Health Tips

Nutritional Facts

SOME NUTRITIONAL FACTS WE NEED TO KNOW

Carbohydrates Are Essential
Carbohydrates are considered as body’s main energy source. During digestion, carbohydrates break down into glucose, which is pulled into cells with the help of insulin. Most of your calories, 45 to 65 percent, should come from carbohydrates, which provide four calories per gram. According to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet, you should consume 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates each day.

Fiber Helps in Weight Loss
Fiber is a type of complex carbohydrate derived only from plant foods. There are two types of fiber – Soluble Fiber and Insoluble Fiber. Soluble Fiber is the soft part of fruits, vegetables & certain grains that slows digestion. Insoluble Fiber, which is the tough skin of plant foods is difficult to chew, speeds up digestion and relieves constipation. Most fibrous foods have some of each type of fiber. Dietary fiber aids in losing weight and improves well being of individual.

Some Fats Are Good
All fats have nine calories per gram, but not all fats are created equal. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, from vegetable oils, avocados, nuts and cold-water fish, protects your heart and can lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Avoid harmful saturated and trans fats that can damage your heart. Keep your fat intake to 20 to 35 percent of your total calories, which amounts to 44 to 77 grams for a 2,000-calorie diet.

Protein Provides Energy
Proteins are essential nutrients for your body. It is considered as one of the building blocks of muscle tissues, cell walls and organs. It also acts as a backup source of energy when fat and carbohydrate are not available in the body. Like carbohydrates, protein has four calories per gram.

Caloric Imbalance Equals Weight Gain
Caloric Imbalance can be the reason for various diseases. It takes 3,500 calories to equal 1 pound of body weight. Gaining weight means that you are consuming more calories than your body is able to burn. Cutting just 250 calories from your daily diet can result in 1 pound of weight loss in as little as two weeks.

Not All Sugars Are Bad
Sugar has a bad reputation, but not all sugars are harmful. Fruit has sugar in the form of fructose and milk has sugar in the form of lactose. These naturally occurring sugars from whole foods are a part of a healthy diet. Sucrose, dextrose, maltose or other added sweeteners are the sugars which need to avoid. These types of sugars are added to processed foods, which are often low in nutrients.

Plant Calcium Absorbs Poorly
Dark green vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli are high in calcium, but the calcium has poor bioavailability. These foods contain phytic acid and oxalic acid that inhibit some of the calcium absorption. You should not rely solely on plant foods to meet your calcium intake. Dairy foods are some of your best options for higher bioavailability of calcium.

Sodium Is Not Always Your Enemy
You need some sodium in your diet to maintain fluid balance, an essential function for normal heart function. When consumed in excessive amount sodium is harmful to the health. Excessive sodium intake causes your body to retain water, making your heart work harder. In long run this may put you at risk for heart disease. Protect your heart by keeping your sodium intake to less than 1,500 milligrams per day.

Not All Iron Is Equal
Iron from dark green vegetables, lentils, beans and other plant foods is called non-heme iron. It is harder to absorb than heme iron from animal foods. As with calcium, certain components in plants inhibit some of the non-heme iron absorption. Including vitamin C-rich foods such as strawberries, oranges and broccoli in your diet helps your body absorb non-heme iron more efficiently.