Nutrition Information

(Fitness) Health Thoughts, Living on the Health Minimum Wage?

Random thoughts taken from valuable sources, what many nutrition experts consider to be the most important nutrients and health habits a person should have to help them stay healthy long term. We would categorize them into the following areas.

Dietary Fiber - Fiber is extremely important to your health in a number of different ways.

According to the National Institutes of Health one of the common causes of constipation is not enough fiber in the diet.

Fiber promotes cardiovascular health plus in studies has been indicated to help lower harmful cholesterol levels when combined with a healthy diet. But what most people don't know about fiber is all the various varieties there are of dietary fiber.

The point is with all the healthy benefits of dietary fiber most people don't get enough everyday - it is recommend that people get 25-30 grams of fiber per day. So if they're not getting it through their diet it pays to take a supplement. No wonder so many people are constipated.

Let's talk next about enzymes - did you know that enzymes control virtually all the chemical processes and reactions in your body - everything from digestion to breaking down old cells to generating new cells.

There is no doubt that enzymes are probably the most under-rated nutritional substance. Essentially because nobody talks about them. Most manufactures are not putting them in their foods or supplements. Most manufactures proudly state that their cereal is Vitamin Enriched. However, when was the last time you read a label that said our product is Enzyme Enriched!

However, with the importance of enzymes the question begs to be asked, Where do I get adequate enzymes from? It certainly isn't from our foods. Processed and cooked foods destroy all enzymes. Sure our body has the ability to manufacture certain enzymes, but just like anything else it could sure use a supplement boost. The best foods for getting enzymes are fresh raw fruits and vegetables, but the problem is less than 20 percent of all people eat even the minimum recommended amount.

Perhaps an enzyme supplement would be advisable.

And why would someone only want the minimum amount of health? That is like living off the minimum wage - not a pleasant thought.

Antioxidants - Gee, how important are antioxidants. With all the environmental pollutants, smoke, chemicals etc that our bodies are exposed to on a daily basis we just can't underestimate the importance of antioxidants. Antioxidants as you know deactivate dangerous free radicals. Free radicals are essentially what causes iron to rust and an apple to turn brown after cut. The next time you cut an apple in two put lemon juice on half the apple and none on the other half - notice how the one half without the lemon turns brown much faster. This is because the lemon juice is an antioxidant protecting the apple half.

Now think about what oxygen free radicals are doing to your body without an adequate supply of antioxidants.

So antioxidants are extremely important, however, what you may not know is that a variety (or network) of antioxidants almost always is more effective than just the same amount of individual antioxidants. So a variety of 15 different antioxidants would typically work better than the same amount of one single antioxidant.

Micronutrients or plant nutrients - these are present in virtually all plants here are some examples:

Cauliflower contains the micro- photonutrient sulforaphane. In research done at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, sulforaphane lowered the occurrence of breast tumors in lab animals by almost 40%.

In peppers you have micro- photonutrient capsaicin-it has been found to work as an anticoagulant, thus possibly helping prevent heart attacks or strokes caused by blood clot.

Lemons contain limonene, a compound shown to have anticancer properties in laboratory animals. Limonene also appears to raise the levels of beneficial enzymes in the liver.

And of course this is the tip of the iceberg as micro-phytonutrients are present in most plants, researchers are still uncovering all their many health benefits.

A couple more good health tips.

Clean Water - One of the most valuable things you can do for your health is to assure you drink at least 8 glasses of good clean pure water each day. This doesn't include soft drinks, beer, wine, coffee, tea, etc. This helps flush wastes from the body, keeps the cells hydrated and some experts believe it can even help keep healthy blood cholesterol levels down.

Finally Exercise - One can't underestimate the role regular exercise plays in long term health. It is important when starting an exercise to do something you enjoy and don't over commit and over do it. I.E. never bite off more than you can chew. You want to develop a good habit of exercise and the only way to do that is to start very slowly.

For example your goal for the first week may be to do 1 sit-up per day or walk to the end of your driveway and back. This may seem too easy, but our main concern is that we develop a good habit of doing some exercise everyday. And if you can do it for 21 straight days a good habit will develop.

One last thing to consider - too often most people think about what are the minimums in each area required for health. Why would someone only want the minimum amount of health?

That is like living off the minimum wage - not a pleasant thought.

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Every Wednesday in March, dietitians at St. Luke's will be in the cafeteria answering questions, as well as offering a healthy meal.

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K-State Swine Releases Updated Swine Nutrition Guide  Pork Magazine

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