What You Should Understand About Nutrition?

understanding nutrition

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There are numerous nutrients that make up our diet.  Each nutrient plays an important role in our diet and our diet is not well rounded without all of them.

The basic building blocks to a healthy diet include:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals


Fats and carbohydrates make up a healthy diet.  The key is to not to overeat either one of these to the point that they are not healthy for you.

Many people do not understand the role that fats and carbs play in our diet.  While these should be limited, they are still important for a healthy lifestyle.

The key is to make smart decisions when it comes to choosing which fats and oils you are going to eat.

This means that you will want to substitute saturated fats with unsaturated fats.  You want to cook with lighter oils when cooking.

Fats are essential for supplying the body with energy.  Fats are essential so that fatty acids and aid in the transportation of fat-soluble vitamins around the body.

These fat-soluble vitamins include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Carotenoids

Fats are also the building blocks for many tissues and membranes.  They play many roles in regulating the various bodily functions.

Dietary fat is available in both plant and animal sources of food.

Many nutrition experts recommend that the intake of fat should be kept to less than 20% of calories.

Extreme low-fat diets, however, are not safe and cause damage to the body.

The type of fat that you take in also makes a huge difference.

A diet that is high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and trans fats have been associated with numerous conditions including:

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Chronic health problems
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Excessive fat intake of saturated fats and trans fats are associated with the greatest complications.  Trans fats are those fats that are solid at room temperature.

One of the best ways to limit the intake of saturated fat is to limit the intake of animal fat in the diet.

Animal fats include meats such as:

  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Butter
  • Ice cream


Cholesterol can be regulated by watching the intake of eggs and organ meats, as well as other foods that are known to be high in cholesterol.

Food labels can make it difficult to determine which fats are good fats.  for example, trans fats are listed on the ingredient lists and not in the chart of dietary information.  Processed foods contain more trans fats.

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are better choices.  These can be found in canola and olive oil.

These are lighter oils and it is a big step towards healthier eating if you incorporate these into your diet instead of using fats such as lard to cook with.

These fats are liquid at room temperature.  They also have heart-protecting qualities, unlike trans fats.

Fish also contain good fats.  They are a source of omega-3 fatty acids.  These have been found to help lower cholesterol and to promote good health.  They



These are important of a healthy diet, although the marketing of some diets may have you think otherwise.  They are necessary for providing you with energy as well as essential nutrients.

Carbohydrates are found in a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy products.  They are not all equally healthy, so it is important that you choose wisely.

When you are choosing your bread and cereals, look to have them made with whole grains while avoiding the more highly refined varieties.

It is also important to limit the intake of sugars, such as baked goods and candy.

Consuming large amounts of these low nutrient and high-calorie foods can make it difficult to stay healthy without gaining weight.

Many people consume way too much sugar and salt.  Salt is important in nutrition, but many people consume too much of it.

Excess salt causes water retention, high blood pressure, and other conditions.

Choose low sodium foods and limit the use of the salt shaker.  By implementing these two strategies, you will be able to go a long way

Carbohydrates are found in a lot of foods.  For instance, cookies and whole wheat bread are both sources of carbohydrates.

Whole wheat bread is much more healthy than cookies.  This is where the importance of good decisions comes into play.

In addition to cereals and bread, carbohydrates are also present in fruits and vegetables.  They are also available in dairy products.  Carbohydrates and fats also help to provide variety in the diet.

When it comes to choosing carbohydrates it is best to choose those that are not refined.  When carbs enter the small intestine they are broken down into sugars.

Those carbs that are from refined products are broken down into sugar much more quickly.



There has been a lot of talks lately about how antioxidants are important in the diet.  They have a possible role in fighting a variety of illnesses and this includes some types of cancer.

They are also supposed to aid in age-related degeneration and heart disease.

Many companies are marketing various pills, powders, and capsules.  The marketing of these supplements stresses that you need you supplement your diet in this pill form.

However, it is best to receive these nutrients through everyday foods and not from supplements.

It is important to understand how antioxidants work to protect the body.  Antioxidants work to neutralize harmful elements that are known as free radicals.

These are produced in the body naturally and as a consequence of natural bodily processes.  Most of the time, the body will be able to neutralize and eliminate free radicals on its own.

Stresses such as environmental pollution, a weak immune system, UV radiation and alcohol cause the body to not be able to effectively fight these free radicals.

Excessive free radicals in the human body can cause damage to the structure and function of the various organs and other systems in the body.

Recent studies have also shown free radicals cause a number of diseases.  They may also play a role in aging.

It is estimated that foods have about 4,000 different compounds that have antioxidant qualities.

Since only a small number of these compounds have been identified it is difficult to see why adding a supplement would help achieve a healthy diet.

You are better off eating a variety of foods and receiving antioxidants the natural way.


There are many sources of antioxidant vitamins including:


Vitamin C

This is probably the most studied of all the antioxidant vitamins.  It is also known as ascorbic acid.

Vitamin C is believed to be the body’s first line of defense against infection and disease.  Vitamin C is water-soluble and must be consumed daily.

It is available in:

  • Grapefruit
  • Green peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Leafy greens
  • Strawberries
  • Cabbage
  • Potatoes


Vitamin E

This is a fat-soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver and other tissues.

It has been studied for its effect on aging and healing sunburns.

It is important that your diet contains adequate amounts of vitamin E.

Vitamin E can be found in:

  • Whole wheat germ
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Vegetable oil
  • Fish liver oil
  • Leafy greens



This is the nutrient that causes flamingos to be pink, as the receive it from the shrimp that they eat.  There are over 600 carotenoids that have been discovered so far.

The role of beta-carotene in nature is to protect the skins of fruits that are dark green, yellow and orange.

Beta-carotene can be found in:

  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Collard greens
  • Kale
  • Cantaloupe
  • Peaches
  • Apricots



This is one of the most important minerals in a healthy diet.

It has properties that prevent cell damage, which is seen as an important part of preventing cancer.

It is important to get selenium naturally from your diet, as supplements can be toxic.

It is easily found in foods such as:

  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Red meat
  • Whole grains
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Garlic
  • Vegetables that have been grown in selenium-rich soils

fresh-high fibers

Choosing Low Fat and High Fiber Foods

Raising the level of dietary fiber is important.  At the same time, it is important to lower the amount of fat in your diet.

Adding dietary fiber to your diet is one of the most effective changes that you can make.  However, many people consume way too much fat without enough fiber.

A good place to start is by knowing which foods you eat are high in fiber or which foods that are high in fiber that you could eat.  Eating a diet that is rich in fiber will lower fat and other negative diet elements.

When you are boosting the amount of fiber in your diet you also want to do so at a gradual rate.  Abrupt changes in fiber can cause abdominal pain, cramps, bloating and gas.

There are several high fiber foods including:
  • Dried peas & beans
  • Dried fruits
  • Nuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Berries

All of these foods have more than 6 grams of fiber per serving.

Foods which contain 4 to 6 grams of fiber per serving include:
  • Baked potatoes with skin
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Bran muffins
  • Lima beans
  • Snow peas
  • Green peas
  • Sweet potatoes
Foods that contain 2 to 4 grams per serving include:
  • Vegetables
  • Citrus fruits
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Rye bread
  • Melons

You will need to eat more of these foods to get the full effect, but that is okay because they are nutritious foods.

In order to have healthier eating habits for life, it is important to change the way you shop, cook and eat.

A diet change should be something that you intend to continue with through life, so it is important that you develop good habits now that will allow you to do so.

When you go for grocery shopping, get into the habit of hitting the produce section first.  This is generally easy because most grocery stores have it conveniently located near the front door.

You will want to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season.  These foods contain rich sources of vitamins and minerals.  They also have a lot of fiber.  Canned fruits and vegetables are okay if they are not in season.

When you are looking at baked goods, try to find those that are made with:
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Wheat bran
  • Oat bran
  • Poppy seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Oatmeal
  • Raisins

It is also important that you learn to read labels.  There are federally mandated labels on all foods that are sold.  These labels are also standardized and contain certain information.

Look at:
  • Calorie content
  • Fiber content
  • Vitamin content

You can also find this information on meats, seafood, and poultry as well.


Fiber Myths

There are several myths about fiber.  The first is that the crispness of a food is related to fiber.  The truth is that there is no relation here.

The amount of crispness of a food product does not indicate the amount of fiber that the product contains.  The crunch of lettuce, for example, is from the amount of water that it contains.

Second, many people think that cooking breaks down the fiber.  This is not true either.  Cooking has no effect on the amount of fiber that the food contains.

Peeling vegetables and fruits, however, will remove some fiber since the skins contain fiber.  Edible skins, such as apple peel, are a good source of fiber.

No matter why you need to increase your fiber intake, you will find that it is a positive change to make in your diet.  Increasing the amount of fiber you receive can have a large impact on your health.

Understanding Portion Sizes

We have all heard the USDA report that we need to eat 5 to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables each day.

This is really confusing because that sounds like a whole lot of food.

Exactly what is a serving?

A serving a fruit or vegetable may be:

  • A medium sized piece of fruit
  • One large slice of fruit
  • Two pieces of small fruit
  • 1 cup strawberries, raspberries or grapes
  • ½ cup of fresh fruit salad
  • ½ cup of stewed or canned fruit
  • ¼ cup of dried fruit
  • ½ cup of 100% pure fruit juice
  • ½ cup of cooked, canned or frozen vegetables
  • 1 side salad

Unlike other foods, the more the better when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables.  Be sure to include as many servings of fruits and vegetables as you can when planning your meals.

Tips for Healthier Living
  • Stock your fridge with celery or carrots
  • Keep a bowl of fruits ready to be eaten out on the table or kitchen counter
  • Eat warm vegetable soup on a cold day
  • Eat at least one salad per day
  • Snack on apples and oranges or dried fruits
  • Add sprouts, cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes to sandwiches for variety.
  • Garnish meals with grated or chopped carrots
  • Eat two servings of veggies with each dinner
  • Try vegetable stir fry
  • Make vegetable kabobs on the grill
  • Use baked apples or pears for dessert
  • Add veggies such as carrots, cabbage, onions, lentils and peas to soups, stews, and casseroles.
Tips for Choosing Fruits and Vegetables
  • When possible, choose fresh fruits. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients than frozen or dried varieties.
  • Frozen and canned vegetables are good for those fruits and vegetables that are out of season.
  • Choose fruits and vegetables from a variety of different colors.
  • Be careful when cooking vegetables.
  • Keep your vegetables healthy by adding minimal butter, margarine, and oil.
  • Be careful when cooking vegetables. It is best to quick steam in the microwave with minimal water.
Get Fish in Your Diet

Fish allows you to maximize protein while keeping the fat and calories low.  It’s the reason why fish is great for those people who are trying to lose weight and enjoy a healthier diet.

There are very few foods that are capable of combing low fat and low calories and then have high protein.  High protein usually comes with high fat and high calories.

Many people are leery of fish because they have had fish that is not very fresh.  Other people are leery because they don’t know how to cook it.

Fish dishes can seem challenging but they are actually quite easy.

The amount of protein in fresh and frozen fish and seafood is very high.  It is much higher than sources such as beef, pork, and lamb.



The basic building blocks to a healthy diet include:
⦁ Carbohydrates
⦁ Protein
⦁ Fats
⦁ Vitamins
⦁ Minerals

Fats are essential for supplying the body with energy.
Fats are also the building blocks for many tissues and membranes.
The type of fat that you take in makes a huge difference.

Choose the healthy form of carbohydrates, those that are not refined.

They aid in age-related degeneration and heart disease.
Vitamin C
Vitamin E

Choose Low Fat and High Fiber Foods

Fiber Myths
Cooking has no effect on the amount of fiber that the food contains.
Peeling vegetables and fruits will remove some fiber since the skins contain fiber.

Understand the Portion Sizes
Eat 5 to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables each day.

Get Fish in your Diet
Fish allows you to maximize protein while keeping the fat and calories low.


– Are you aware of the basic nutrients found in your food?

– Are you choosing foods with high nutrients?

– Are you eating healthy fats and complex carbohydrates?

– Are you having enough fiber?

– Are you including fish in your diet?






Why Blueberries Called Round Rolls Of Good Health?


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Who does not like blueberries? With all the goodness and health benefits of blueberries, I’m sure most people on this planet does.

Blueberries are one of the several American varieties of berries that have a high health value associated with them.

There are hundreds of ways to consume these very popular berries, and they are excellent to eat even just as they are.

What most people do not know is that this delectable delicacy is also a powerhouse of healthy benefits. Quite an important reason to gorge on these delightful berries on a daily basis then!

Blueberries are delightful foods. Whether young or old, they are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. They have a pretty shape and color and once you lay your eyes on them, you cannot resist nibbling on them.

They have been in use in several traditional recipes—who can forget the delectable bites of blueberry muffins, blueberry shortcakes, and blueberry pies—in the western parts of the world for centuries.

Nevertheless, it is only lately that significant body of research has shown that these berries have a vast amount of health benefits as well. Quite understandably, people have been looking at these berries with a whole new interest.

Most ‘berry’ lists rank blueberries as the second most popular berries in the world, after strawberries. It is the official berry of the Nova Scotia region in Canada.

The blueberry muffin is the official muffin of Minnesota. It has been widely pictured in the media and has been the cynosure of a lot of literature attention as well. Let us take a closer look at these celebrity berries.


Blueberries—What Are They?

This berry, which derives its name due to its color, actually has a very well deserved name. The berry is actually lusciously blue at one stage in its life, though not throughout.

It is pale green when it first appears, then goes through a whole gamut of colors from reddish purple to indigo.

It is indigo blue during the peak of its ripened life, and this is when it is at its tasteful and healthful best as well.

The shape of the blueberry is also unique. It is completely round, with a crown at its open end. This gives it a five-point symmetry. Added to that, the berries grow in clusters.

Since all the berries in a cluster won’t ripen at the same time, you will usually find berries of different colors hanging in the same cluster at any given moment. This adds to their appeal.

Biologically, the blueberry belongs to the genus Vaccinium, which makes it a cousin of bilberries and cranberries, which also belong to the same genus.

Though there are several kinds of blueberries, some even inedible, it is the species that belong to the section Cyanococcus that are the ones that are usually found in the market.

Blueberries—Traditional Roots

Blueberries are traditional fruits of the western part of the world, most notably North America, along with some countries in Europe and Asia as well.

They have always been used in preparing several items of usual cuisine in these local areas. America especially has had a great cultural association with blueberries and so have countries like England and France in Europe.

Several characteristic recipes of these regions include blueberry in them. North America is the largest producer of blueberries in the world.

blueberry cupcakes

Blueberries—Health Benefits

arrow3Blueberries are blue because of their very high anthocyanin content.

This makes it a good antioxidant, and a capable fighter of the various free radical mechanisms that threaten to slow down the metabolic rate of the body.

Blueberries are especially rich in anthocyanins. They give blueberries their deep blue hue and offer a range of beneficial properties.

For one thing, they’re anti-inflammatory and protect large and small blood vessels from oxidative damage.

This can protect blood vessels from damage caused by high blood-sugar levels in diabetics. This is especially important for the blood vessels in the eyes.

Regular consumption of these berries can have a great effect on improving health. However, just like any other health food, the blueberry cannot do anything by itself.

It needs to be well substantiated by a healthy diet, a healthy lifestyle and a good amount of exercise.


arrow3Blueberries have several minerals apart from its high antioxidant content.

This makes it a good solution for digestive ill health. Minerals such as sodium and copper make it a berry worth considering for people who suffer from digestive problems.

Also, the berry has a significant amount of fiber content. This makes it a good solution for people who are prone to constipation.

Antioxidants are thought to aid in guarding the body against the detrimental effects of free radicals to cells and the chronic diseases associated with the course of aging.

The antioxidants present in this fruit can protect the cell, so there is less chance for aging. Blueberries contain 14 mg of Vitamin C and 0.8 mg Vitamin E per 1 cup of blueberries.

Blueberries also contain anthocyanins and phenolics that can also act as antioxidants.  With this, the effects of blueberries on the skin are copious.


arrow3Blueberry is also a treasure-house of all the important vitamins in the body.

They provide a protective function, such as vitamins A, B-complex, C, and E, along with  potassium, folate, iron, and manganese.

Due to this, a regular diet of blueberries acts as an immunity shot. People who consume blueberries often are less liable to fall sick often.


arrow3Recently, there has been talking about blueberries acting as an anti-aging agent.

This benefit of the blueberry, which is still being medically and scientifically looked into, is because of the fact that the berry has antioxidants that can eliminate destructive free radicals from the body. Another important ingredient that causes this benefit is vitamin C.


arrow3Several mental health benefits are also derived from the regular consumption of blueberries.

It improves brain health and a person’s thinking capabilities. It also helps prevent any potential brain disorders.

The berries may also be effective in improving a person’s motor and sensory responses, and building their attention spans, concentration, and general alertness.

And one of the more exciting findings of blueberries is that they can help arrest the mental decline that occurs with Alzheimer’s disease.


arrow3Blueberries are also known for improving visual health.

This is because of the high amount of vitamin A in it in the form of its precursor, beta-carotene.

Even visual defects such as short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hypermetropia) and cataract can be somewhat assayed by the regular consumption of blueberries.


arrow3One of the unique benefits of blueberries is the prevention of urinary tract infection.

It does this by eliminating the action of Escherichia coli that cause this infection. An immediate effect of blueberries is in reducing the infection symptoms and inhibition of any proliferation of E. coli.


arrow3Blueberries are also considered a potential cure for cancer.

Certain anthocyanins present in it are presumed to have anti-carcinogenic properties. These presumptions are being tested for medical verification.

If found true, blueberries could be an efficient ally in the prevention and treatment of colon and liver cancer.

Researchers have shown that the anthocyanins in blueberries, along with other agents such as proanthocyanidins, flavonols, and tannins, inhibit mechanisms of cancer cell development in vitro.


arrow3Blueberries are good for better balance and coordination.

Blueberries also have positive effects on balance and coordination. In a study by Dr. James Joseph of Tufts University, it was found that a diet loaded with blueberries counteracted poor balance and coordination associated with aging.

In this study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Joseph fed four groups of rats a normal diet. But among these groups were given blueberries, spinach, or strawberries.

For 18 weeks, the rats were tested for mental functioning, muscle strength, coordination, and balance.

The two groups which were fed with strawberry and blueberry extracts performed well on these tests, but the group fed with blueberries executed the most improvement.

Not only that, findings also showed that blueberries improved the neuronal functioning of the rats.

Dr. Joseph suspects the findings are a result of blueberries’ rich store of flavonoids — phytochemicals that have an effect on cell membranes.

These findings suggest that nutritional intervention can offer hope to those suffering poor balance and coordination related to aging.


Blueberries—Where to Get Them

You will find no difficulty at all in finding blueberries in most parts of the world, especially in North America and throughout Europe and even some parts of Asia.

The abundance of these berries also makes them one of the cheapest berries in the world.

For the large number of health benefits that they also contain, there should be no reason to keep these wonderful fruits away from the regular diet.

Although the best way to consume blueberries is fresh and raw, you can still enjoy the benefits of blueberries when cooked.

Before using blueberries in your favorite foods, it is essential to wash them thoroughly.

The pesticides that could potentially be on blueberries can have some adverse health effects, but washing the blueberries helps to remove this risk.

Perhaps the most common way to prepare blueberries is in blueberry pie.

Cooking the blueberries does remove some of its fiber content, which aids the digestive system, and does cause them to lose some of their nutritional value.

In addition, the sugar added to the pie is not healthy.

Blueberries can also be used in jams, jellies, and muffins.  For a low-calorie and healthy treat, it will still satisfy your sweet tooth and allow you to reap the full benefits of blueberries.

However, simply wash off the blueberries and eat them with a dollop of whip cream on top.  Or, throw some blueberries into some plain yogurt or mix with other fruit for a tasty fruit salad.

Thus, make blueberries a part of your diet. Not only will you have a delicious new taste in your life, but you’ll also be doing your health a world of good.

Here are some easy to prepare recipes that you can do with blueberries.

Blueberry Spinach Salad


1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup raspberry vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (10-ounce) package fresh spinach, torn

1 (4-ounce) package blue cheese, crumbled

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted


1. In a jar with tight-fitting lid, combine the first five ingredients and shake well.

2. In a large salad bowl, toss the spinach, blue cheese, blueberries, and pecans.

3. Add dressing and toss gently; serve immediately.


Blueberry Walnut Salad


1 (10-ounce) package mixed salad greens

1 pint fresh blueberries

1/4 cup walnuts

1/2 cup raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese


1. In a large bowl, toss the salad greens with the blueberries, walnuts, and raspberry vinaigrette.

2. Top with feta cheese to serve.


Honeydew Blueberry Soup


1 honeydew melon

1-pint blueberries

6 oatmeal cookies


1. Cut the melon from the rind and into chunks.

2. Puree until smooth in a food processor or blender.

3. Pour into a large bowl and stir blueberries into pureed melon.

4. Chill until quite cold.

5. To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls and crumble an oatmeal cookie over each serving.


Blueberry Fruit Salad


1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks

1 (15-ounce) can sliced peaches

4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

3 medium firm bananas, sliced

1 cup green grapes, halved

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

3 tablespoons orange breakfast drink mix


1. Drain pineapple and peaches, reserving juices; set aside.

2. Combine the fruit in a large bowl.

3. In another bowl, combine fruit juices with pudding and drink mixes.ix well.

4. Mix well.

5. Pour over fruit and toss to coat.


Blueberry Parfait


1 1/2 cups sour cream

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed

Whipped cream


1. In a bowl, combine sour cream, brown sugar, lemon juice and peel.

2. Cover and refrigerate just before serving.

3. Place half of the berries in dessert dishes or parfait glasses.

4. Top with half of the sour cream mixture. Repeat layers.

5. Top with whipped cream.


Health Benefits of Blueberries

  • They are very high anthocyanin content
  • Blueberries have several minerals apart from its high antioxidant content
  • Blueberry is also a treasure-house of all the important vitamins in the body
  • There has been talking about blueberries acting as an anti-aging agent
  • Several mental health benefits are also derived from the regular consumption of blueberries
  • Blueberries are also known for improving visual health
  • One of the unique benefits of blueberries is the prevention of urinary tract infection
  • Blueberries are also considered a potential cure for cancer
  • Blueberries are good for better balance and coordination


– Are there blueberry products available in your area?

– Do you love to eat blueberries or anything with blueberries?

– Do you consume blueberries?

– Are there other berries you can gobble up instead?

– Are there alternative antioxidants source you can eat?

– Are there alternative source of this similar health food that you can eat?