November 29, 2011

Healthy Fast Food : Do They Really Exist?

fast foodWe don’t have time to cook good foods, let alone going to church or our respective places of worship. Our jet set lifestyle is alone to be blamed. In this situation, we are slowly but surely inclining to such foods those are easy to cook and take less time to prepare. Even they are available in ready to eat state. Yes, I am talking about fast foods. Most of the ingredients of fast foods contain high calorie value. They also contain much amount of saturated oil, which are unhealthy. But, is there any healthy fast food? Does this concept really exist? Let us find it out.

Well, they do exist. Gourmet companies and fast food joints have bent to the increasing pressure of health conscious people. They have started preparing fast foods that are prepared from healthy ingredients. They are using oils and meats which contain less amount of trans fat.

Whenever you are going to a fast food court, look for the salad dressings containing less oil or grilled chicken sandwiches. Order a sandwich but ask them to cut the mayonnaise or the extra cheese. You will find detailed nutritional information of all the ingredients used in a preparation over the counter or printed on the packaging. You can choose between healthy and ‘not so healthy’ foods. And if you are thirsty, choose a diet cola or water. It is another good habit to choose the smallest burger size.

Eat your fast food on the go. Drive-in restaurants are preferred. Studies have shown that people who sit and order their preferences in a fast food joint, land up into eating more. Watch the size of the portion of each food. Normally the portion size of any preparation in a fast food joint is 2-3 times more than they are in a restaurant. If the portion size is larger, ask them to pack the food and take it away. You can eat half of the item and keep the other half for next day’s use. What’s more, you can have your food without all the condiments and while at home, you can add healthier food options. Salads are notorious in terms of calories. You will have a family size salad dressing but your appetite will remain almost same. And if the salads contain oils and meat, you are in a soup. Try to order foods which do not require salads as its taste enhancers.

Many companies are marketing sandwiches and burgers with chicken free nuggets, which are nothing but chicken flavored tofu. Soybean nuggets are another healthy alternative. There are some joints which exclusively prepare these ‘healthy fast foods’. Some Asian fast food preparations like egg roll and veg spring roll are highly nutritious and contain less calorie and saturated oil.

Taking some light snacks before going out will kill your appetite. It is an old trick but it works. As you will have less appetite, you will tend to avoid fast food.

Healthy fast food is not a joke. With some modification in your taste and mindset, you can always enjoy the comfort of a fast food minus the extra calories.

Healthy Food: The Easiest Way to Live Longer

healthy foodEvery one of us cherishes a notion to live a long healthy life. But often we forget to have a diet that is really healthy to our body. Instead, in this jet paced society, we are slowly but surely inclining towards junk ‘convenient foods’. But these convenient foods are damaging every organ of our body, not to mention some of the ingredients have a direct deleterious effect. So what are the eating options we have? Which are those healthy foods that help our body to flourish and to combat against diseases? Let us discuss these factors.

Have you ever heard of food pyramid? This pyramid tells you which food is good for your health and to take as much as possible and from which foods you should refrain yourself. At the bottom of the pyramid is the orange zone. It is the zone of the grain foods. Cereals, breads, rice, pastas, crackers are included in this group. Your maximum daily calorie intake should come from this group only. It is better to take whole grain foods rather than milled and polished grains. Whole grain food retains the original nutrients which is lost during the milling process. Besides, having a whole grain cereal will make the bowel movement easier.

Next comes the green zone of vegetable group. You must eat fresh green leafy vegetables as much as possible. Vegetables are the main source of vitamins and minerals and give us 80% of the total requirement. It is better to eat a wider variety of vegetables rather than depending upon limited numbers. You must eat vegetables of different colors as they are rich in different vitamins. For example, yellow and green vegetables are rich in Vitamin A whereas, dark orange and dark green vegetables contain high amount of Vitamin C.

You must eat at least one of the seasonal fruits each day. Fruits are also rich and balanced source of vitamin and minerals. It is always better to take fresh fruit or natural fruit juice than juices containing preservatives.

Next comes the oil group. Oils are notorious to produce cholesterol in our body. Try to prepare foods with less oil. It is better to take oils having more Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid than Monounsaturated or saturated fatty acid. Sunflower oil, safflower oil, sesame oil are good examples of heart friendly oils. Avoid butter, ghee (clarified butter), cheese and whole milk. Foods containing oils are the main culprit for weight gain.

Always try to take white meat instead of beef or pork. This is true for poultry also. Sea fishes are good to your health are they are rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Although meat is the supreme source of class I protein (animal protein), they offer enough cholesterol to damage our health.

Maximum amount of your daily calorie requirement should come from the breakfast and dinner should be light. This formula will help you in losing weight or maintaining it if you don’t want to add some pounds.

Boiling, grilling or broiling are the better methods of cooking than fried or roasted food. Boiled food retains the nutritional value and it is good for your health also. Cut your portion of each meal. Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee and tobacco.

Taking healthy food is the easiest and cheapest way to live a longer vigorous life. A lot of diseases can be averted by eating a healthy diet. Millions of people throughout the world have gained by eating healthy foods. Now it’s your turn to become healthy.

What happens to food after we eat it?

When you eat food, the process of digestion breaks food down into it’s respective nutrients as we discussed before. Carbohydrates into monosaccharides (single units of sugars), protein into amino acids and fats into fatty acids. This process starts when you actually chew the food, the food then travels down into the stomach through the esophagus where it is liquified. When it reaches your small intestines, this is where the fun begins. Most of the digestion and absorption of the food occurs here in your small intestine. Digestive enzymes called lipase, amylase and protease act on fats, carbohydrates and protein to break them down into their nutrients for absorption. Once the food has been broken down into their simple units, they are then absorbed into the blood stream for further chemical changes to make other compounds that the body needs, or for use around the body. Water and small lipids (fats) cross the intestinal wall easily. Some nutrients such as water and fat soluble vitamins need a carrier to take them across the wall. Other nutrients such as proteins and glucose move across the wall and into the blood stream by themselves but use energy to do so.

Is good nutrition based on certain food stuffs?

Nutrition is based on getting all the right balance of nutrients necessary for good health. A food stuff is a raw material that can be made into a food. Only eating particular foods or foods stuffs will not help you be healthier.

Food Allergies

What You Need to Know

Each year, millions of Americans have allergic reactions to food. Although most food allergies cause relatively mild and minor symptoms, some food allergies can cause severe reactions, and may even be life-threatening. There is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance of food allergens — and early recognition and management of allergic reactions to food — are important measures to prevent serious health consequences.

What Are Major Food Allergens?

While more than 160 foods can cause allergic reactions in people with food allergies, the new law identifies the eight most common allergenic foods. These foods account for 90 percent of food allergic reactions, and are the food sources from which many other ingredients are derived.

The eight foods identified by the law are:
1. Milk
2. Eggs
3. Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
4. Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp)
5. Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
6. Peanuts
7. Wheat
8. Soybeans

These eight foods, and any ingredient that contains protein derived from one or more of them, are designated as “major food allergens” by the new law.

How Major Food Allergens Are Listed

The new law requires that food labels identify the food source of all major food allergens. Unless the food source of a major food allergen is part of the ingredient’s common or usual name (or is already identified in the ingredient list), it must be included in one of two ways.

The name of the food source of a major food allergen must appear:
1. In parentheses following the name of the ingredient.
Examples: “lecithin (soy),” “flour (wheat),” and “whey (milk)”
— OR —
2. Immediately after or next to the list of ingredients in a
“contains” statement.
Example: “Contains Wheat, Milk, and Soy.”

What to Do If Symptoms Occur

The appearance of symptoms (see Know the Symptoms at right) after eating food may be a sign of a food allergy. The food(s) that caused these symptoms should be avoided, and the affected person, should contact a doctor or health care provider for appropriate testing and evaluation.

• Persons found to have a food allergy should be taught to read labels and avoid the offending foods. They should also be taught, in case of accidental ingestion, to recognize the early symptoms of an allergic reaction, and be properly educated on — and armed with — appropriate treatment measures.

• Persons with a known food allergy who begin experiencing symptoms while, or after, eating a food should initiate treatment immediately, and go to a nearby emergency room if symptoms progress.

Know the Symptoms

Symptoms of food allergies typically appear from within a few minutes to two hours after a person has eaten the food to which he or she is allergic.

Allergic reactions can include:

• Hives
• Flushed skin or rash
• Tingling or itchy sensation in the mouth
• Face, tongue, or lip swelling
• Vomiting and/or diarrhea
• Abdominal cramps
• Coughing or wheezing
• Dizziness and/or lightheadedness
• Swelling of the throat and vocal cords
• Difficulty breathing
• Loss of consciousness

About Other Allergens

Persons may still be allergic to — and have serious reactions to — foods other than the eight foods identified by the new law. So, always be sure to read the food label’s ingredient list carefully to avoid the food allergens in question.