Monday, 11 January 2016

Raw Foods

Raw Foods

Some of MY controversial opinions

To me natural is good. As soon as it gets altered from its natural state, it is not that good.

To use sugar or not

It is best to skip sugar all together. It is really bad for your health. In fact it is bad for every part of your body including teeth, heart, liver, etc. It primes your body for Diabetes and also promotes cholesterol.
Some argue that brown sugar is healthier than white. How does one arrive to that fact if sugar in any color does not have any nutritional value? 
Sugar can give you a quick energy boost and soon after leave you fatigued.

If you ever had to cut sugar out of your diet, it is amazing to find how many products does contain sugar. I found it hard leaving sugar behind. :-( People can say what they want, but for me it was not easy and I have the notion it might just be the general feeling.

Not to worry though - there are some alternatives. But a little later about that.

What about using sweeteners?
My answer would be NO. If I have to choose between putting sweetener versus sugar into my coffee, I would opt sugar.

Sweeteners is so far from natural and contain other chemicals I would not want to put in my body.

Natural is better

 As I mentioned before - the more natural something is the better. Here are some more controversial opinions of mine:
Using my rule of thumb above, I would rather have full cream milk than low fat. 

It is the more natural choice. Some fats are healthy and especially those fatty acids in dairy. Eating low fat dairy products is healthier is an assumption based on what logic dictates and is not backed up by facts. The truth is that whole milk will make you feel full for longer while low-fat products could leave you famished and craving food. Whole milk can also help limit the body in the amount of fat it stores and promotes absorption of nutrients. 
This does absolutely not mean you can binge on diary products. 

When it come to eggs, should you only eat the white?
The natural choice, of course, is the whole egg. Just to be clear: Saturated fat does not cause coronary heart disease, stroke or coronary vascular disease.
If you did not eat the egg yolk, you would be missing out on a lot of good nutrition. Vitamin A, B and Choline  which is good for the brain and necessary for a healthy pregnancy.

What causes heart disease?
Over consumption of processed carbohydrates and vegetable oils. So keep things natural.

So what would the natural choice be when purchasing meat?
Rather have a beef steak than having processed meat like corned beef, sausage, ham, etc.Ostrich is good, fish (especially Salmon), chicken. Again: Your body needs a balanced diet and some good fats to be healthy. Red meat in my opinion is natural, good, nutritious food.

My second rule of thumb is: Everything in moderation. Have a small piece of red meat with some veggies. You do not need to eat a 500g steak in order to enjoy it. About the size of the palm of your hand is enough.

Therefore it is easy to see when something reads: 'Taste like real cheese' or contains 5% cheese, I see red flags. If it only taste like cheese, I guess it can't be real cheese. If it only contains 5% of something, then what is the other 95%. Probably not food.
So colorants and artificial flavoring is not natural. 
I mentioned cheese, because I saw the other day that you can actually buy cheese that is not cheese!?! It only taste like real cheese!

Just a quick disclaimer: I am not a doctor in any way. So consult with your GP before taking drastic diet changes.

Next I will continue the topic 'Raw Foods' as I meant to talk more about it, but got carried away. :-) For future topics I will also talk about replacements for sugar as I will slowly work my way to Diabetes. Exercise is also in the mix and I will mention an exercise benefit that might be surprising. But before I get ahead of myself...

BMI - Healthy Heart - Part 4

Healthy Weight

Everyone is build differently and therefore, there is no such thing as an ideal weight, but it is possible to get an idea of a healthy weight range for your heigt.  Use the BMI chart below to get an idea of what your healthy weight range should be:

Healthy Shape

Having excess weight on your hips ('pear-shape'), is associated with fewer heart problems and diabetes, than carrying too much fat around your middle. ('apple-shape')

Want to find out if you are a healthy shape?: Then measure your waist, midway between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hip bone. (for many people this will be the tummy button. Then compare it with the table below:

My next post will be about Raw Foods

Thursday, 7 January 2016

What Is Stress? - A Healthy Heart - Part 3

The Effects Of Stress

Stress has got a real effect on your body. It is the way in which you cope with stress that poses a health risk; especially your heart. Thing such as smoking, not having time to exercise or eating unhealthily.
Learning to relax will help you enjoy life more and will be better for your health in the long run.

Managing stress
There are many things you can practise to alleviate stress.

Stress busting tips
·         List all the things that trigger your stress. Things like: being stuck in traffic jams or work colleagues. Knowing the triggers will be a big step forward. Try to relax in these situations.
·         Be physically active. Gentle cycling, brisk walking or swimming not only will reduce the tension caused by  stress, but you will sleep better!
·         Make time to socialise.
·         Take time to unwind – even if only for 10 minutes
·         Try Yoga.
·         Do simple breathing and stretching exercises in the car or behind your desk.
·         Prioritise your work and do not do more than one thing at a time. Plan ahead and do not leave things for the last minute.
·         Learn to say NO to more work or demands placed on you.
·         Take time to eat and drink healthily.

What is stress?
Stress is not just about anxiety and panic, but everyday experiences of strain, time pressure and attempts to cope with demands placed upon us at work and at home.

Some stress is good: It gets you up in the morning and keeps you going at work and during sporting activities.

How to tell if I am stressed?
·         Do you feel guilty when relaxing?
·         Do you lie awake, worrying about tomorrow?
·         Are you tense?
·         Are you impatient and irritable?
·         Do you have a lot on your mind and find it hard to concentrate?
·         Do you frequently feel like you just don’t know where to start?
·         Are you smoking or drinking more?
·         Do you eat in a hurry?
·         Does life seem full of crises?
·         Do you find it difficult to make decisions?
·         Do you frequently experience a butterfly stomach, a dry mouth, sweaty palms or a thumping heart?
If you have answered yes to some of these questions, your stress levels might be a bit high.

Please let me know if this information on a healthy heart is helpful and whether you like it or not. This will help me decide on the topics better.

Next: I will talk about the importance of a healthy weight.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Blood Pressure - A Healthy Heart - Part 2

What is blood pressure?
Your heart is like a pump that pumps blood away from your heart to the rest of your body in vessels called arteries. Blood pressure is the force at which blood pushes on the walls of your arteries as it moves around your arteries.

Measuring blood pressure
The heart beats by contracting and relaxing. When contracting, the pressure is called systolic blood pressure. When your heart relaxes between contractions, the pressure is called diastolic blood pressure. Blood pressure is measured as a fraction with systolic blood pressure at the top and diastolic blood pressure at the bottom, like: 120/80. These numbers are measured in units of millimeters of mercury (mmHg)

Your blood pressure varies during the day. Excitement, stress and physical activity can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure - this is normal and totally different from being diagnosed with high blood pressure.

High blood pressure
High blood pressure is also known as hypertension and occurs when your blood exerts a persistent, abnormally high pressure on your arteries during circulation. Having a systolic blood pressure of 140mmHg or more, or a diastolic blood pressure of 190mmHg or more; defines having high blood pressure. <120/<80 is optimal, <130/<85 is normal and 130-139/85-89 is considered high normal. Higher than this, you start getting hypertension.

Why is my blood pressure important?
If not treated, high blood pressure increases your risk of having a heart attack, stroke or kidney problems. High blood pressure can be treated with lifestyle changes or medication.

How to tell if you've got high blood pressure
There usually are no symptoms and you may have had it for a long time but totally unaware of it.
So have your blood pressure measured by a health professional!

Causes of high blood pressure
  • Age - half of all people over 60 have high blood pressure
  • Genetics - It sometimes runs in the family
  • Being overweight, diagnosed with diabetes or having a kidney disease
  • High alcohol and salt intake

Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure is also called Hypotension and you are considered having low blood pressure when your blood pressure is lower than 90/60 (systolic/diastolic)
Chronic low blood pressure is not considered a problem unless you show symptoms of dizziness, fainting, fatigue, nausea, blurred vision, dehydration and rapid shallow breathing.
The cause of low blood pressure is not always clear, but it can occur with pregnancy, allergic reactions, diabetes (in some cases), heart problems, severe infection, heat stroke and some liver problems.

Lowering blood pressure
Simple changes in your diet and lifestyle can help lowering blood pressure.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight
  • Avoid smoking
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Reduce your salt intake and choose low-fat dairy products
  • Cut down on alcohol
Adults should have less than 5g a day

Main sources of salt in our diet
  • Cereals and bread
  • Processed foods such as soup, sauses and ready meals
  • Meat products such as bacon, sausages and ham
  • Savory snacks such as crisps and salted nuts
Tips for cutting down on salt
  • Check food labels and choose foods have lower amounts of salt/sodium
  • Multiply sodium by 2.5 to get the salt content
  • Cut down on salty snacks such as crisps, bacon, cheese and processed meals
  • Taste your food before adding salt!
  • Avoid adding salt during cooking - rather use herbs, lemon, spices or garlic to flavour your dishes.
Next I will be posting about: The effects of stress

Know Your Fats - A Healthy Heart - Part 1

Why do we need fats
Eating the right amount of 'good' fats are healthy and has valuable functions in the body.

1. They are an important source of energy
2. They protect our vital organs.
3. Provide essential fatty acids not provided by the
4. Help you absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Fats have different effects on blood cholesterol. Fats that increase cholesterol levels, and therefore considered as 'bad' fats, are your saturated- and trans fats. In contrast - unsaturated fats or oils are considered 'good' fats; since they lower cholesterol levels.
Replacing 'bad' fats with 'good' fats can lower your cholesterol level and is good for your heart.

Loosing weight is a good step towards a healthier heart. ALL fats are high in calories. So when you try to loose weight, be very particular with your overall fat intake. However; it is the quality of fat intake that is most important.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 polyunsaturated fats, or 'good' oils, are particularly good for your heart health.

Your body can not make essential fats, so you must get them from the Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils in your food. They are necessary for normal growth and development, the formation of hormones and for general health and well-being.

Only a third of your daily calories should come from fat. So to get a healthy balance of fats, most people need to take more 'good' fats and reduce their intake of 'bad' fats.

The three good fats: Omega 3, Omega 6 and monounsaturated fats. They are found mainly in plant foods and fish.

Omega 3
The plant form of Omega 3 is found in walnuts, flax-seed(linseed), soya beans, rapeseed(canola) and the vegetable oils, margarine and spreads made from them. A more complex form of Omega 3is found in oily fish like kippers, mackerel, herring and salmon.

Omega 6
These oils reduce cholesterol levels and mainly found in plant foods like sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, corn and the vegetable oils, margerine and spreads made from them.

Mono-saturated fats
Olives, olive oil, avocado pears and nuts like almonds, pistachios and peanuts are all rich in 'good' oils. They help control cholesterol levels simply by taking the place of some 'bad fat in the diet.

'Bad' fats are mainly found in animal products, processed foods and bakery goods.

Saturated fats
Butter, lard, fatty meats, meat products like sausages and burgers, full-fat milk, cheese and dairy products, as well as pies and pastries are the main sources of saturated fat. It is not essential to cut these foods out completely, but it is a good idea to choose lower fat options when possible - Cut down your portion sizes or eat them less often.

Trans fats
Trans fats are formed during the partial hydrogenation of unsaturated fats to make them more solid. They are often used in commercially produced cakes, pastries and biscuits. It is also found in butter, whole milk, beef and mutton.