Do You Know Your Diet?

So I was sitting in the waiting room at my physician’s office not more than a week ago, and was browsing through the cluster of magazines they have available to read. I came across one geared specifically towards females. So I casually swept through the pages and came across an article that caught my eye. The focus of this article was about health related food fixes…The opening sentence read;

“Can chips with added vitamin B help prevent memory loss? Or can pasta with calcium halt osteoporosis?

Slightly intrigued, I began to read on. Sorting through the “hype” of enhanced groceries and their “preventative” super powers.

The initial basis of their article was the premise that you cannot walk 5 feet in a grocery without likely seeing amazing health claims such as heart healthy cereals, soda with added vitamins, and dairy products with immune assisting bacteria. I was cracking a smile when the author mentioned how even the worst of worst foods in a supermarket, have customers believing that they have switched up their methods and are now all about health! Right, right, right. Like I’m going to believe those loaded Doritos and Mac and cheese are going to further my lifespan because of their cholesterol fighting and heart healthy ingredients! GOT ME!

I was enjoying the humor of the author and had to continue on reading. Next topic discussed was the fact that a good majority of our population is not getting sufficient nutrients to assist our bodies from fighting off illness and disease; such as cancers, heart disease and diabetes. (Some of the worst and most prominent diseases attacking people.) The author noted that in a USDA study, mainly women over 40 do not get enough vitamin b6, dietary fiber, calcium or zinc, and most are deficient in copper, phosphorous, thiamine and iron. All nutrients that may help fight off cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, cognitive decline and more. Wow, I was utterly stunned to find out that almost 85% of those women over 40 are included in those results.

I focused in on the remaining paragraph and understood how adding in the good fortified foods at the grocery can indeed better everyone’s overall health. I noted though that those foods are only necessary when those needed nutrients are not found elsewhere or are difficult to find in a your regular diet. Be aware of adding things with supplemented nutrients in the ingredient label. The majority of products that add these nutrients are most often what you would want to exclude from your diet. I.E. refined cereals and breads, pop, candy bars, and other foods. If adding specific foods with these nutrients be sure not to over do it. Modified foods may put people in risk of overdoses of certain nutrients. It was claimed to seek medical reference before starting a diet with enriched foods. Too much iron, for instance has been linked to heart disease. So consult a doctor before switching up your regular routine with fortified foods.

Further on in this article there were more descriptive means in which particular supplemented foods prevent illness and disease. One such topic discussed was how some foods help prevent cancer. The urban myth was that foods with added antioxidants including energy bars and certain drinks should be tossed aside and forgotten about. Instead, add greens, such as broccoli, sprouts, kale, cabbages, and etc. they have an active ingredient known as isothiocyantes, I know close to nothing about this, but was informed that it helps to prevent and fight cancer. There are specific serving guidelines to follow when adding these specific foods to your diet, but vary with each individual. Whole grain foods are also known to help dilute carcinogens in the digestive tract, which have contributed to combating some cancers. Servings sizes range from one serving a week, to two to three weekly depending on the person. (See your doctor for more reference.)

Another myth was beverages, snack bars and many other highly processed foods allege to have a low glycemic-index. However some, low glycemic foods, digest slowly and unfortunately produces fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels, which is very un-healthy for some people. Beans, nuts and most vegetables are good alternatives. Soymilk has proteins that help reduce urinary protein in people that have diabetes; tofu may also do the same. These foods are noted as having benefits such as preventing and controlling diabetes. Applying a plant based diet rich in low glycemic index foods can ease and control diabetes and reduce risk for other related conditions, such as heart disease. Related are cereals with added potassium and fiber, juices, dairy products like yogurt, and not so real butters with omega-3 fatty acids are stated to help reduce your risk of heart disease, when in fact they may do the opposite because of other added ingredients to their product. Fish, like salmon and mackerel are naturally rich in healthy omega-3’s, which helps reduce blood pressure and may aid in keeping arteries clear. If you’re not a fish lover then try raw nuts, which donate less saturated fat into your diet. Again, a plant-based diet has positive effects to your health, like naturally limiting the amount of artery clogging saturated fat consumed. Keep portions moderate, moderation is the key in sufficiently controlling cholesterol and helping control or prevent heart disease and diabetes.

The rest of the article was more or less compiled sentences on how adding processed and fortified foods can either assist your diet and overall health or do the complete opposite. I enjoyed learning some key facts about specific processed foods and how some that claim to have benefits probably do not! I am no expert in the field, but the article helped teach me several new things to apply to my routine and diet. Be cautious of starting a new diet, but at the same time be open to experimenting with new foods and ways of eating them. Like I stated before, always consult your physician before starting any new routine or diet, for your overall health and well-being. Do what you prefer and what suits your best, and remember to always be positive in everything you do, and enjoy.

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