation for calcium is 1,000 milligrams a day. Calcium as you may know is good for bone health. It’s also an important part of the digestive process and other metabolic processes.

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Calcium is essential, in fact, for creating energy from your food. And many people just don’t get the calcium that they need on a daily basis. It’s such a problem that many physicians consider it to be just short of an epidemic.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “In the United States alone, 10 million people have osteoporosis, and 18 million more are at risk of developing the disease. Another 34 million Americans are at risk of osteopenia, or low bone mass, which can lead to fractures and other complications.” (Source: http://www.aaos.org/about/papers/position/1113.asp)

You can find calcium in dairy products of course. But if you cannot have dairy products, then consider looking at fortified dairy alternatives, dark leafy greens, and fish with bones like sardines.

Potassium

Potassium is another mineral that is often difficult to obtain. On a daily basis you need 4,700 milligrams a day. The average banana has 422 mg of potassium. Potassium helps regulate your blood pressure. It may also decrease bone loss, reduce your risk of bone loss, and help with your cardiovascular health. It’s also part of the energy creation process.

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Foods that are high in potassium include potatoes, tomatoes, and beans (including soybeans), Swiss chard, dates, avocado, fish, and raisins. It’s important to know that Swiss chard and avocados have almost 1000 mg of potassium per serving.

Bananas, while delicious, aren’t the potassium powerhouse that many believe them to be. They’re great, but if you really want a good bang for your buck, try an avocado.

Magnesium

There are a few minerals that are essential to good health and magnesium is one. It’s also one that is a little difficult to obtain without a conscious effort. The daily recommendation is 320 milligrams a day.

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What does magnesium do? It helps with muscle and nerve function, and like many minerals it helps sustain strong bones and bone density. Magnesium is found in seeds and nuts as well as fish. It’s also found in dark leafy greens, beans, and avocados. One serving or cup of spinach will give you 157 milligrams of magnesium, almost half of your daily recommendation.

Vitamin E

You’re supposed to get 15 milligrams of Vitamin E each day. It doesn’t sound like much, but unless you eat nuts or fortified cereals, you may have a difficult time getting enough vitamin E. It is a vitamin that supports eye health, skin health, and is an antioxidant.

Other common nutrients that people tend to be deficient in include vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. However, the truth is that if you get your daily serving of fruits and veggies and you have a few whole grains, you’ll get your daily supply of these important nutrients.

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So the trick is to make sure that you integrate these nutrient-rich foods into your diet. That’s best accomplished with a little meal planning. Meal planning is exactly what it sounds like. You create a plan for what you’re going to eat during the week, including your meals and snacks.

Your Opinion Counts

We will be looking into to food you eat and the food you should eat in the next instalment of: Is Complete Nutrition Important?

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