Tag Archives: nutrition

The Body’s pH Balancing Act

10 Jan

The human body needs to maintain a pH level of 7.3 to 7.5.  It does this without us having to think or really work at maintaining that level.  Did you know that if our bodies don’t keep this precise level, we’ll end up at the ER real fast!  Not maintaining the correct acid-alkaline balance can even be fatal.  Our bodies depend on this delicate balance in order to perform various cellular functions.  So, to keep us alive, our bodies use minerals from our extracellular fluid—this is the fluid that is outside of the cells…kind of like a river and the cells are the rafts floating in the river—to maintain the pH balance.  When the fluid doesn’t have the right amount of minerals, specifically calcium, magnesium, and potassium; it turns to the stores of these and other minerals in our bones.  This weakens the bones.

Drinking one 12-ounce can of soda, causes such an acidic condition in the body that the kidneys are not able to handle the acidic level of the urine.  In order for the urine to be at an appropriate pH level, the body must draw on the alkalizing minerals in the extracellular fluid and possibly from the bones.

Stress is another factor that causes acidic conditions in the body.  Again, to maintain the delicate pH balance, the body must draw upon its stored minerals.  Decreasing stress and learning to manage stress is important to each person’s health even beyond acid-alkaline balancing.

Eat foods rich in calcium, potassium, and magnesium so that your extracellular fluid is rich in these minerals and build up stores in your body.  Some suggested foods are cabbage, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, bell peppers, garlic, broccoli, ginger, citrus*, and, avocado.  Take a deep breath, thoroughly chew each bite of food, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables several times a day to step in the right direction toward better health.

*Although citrus is acidic, within our bodies, they create a more alkaline environment.

Lipski, Elizabeth. 2012. Digestive Wellness, 4ed. United States: McGraw-Hill.

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Let’s Talk About Whole Foods…Food, Not the Store

4 Nov

Okay, a short mention about the store, when naming the store, Whole Foods, chose an incredibly smart name because of the nutritious picture it conjures up in one’s mind.  They do carry plenty of whole foods, but so do other grocery stores and farmers’ markets.

Whole plant foods are foods that have not been changed from the time they are harvested to when they are purchased (or picked from your own garden).   Whole foods are often found on the perimeter of the grocery store and usually do not require any labels with the exception of the organic label that can be found on organic produce. (Look for 5 digit numbers that begin with a 9 to code for organic.)

Animal foods such as meat, poultry, and fish are also whole foods so long as they have not been altered or refined from their natural state.  A whole chicken is a whole food while a chicken nugget is a processed (and often refined) food.

Often people think that whole foods are unprocessed foods.  However, some foods need to be processed in order to be edible.  These foods are still whole foods though.  When sold in the store they might or might not be processed.  Beans and rice can be purchased both processed and unprocessed but to be eaten, they need to be processed—cooked.  The preferred way to purchase beans and rice is in their unprocessed state to avoid chemicals and excessive processing.  Animal foods are processed—slaughtered, defeathered, skinned, etc.—and then sold.

Check out The World’s Healthiest Foods book by George Mateljan or go to his site (http://www.whfoods.com) for hundreds of ideas on how to prepare whole foods in simple tasty ways.

Whole foods are for the most part perimeter foods, unrefined, unpackaged, help to build and maintain health, nutritious, and have no additions in the way chemicals, flavor enhancers, or preservatives.  A concise definition of a whole food is given by Evelyn Roehl in her book Whole Food Facts as a food that is “as close to its whole, natural state as possible.”

Checking In with Some Info to Check Out

20 Jul

If you are in need of some decadence, this cake will hit the spot!

Listening to your body and making improvements to your health, take it a step at a time.

Having dairy free kiddos, this milk alternatives information isn’t new to me, but I’m so glad to see it all in one place now!

 

Nutrition from the Beginning

23 Jan

This semester has started so I thought it appropriate to start at the beginning of nutrition.  Hippocrates was the first to realize the important role diet plays in our bodies and how diet affects health.  Since this knowledge discovered in 400BC, the study of nutrition has become one of the “most talked about scientific disciplines.”*  A person’s body works best when the proper amounts of nutrients are consumed.  Nutrients are in food and are carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, and water.  The body can create some of the nutrients it needs, for example Vitamin D, but there are 40 essential nutrients that the body can not make and therefore they must be eaten in order for the body to have them.  Are you beginning to realize the importance of a well-balanced and healthy diet?

I recently challenged you to increase your daily steps.  How are you doing with that?  I know that several areas of the country are freezing right now with the coldest temps in 2-3 years, but we all need to get moving–it’ll help you warm up! 🙂

*Boyle, Marie A., Personal Nutrition 8th edition. 2010.

Paradigm Shift

16 Jan

Today I have for you 2 quick reads that will hopefully shift your paradigm.  The first states that sitting is the new smoking.  Smoking used to be the cool thing, the thing that nearly everyone did, the thing that leads to cancer, heart disease, strokes, and more.  Guess what…sitting, especially the way we Americans are so sedentary, leads us down the same exact path as smoking.  Check out the article.  It is pretty interesting and is a fairly quick read.  It also gives an idea for walking meetings.  Thank you to my husband for passing the article along to me.

The second read–shorter than the first one, but still quite important and paradigm shifting–is about 13 ingredients found in American foods that have been banned in other countries.  The article is short, but has links throughout it leading you to more information.  Some of the ingredients are food colorings, potassium bromate (this one is a tricky one because when we read the labels we think potassium is healthy for us!), and arsenic.  Though arsenic is not printed on food labels, it is in there.

Let’s Get Moving

9 Jan

Did you know that 17% of children are obese?  That percentage is equal to about 12.5 million children aged 2-19 who are not just overweight, but who are obese.  The health issues related to being overweight and obese are many.  Some examples are joint pain, breathing problems, and cardiovascular disease. What child wants to deal with these issues?  What adult wants to live with these problems?  There are several factors that play in to how a person becomes overweight and obese, but two main causes are diet and exercise.  While diet is extremely important, so is physical activity.  One initiative to help get people moving is the 10,000 steps a day movement.  Ten thousand steps sounds daunting, but is equal to about 5 miles.  For adults, there are about 2,000 steps taken in each mile.  By parking a little further away, taking the stairs, walking to check the mail, and other small changes in our daily routine, we can increase the number of steps we take each day.  Cutting back on our sedentary lifestyle can increase our health and well-being.  So, today I challenge you to take 100 extra steps.  I think you’ll find that challenge one that will be easy to accomplish even if you have a desk job or stay at home.  For the next week, focus on increasing your step count (even without a pedometer) that extra 100 steps each day.  By the end of the week, think about how you feel.  Can you up your steps another 100 next week?