Monday, November 14, 2011

Vitamin A Benefits

Vitamin A is one of the most versatile vitamins, playing roles in several important body processes. The best known vitamin A benefits relates to vision. For a person to see, light reaching the eye must be transformed into nerve impulses that the brain interprets to produce visual images. The transformers are molecules of pigment in the cells of the retina, a paper-thin tissue lining the back of the eye. A portion of each pigment molecule is retinal, a compound the body can synthesize only if vitamin A is supplied by the diet in some form. Thus, when vitamin A is deficient, vision is impaired. Specifically, the eye has difficulty adapting to changing light levels. For a person deficient in vitamin A, a flash of bright light at night (after the eye has adapted to darkness) is followed by a prolonged spell of night blindness. Because night blindness is easy to diagnose, it aids in the diagnosis of vitamin A deficiency. (Night blindness is only a symptom, however, and it may indicate a condition other than vitamin A deficiency.)

One of the best vitamin A benefits are it helps to maintain healthy epithelial tissue: skin and the cells (called epithelial cells) lining such body cavities as the small intestine and lungs. Vitamin A is also involved in the production of sperm, the normal development of fetuses, the immune response, hearing, taste, and growth.

As much as a year’s supply of vitamin A can be stored in the body (90 percent of it in the liver). If you stop eating good food sources of vitamin A, deficiency symptoms will not begin to appear until your stores are depleted. Then, however, the consequences are profound, and include blindness and reduced resistance to infection. Although vitamin A deficiency is rarely seen in developed countries such as the United States and Canada, it is a serious public health problem in developing countries, where millions of children suffer from blindness, infections, and the other consequences of vitamin A deficiencies.

Vitamin A toxicity, in contrast, is not nearly as widespread as deficiency. Nevertheless, it can also lead to severe health consequences, including joint pain, dryness of skin, hair loss, irritability, fatigue, headaches, weakness, nausea, and liver damage. Thus, it’s especially important not to take mega doses of this nutrient even it has a good vitamin A benefits for the body.

Although toxicity poses a hazard to people who take supplements of preformed vitamin A, toxicity poses virtually no risk to people who obtain vitamin A from foods in the form of beta-carotene.

Sources of Vitamin A in Foods The major sources of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) are almost all brightly colored, in hues of green, yellow, orange, and red which are the best vitamin A benefits for the body. Any plant food with significant vitamin A activity must have some color, because beta-carotene is a rich, deep-yellow, almost orange color. (Preformed vitamin A is pale yellow.) The dark-green leafy vegetables contain large amounts of the green pigment chlorophyll, which masks the carotene in them.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Benefits of Green Tea

Of all the beverages consumed today, tea is undoubtedly one of the oldest, most widely known, and most widely consumed, and also gives a lot of health benefits. Consumption was introduced to the world by traders and travelers. The method by which tea is processed determines whether green, black, or oolong is produced. Green tea is made by steaming fresh leaves at high temperatures, followed by a sequence of drying and rolling steps, resulting in tea that is for the most part the same chemical composition as the fresh leaves that bring the best health benefits of green tea. Black tea is fermented. The extent of the fermentation period determines the chemical composition of the tea; hence, the chemical composition of most black teas differs. Oolong is produced by solar withering of tea leaves followed by partial fermentation.

Tea leaves include several ingredients, some of which are believed to act as medicinal compounds. A feeling of relaxation can be induced by daily tea consumption. A part of this feeling may be mediated by either EGCG, L-theanine, or both. Tea components may be beneficial in a stressful society, and may have medicinal benefits for several mental diseases.

Tea leaves are also rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, and caffeine, among a myriad of other chemicals. The amount of caffeine in a serving of tea is usually less than half the caffeine in a serving of coffee, but actual caffeine content can vary widely depending on the specific blend of tea and the brew strength.

Most health benefits of green tea include:

Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease by:
• Reducing inflammation
• Decreasing total cholesterol
• Decreasing LDL-cholesterol
• Protecting against blood clot formation
• Decreasing blood pressure

Decreases risk of cancer by:
• Inhibiting carcinogenesis
• Suppressing formation of carcinogenic substances
• Increasing the effectiveness of a number of chemotherapeutic agents

Protects against neurodegenerative diseases by:
• Decreasing plaque formation associated with Alzheimer’s disease
• Raising dopamine levels to ward off Parkinson’s disease
• Protecting against deterioration of brain function

The health benefits of green tea appear to be dose dependent, meaning that drinking more tea provides the greatest effect.

How Much Is Too Much Protein?

Many of the world’s people struggle to obtain enough food and enough protein to keep themselves alive, but in the developed countries, where protein is abundant, the problems of protein excess can be seen. Animals fed high-protein diets experience a too much protein overload effect, most notable in the enlargement of their livers and kidneys. In human beings, diets high in animal protein necessitate higher intakes of calcium as well, because such diets promote calcium excretion. Too much protein may also create an increased demand for vitamin B6 in the diet, which the body requires to utilize the protein. The higher a person’s intake of animal-protein sources such as meat, the more likely it is that fruits, vegetables, and grains will be crowded out of the diet, creating deficiencies of other nutrients.

Although protein is essential to health, the body converts extra protein to energy (glucose), which is stored as body fat when energy needs are met. Despite the flood of new protein-packed snack bars and other products in the marketplace, there are no known benefits from consuming excess or too much protein. The recommended upper limit for protein intake applies when calorie intake is adequate. Note the qualification “when calorie intake is adequate” in the preceding statement. Remember that your recommended protein intake can be stated as a percentage of calories in the diet or as a specific number of grams of dietary protein. The recommended protein intake for a 150-pound person is roughly 55 grams, or about 12 percent of their daily caloric intake. Fifty-five grams of protein is equal to 220 calories and equals 11 percent of a 2,000-calorie intake, which is reasonable for a 150-pound active person. If this person were to drastically reduce his or her caloric intake to, say, 800 calories a day, then 220 calories from protein is suddenly 28 percent of the total. However, it is still this person’s recommended intake for protein, and a reasonable intake. It is the caloric intake that is unreasonable in this example. Similarly, if the person eats too much protein or too many calories, say, 4,000, this protein intake represents only 6 percent of the total caloric intake, yet it is still a reasonable intake. It is the caloric intake that may be unreasonable.

Thus, it is important to be careful when judging protein intakes as a percentage of calories. Always ask what the absolute number of grams is, too, and compare it with the recommended protein intake in grams. Recommendations stated as a percentage of calories are useful only when food energy intakes (calories) are within reason.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nausea Remedies With Healing Drinks

Distressing and debilitating, unsure whether you are about to vomit or not, nausea must be one of the most horrible sensations we experience. Unfortunately for many women, chronic nausea can accompany the first twelve weeks of pregnancy and often it is not just morning sickness; for many it can last all day. Nausea and vomiting can also be related to a variety of other things: an infection or intestinal parasites, a disturbance of the inner ear balance mechanism or travel sickness, overindulgence in food or alcohol, toxic overload of the liver, the effects of chemotherapy, or stress.

For some that terrible feeling of nausea is relieved by vomiting which is simple way for nausea remedies, but for others it can continue even when the contents of the stomach have been emptied several times. If this is the case, it is important that you drink plenty of liquid to prevent dehydration. Consult your doctor if persistent vomiting is accompanied by faintness, severe pain or fever to be sure you have the right nausea remedies.

Whatever the cause, one of the best and most delicious remedies for nausea is ginger. Ginger effectively relieved motion sickness in 75 per cent of cases. Sipped as ginger tea, ginger beer or ginger ale it swiftly brings relief even when nausea is related to the toxic effects of chemotherapy. Drinks made from other aromatic spices like cinnamon, coriander, cumin and cardamom, and herbal teas including peppermint, fennel, dill and lemon verbena, can also be helpful and a good nausea remedies. Not only do these settle the stomach, but also they all contain volatile oils which have powerful antimicrobial actions, effectively combating infection that can give rise to nausea and vomiting.

You may need to experiment a little when making drinks with herbs and spices for your nausea remedies to find which ones suit you best but it helps considerably if you like their taste. One of a high recommendation for nausea remedies is to drink Moroccan mint tea which can swiftly relieve nausea. When nausea is related to emotional stress, try herbal teas that have calming properties as well as a beneficial effect on the digestion, such as lemon balm, chamomile, lavender and vervain.

Healthy Balanced Diet For Your Baby

Although milk provides most of your baby’s nutrients for the first year, it’s important to choose the healthiest foods and drinks for him. His stomach is small, and every mouthful should add to his nutrient intake. Like adults, he needs a healthy balanced diet, even when he is eating only one or two meals a day. Your baby will begin with only a few tastes at each mealtime. By seven months, he should be eating three small meals a day, with food from each of the food groups below. Until he is a year old, he still needs about 20 fl oz (600ml) of breast milk or formula, but he will get this in fewer feedings.

Overall nutrition Don’t worry too much if your baby doesn’t get a little of every food group in each sitting. It’s more important to look at the overall picture - as long as he is getting a few servings of everything throughout the day, he’ll be doing well. As he heads toward two or three full meals a day, make sure that he gets at least a spoonful of fruit and vegetables, a carbohydrate (such as pasta, potato, or baby rice), some protein (in the form of some lentils, soy, meat, fish, dairy) and some healthy fats, also contained in dairy produce, eggs, nut butters, ground seeds, and meat. Variety is more important than quantity in a healthy balanced diet.

Carbohydrates These provide the energy to grow and develop. Complex carbohydrates, which are unrefined, such as whole-grain cereals, breads, brown rice, and pasta, and fruit and vegetables are the healthiest carbohydrates for your baby and will provide him with plenty of fiber, a little protein, as well as vitamins and minerals. Most importantly in a healthy balanced diet, they provide a sustained source of energy.

Fats These are essential for babies, and required for many body functions, including the nervous system. More than 50 percent of the calories in breast milk come from fat, of which the most important type is EFAs, or essential fatty acids. These are found in oily fish, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and avocados, as well as some grains, such as quinoa. These are important for growth, development, behavior, and the ability to learn. Avoid hydrogenated trans fats.
Saturated fats, which are found in whole milk dairy and meat, have been linked with health problems, such as cardiovascular disease; however, your baby does need them in small quantities.

Proteins Fish, lean meats, legumes (such as lentils, beans, peas, and chickpeas), soy, dairy, eggs, whole grains, and chicken, all contain protein, which provides your baby’s body with the tools he needs to grow and develop. He’ll need several servings of good-quality protein each day to meet a healthy balanced diet.

Fiber One of the food groups that play an important role in healthy balanced diet is fiber. This is found in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, and it has a host of roles in your baby’s body, including ensuring healthy digestion and bowel movements, stimulating saliva to protect his teeth, and encouraging the absorption of nutrients from the food your baby eats.

Vitamins and minerals Your baby needs all the vitamins and minerals found in a healthy balanced diet that includes protein, complex carbohydrates, good-quality fats, and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Iron is especially important for your baby’s development and growth. This key mineral is found in dried fruits, meat, leafy-green vegetables, legumes, and iron-fortified cereals. Also important is vitamin C, found in most fruits and vegetables. This is required for your baby’s overall health and, in particular, his immune system, bones, and skin. It’s also necessary for iron to be absorbed.

Vitamin D, needed for bones and teeth, is in eggs, oily fish, and dairy.
Finally, your baby needs calcium for healthy bones and teeth, and other body functions. This is found in leafy green vegetables, dairy, sesame seeds, almonds, and soy.

Every other vitamin and mineral is required, too, so ensure that your baby’s diet is healthy balanced.