Jul 292014
 
banana nutrition facts, benefits of bananas, banana nutrition,

Why are bananas getting a bad rap? What are the real banana nutrition facts? Certainly part of the problem is a number of media stories have left doubt in some folks minds.

Just one example is a January 2014 article by Jacque Wilson posted by CNN Health with the provocative title “Are bananas bad for me too?” The story the story of Paignton Zoo in Devon, England replacing bananas in their monkey’s diets with more leafy green vegetables because “bananas grown for human consumption are full of sugar and calories”. As a hook, the title and first graph are perfect for collecting clicks and I am sure there were many. But! The body of the story is a more nuanced look at many banana nutrition facts and numbers and comes down solidly on the side of the banana. You can read the piece for yourself by clicking here.

The Real Banana Nutrition Facts

So, stripped of all points of view, what are the true banana nutrition facts? Here are the numbers you need, all based on a “medium” banana which is about 118 grams, or between 7 and 8 inches long.

  1. Calories 105
  2. % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 0.4 g 0%
    Saturated fat 0.1 g 0%
    Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g
    Monounsaturated fat 0 g
    Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
    Sodium 1 mg 0%
    Potassium 422 mg 12%
    Total Carbohydrate 27 g 9%
    Dietary fiber 3.1 g 12%
    Sugar 14 g
    Protein 1.3 g 2%
    Vitamin A 1% Vitamin C 17%
    Calcium 0% Iron 1%
    Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 20%
    Vitamin B-12 0% Magnesium 8%

I think you will agree that these numbers aren’t very scary so what’s the problem?

This is my personal opinion only, although it is also popular on some sites, is that the 14 grams of sugar scares some people to death. While it is true that on the molecular level sugar is sugar no matter where it comes from, all sugar isn’t necessarily evil.  Sugar that is added to foods by us humans  offers no additional nutritional value while natural sugars, like those in our bananas, are there because mother nature decided they should be. If you are consuming a boatload of sugar other places in your diet, then sugar from fruits are adding to the problem. But, if you have constructed a healthy diet that is balanced and contains lots of veggies and fruits then these sugars aren’t a problem.

 

Those who focus on the sugar seem to miss the amount of other good stuff our bananas offer. Potassium is just one example. Most folks who aren’t paying attention to their fruits and veggies don’t get nearly enough potassium. A banana snack offers a painless way to get that necessary mineral.

 

Like everything else in your diet whether or not you eat bananas is a personal choice. Even if you are a smoothie person, there ar any number of recipes available that don’t call for bananas.  My recommendation is to do what fits your personal situation. Just do pay yourself the respect to do some research and decide for yourself !

 

 Posted by at 10:47 am
Jul 272014
 
weight loss tips, weight loss, lose weight, control your weight

Of all the common challenges most people tackle, losing weight seems to be one of the largest. This is evident by how many different diet products are advertised on television alone. Add that advertising to the thousands and thousands of internet sites focusing on weight loss tips and you will come up with an impressively large number. And that isn’t even considering each new “miracle” weight loss product that comes along that “they don’t want you to know about”. Clearly being able to lose weight is of intense interest.

In the interest of helping you achieve your own personal goals, here are some pretty effective weight loss tips that are going to help. And, of course, smoothies play an important role!

Weight Loss Tips That Will Work

  • Don’t create a diet that denies you a healthy diet: Yes, you must eat healthy but you must also have a fully balanced diet if you are to lose weight and stay healthy. When planning your meals include good fools such as grapes and cherries. Both fruits are nutritionally helpful and both make wonderful smoothies. Try this Black Cherry smoothie recipe or this Red grape smoothie.
  • Even moderate exercise will help you to lose weight. The pudgy among us are sometimes intimated by the thought of joining a gym among all those disgustingly fit people. Well, as a pudgy person who goes to a gym I can tell you that stereotype isn’t true. I can also tell you that you don’t need to join a gym if you don’t want to. Exercise is exercise no matter where you get it! Whether you walk, climb the stairs at work, jog in the evenings, park as far away from the door as possible doesn’t matter at all. What does matter is you do something to increase your heart rate five to seven days a week.
  • Don’t Quit! Think about how long it has taken to gain the excess weight you now want to lose; I’ll bet its been a while hasn’t it? So losing that weight is, realistically, going to take some time too. I haven’t seen any numbers but I will bet that more diets have been discarded because of unrealistic expectations than any other single reason. Don’t be one of those people. When you find a diet you can live with (with smoothies!) stick with it.

And that’s really all there is to it. Eat healthy, get some exercise, and don’t quit. Do those three things and you will lose weight. It will be slow but it will stay off once you lose it.

Of course you have been told, and read, all these weight loss tips for years. So long that they now have little impact. But ask yourself this: If you have heard them for so long doesn’t that mean that they just might be true?

 Posted by at 8:00 am
Jul 022014
 
vegetarian diet, healthy vegetarian diet, vegetarian diet plan

Many people are under the impression that a vegetarian diet is an incomplete diet in terms of nutrition. While it is true that meats are not featured the important nutrients found in meats can also be found in many non-meat food items. Below are some pointers on how to craft a vegetarian diet that is well balanced and healthy.

Iron

Iron is the nutrient commonly associated with red meat. So, since a vegetarian diet does inot include meat, iron must be obtained from other sources. Fortunately, many leafy green vegetables like spinach and collard greens are rich in iron. Tofu and certain beans also have a high iron content.

Adding Dairy to a Vegetarian Diet

When deciding on a vegetarian diet it is your choice whether or not to include both milk and eggs; some do and some don’t. When making your decision, keep in mind that eggs, and milk too, are great sources of very high-quality protein. Vitamin B-12 is a critical nutrient mostly found in meat, fish and dairy products. If you decide against including dairy products and fish in your diet, you may need to take a B-12 supplement to be certain that your body receives a sufficient amount of B-12.

Having said all that, don’t use dairy products with a high-fat content as your main source of protein. The excess fat can lead to undesired weight gain. Instead, use low-fat or skim milk. And don’t forget that there are non-dairy sources of protein, such as nuts, legumes, tofu and beans.

Whole Grains are Crucial

Whole grains will be an important part of any vegetarian diet. They are rich with healthy fiber and many other nutrients as well. Different grains are rich in different vitamins and minerals so including a variety of whole grains in your meals will add a number of different nutrients as well. Don’t make the mistake of confusing whole grains with refined grain products. Highly processed refined grains have had most of their nutrients removed when the outer and inner parts of the grain seed were removed during processing.

Complete Proteins

To be healthy any diet needs to include what are know as “complete” proteins. A complete protein contains proportions of nine essential amino acids. Proteins derived from animals are complete where plant derived proteins may not be. Including as many varieties of beans, nuts, grains, and legumes as you can greatly improves the quality and quantity of important amino acids in your vegetarian diet.

Avoid Processed Food Products

It should go without saying that you really need to avoid highly processed foods loaded with salts and artificial ingredients. Even some of the pre-packaged “vegetarian” meals in the store contain some artificial, man-made ingredients. Stick with fresh foods as much as you can. Simply because a pre-packaged food says that it is vegetarian, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s healthy. It can be loaded with empty calories from fats, with excess sodium and ingredients that you cannot even pronounce. These are food choices that you should avoid.

Building a vegetarian diet that is well-balanced and healthy can certainly be done but it does require both knowledge and planning. Most importantly, learning all about the non-meat options and what nutrients are provided by each type of food is your challenge. But once you have done your homework, you will find that you can exclude meat from your diet pretty easily without depriving yourself of proper nutrition.

Smoothies are Key

Adding these nutrients to your now vegetarian diet is going to be much easier with smoothies. A well made smoothie can easily contain the larger part of your daily nutritional requirements by combining many different ingredients in a single glass. Browse through our collection of more than 800 smoothie recipes and you are certain to find some that you are going to enjoy.

 Posted by at 10:10 am
Jun 122014
 
antioxidants, free radicals,

By Barry R Parker

Antioxidants (molecules that inhibit oxidation) play a central role in the body. They are, in fact, critical for life. Without them the cells in your body would soon be damaged beyond repair.

A cell can be damaged, or mutated, in several ways. Mutations usually occur when defects are created in DNA, which results in the production of defective or incorrect proteins. Many of these defects are caused by what are called free radicals. Free radicals are associated with oxygen, and since we breathe in oxygen continuously, there’s plenty of it in our bodies at any time. Basically, they are oxygen molecules that are missing an electron and are looking to snatch one from another molecule in a process called oxidation.

Despite the damage they do, free radicals play an important role in nature. An exposed apple decays and dries up, and an iron bar eventually rusts and disappears because of them. So nature uses them to get rid of things that are no longer needed. In the body, however, they can be a disaster. As you might expect, though, the body is programmed to get rid of them. To do this it uses antioxidants; it’s a highly efficient process, but sometimes a few manage to elude the antioxidants, and they can cause considerable damage. Strangely, though, they are helpful in some cases. The immune system, for example, uses them to fight infection.

But how does oxygen lose an electron and become a free radical? There are several ways. Radiation is one; others are cigarette smoke, smog, various chemicals, and they are even generated when you exercise. In addition, large numbers are produced in the “furnaces” within your cells, called mitochondria (they generate the energy that your body needs each day).

The large number of free radicals within mitochondria are, in fact, a serious problem because mitochondria has its own DNA (called mtDNA) which directs everything that goes on within it. And with so many free radicals around, the mtDNA is particularly vulnerable and gets attacked continuously.

Oxidative Stress and Disease

The constant production of large numbers of free radicals in the normal course of metabolism (plus other pressures from the environment, toxins in the air and water) places a heavy burden on our organisms, since they damage all components of our cells, including DNA, protein, cell membranes, and lipids. This produces what is called oxidative stress. And because it causes considerable damage to our cells, and it can cause cell death, it is now thought to be involved in many diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, MS and others.

Oxidative stress also causes the oxidation of LDL cholesterol which is a precursor to plaque formation and heart disease. And it has also been shown to be implicated in chronic fatigue syndrome.

Free Radicals and Aging

Free radicals are also now assumed to be related to the aging process, although there is some controversy about exactly how they are related. A theory referred to as the “free radical theory of aging” was put forward in the 1950’s by Dunham Harman. A few years later it was modified to include several diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and several others. Then in 1972 Harman introduced his “Mitochondrial theory of aging” in which free radicals acting on mitochondrial DNA played a central role in aging. Although there’s no doubt that free radicals play some role in aging, the problem with these theories is that dietary and supplements of antioxidants, which should control the free radicals that are produced, do not appear to extend our life, or even decrease the incidence of disease. The main problem at the present time is that we do not yet fully understand all the details of how free radicals, or even antioxidants, act in the body.

Common Antioxidants

Having a good supply of antioxidants in your body is critical, and there are three ways you can get them: through the food you eat, through supplements, and your body also produces some.

Some of the major antioxidants are:

  • Vitamins C, E and A
  • Selenium
  • Glutathione
  • Alpha lipoic acid

Glutathione is synthesized in your body from amino acids. It is one of the most important cellular antioxidants, and is found in all cells. Alpha lipoic acid is also present in all cells in your body. It is used in the conversion of glucose (blood sugar) into energy. It also helps recycle several antioxidants when they are used up. Selenium is not directly an antioxidant. But it is required to initiate the activity of some antioxidants. It also helps in the production of glutathione.

The Best Sources of Antioxidants

Although you can get antioxidants both from food and supplements, but it is best to get them from food. The best food sources are vegetables and fruit (it’s important to note, however, that processed food contains fewer antioxidants than fresh or uncooked foods). Other types of foods that contain smaller amounts are nuts, whole grains, with even smaller amounts in meat, poultry, fish, eggs and coffee.

Some of the best vegetables are:

  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Beets
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Eggplant

Some of the best fruits are:

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cherries
  • Pink grapefruit
  • Oranges

The Controversy with Supplements

Vitamins C, E and A, along with selenium, grape seed extract, pycnoginol and reversatrol are all well-known antioxidant supplements. But recent studies have shown that there are problems with antioxidants in supplement form. They show that supplements don’t appear to extend life; nor do they appear to be directly helpful in relation to most serious diseases such as cancer. Indeed, if taken in large amounts they may even have adverse effects. This is strange in that fruit and vegetables, which contain large amounts of antioxidants, are particularly good for you and do appear to ward off some diseases. The reason that fruit and vegetables are so much better, according to most scientists, is that they contain large numbers of other excellent nutrients besides antioxidants and they also likely have an effect.

A few antioxidants, however, do appear to be directly helpful. Lipoic acid, for example, seems to protect mitochondria, and studies have shown that it is also helpful in slowing macro degeneracy of the eyes.

Significance of Antioxidants in Relation to Exercise

Large numbers of free radicals are also created when you exercise, and they produce oxidative stress that can last up to 24 hours after the exercise. During the exercise many muscle cells break down and die and must be replaced, and they are usually replaced by larger and more powerful cells. Antioxidants play an important role in this process. But strangely, free radicals are also used for removing dead cells, and if there are too many antioxidants present they can delay recovery.

So the role of antioxidants in relation to exercise is a mixed bag. You don’t want too many, but they are used by the immune system and they also help strengthen the glutathione system which helps decrease oxidative stress.

Barry Parker is a professor emeritus (physics) at Idaho State University who now spends most of his time writing. He is the author of 26 books on science, health writing, and music, and he has written for the Smithsonian, Encyclopedia Britannica, Time-Life Books, the Washington Post, and numerous magazines such as Flyfisherman, Astronomy Magazine, and Sky and Telescope. One of his books is “You Should Write a Book: Writing it With Style and Clarity, Publishing Beautiful Pages, Selling Thousands of Copies,” It is based on a course he taught at ISU for several years, and is available through his website BarryParkerbooks.com. He is also the author of “Feel Great Feel Alive” which is on health, fitness and self-improvement, and he is CEO of Stardust Press. While at ISU he did research on the DNA molecule and on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. His latest book is “Learn from Yesterday, Live for Today, Hope for Tomorrow.”

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Barry_R_Parker
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 Posted by at 3:35 pm