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American Diet

The way the American food industry is set up, all foods undergo more processing than foods in other parts of the world, which strips the nutrients and dissociates food from its natural state. The dependence on canned and preserved foods is high, which results in nutritionally inferior foods.

For example, canned tomatoes and tomato puree will not contain as many phytonutrients and vitamin C as a regular, fresh tomato.

Processing brings about changes in the fat, mineral, and vitamin content of foods as well introducing into our food supply many substances foreign to our human body chemistry. Shortsighted farming methods deplete soils of minerals, decreasing the mineral content of the foods grown in these soils. The entire process ranging from cultivation, transport, storage, and processing can a heavy nutritional toll on the vitamin and mineral content of the agricultural products.

As Americans, we should rely on canned and processed foods once in a while, not all the time. It’s important to eat a diet rich in natural, organic foods that are free from any type of processing or refinement. This ensures that we obtain the maximum nutritional value from food.

Remember, processing is good for the profit margins of the food industry, but is not necessarily the best choice for the food consumer. Processed food is generally higher in sodium, lower in vitamins and minerals and protein. These foods are also higher in fat and carbohydrates, and may contain preservatives and other chemicals that add to the shelf life of food, but not necessarily its nutritional value.

 

Vitamin for Pregnant Women

Normally the traditional vitamin for pregnant women would be Obimin (Reg TM) multivitamin, Pramilet (Reg TM) or the generic equivalents. Most prenatal/antenatal vitamin contains (shown is for obimin) :

Vitamine A 3000unit USP

Vitamine D 400unit USP

Vitamine C 100 mg

Vitamine B1 10 mg

Vitamine B2 2,5 mg

Vitamine B6 15 mg

Vitamine B12 4 mg

Nicotinamide 20 mg

Calcium panthothenate 7,5 mg

Calcium lactate 250 mg

Acide folique1 mg

Ferrous fumarate 90 mg

Iodine 100 mg

The best way to ensure that you and baby get the nutrients needed is by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, fish and grains. In some instances (eg morning sickness) you may require multivitamins specially designed for pregnant women. Antenatal vitamins should contain more folic acid, iron and calcium as compared to the general multivitamins available.

FOLIC ACID

Beans and green leafy vegetables are rich in folic acid. If you’re a healthy woman who eats a balanced diet and has no specific risk factors, not all experts agree that you need to take a prenatal supplement, so you should talk with your practitioner about what’s right for you. But everyone does agree that you need to take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily for the first trimester and ideally 3 months or at least a month before you start trying to get pregnant. (In fact, since half of all pregnancies are unplanned, the U.S. Public Health Service recommends that ALL women of childbearing age take 400 mcg of folic acid a day.)

And the recommended amount goes up to 600 mcg a day once you’re pregnant. That’s because research has shown that folic acid can reduce the risk of neural tube defects in your baby by up to 70 percent. If you do take an antenatal supplement, is likely to contain between 600 and 1,000 mcg of folic acid. If you don’t take antenatal supplement, make sure you take a separate folic acid supplement instead. If you’ve previously had a baby with neural tube defects (spina bifida), you will need to take 4,000 mcg, or 4 mg, of this vitamin daily at least one month before conception. (stand alone folic acid supplements comes as 5mg tablets)

IRON

Antenatal supplement contains enough iron, which is important to make the extra blood required to support your growing baby. since most women don’t get enough in their diet to meet their body’s increased needs during pregnancy. The amount recommended when you’re pregnant is 27 mg of iron per day, 50 percent more than you need when you’re not. (Most antenatal supplements contain between 27 and 60 mg.)

That’s because your body makes a lot more blood when you’re pregnant to support your growing baby, and as a result, the iron stores in your blood can get spread pretty thin. To avoid getting iron-deficiency anemia during pregnancy, most women need to take a supplement. The amount of iron in antenatal supplement is normally enough for most women. Sometimes, high doses of the iron can make nausea and constipation worse. (Supplements that contain no more than the recommended amount of 27 mg probably won’t cause you any problems, though.) If you are already anemic before pregnancy, it’s a good idea to start taking an iron supplement now. Women with iron-deficiency anemia are usually advised to take between 60 and 120 mg of iron each day in addition to an antenatal supplement.

CALCIUM

You need 1500mg calcium daily during pregnancy. Calcium is rich in milk products, green leafy vegetables, salmon, tofu and sardines. Calcium is important for building strong bones and teeth.

Vitamin C has been much spoken about for its benefits in pregnancy. You will do just fine with the amount of vitamin C in a glass of orange juice (about 85mg). The need increases to 120mg when breast feeding. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is essential for tissue repair, wound and bone healing, and healthy skin. Vitamin C also helps your body fight infection. Both you and your baby need this vitamin daily – it’s the cementing agent that holds new cells together, and it helps your body absorb iron. Try to include a vitamin C-rich food with every meal to get the most iron out of the other foods you eat.

It is also important to note that too much vitamin A can be harmful for the baby. Just as important is to know that no more than the recommended amounts of vitamin A is taken as that can be harmful to your baby if you take too much. This is the reason why antenatal supplements contain vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, a nutrient that you get from fruits and vegetables that converts to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A derived from animal products is harmful, and can cause birth defects when taken in high doses before conception or during pregnancy.

Finally look for antenatal supplements that provide 100% RDA. Do not take more than 1 tablet daily. Women with medical condition such as diabetes or anemia should consult their doctor for any other special supplement needed.

Since a few years ago, Fish Oil (Salmon, Tuna, Shark, Mixed), which containes DHA (decahexanoic acid) and EPA (eicopentanoic acid) has been hypothesized to be of benefit in the development of the fetus especially the brain. Much of the human brain is composed of DHA. However, studies recommending Fish oils or their specific components are insufficient to make a credible recommendation at this point. If you do decide to take them, just be sure that they are molecularly distilled for that extra peace of mind over their manufacturing quality, as you will be at ease knowing that the mother and child are safe from lead and mercuric (and arsenic) contamination/poisoning.

FYI, most Fish oil undergo molecular distillation as part of their extraction and purification process. In fact, the hype over molecular distillation is generally a marketing hype. Personally, i think 1000mg Fish oil is fine as an add-on supplement to the more important ones above. Achtung: Taking DHA rich food or supplements does not beget Einstein or genius babies.

Never forget that good healthy nutritious diet and plenty of rest is crucial during pregnancy as it could determine the development of the child and the ability for the mother to carry the baby in her womb. An often neglected fact is that the baby usually takes what is necessary, leaving the mommy deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, such as iron and calcium.

Athlete : Eating For High Energy

Protein

A few decades ago, protein diets were abundant and everyone ate steak, game meats, pork, and eggs out the wazoo! But then someone came along and said, “No, no, no, no! Protein in such large amounts is bad for the system. It’s carbohydrates that are the source of all good and no evil.” So, everyone flip-flopped their diets to include far more pasta, rice, potatoes and bread. Now, we’re headed headlong back into a protein age; where steak is no longer a dirty word and carbohydrates make you fat! Our bodies don’t store protein, taking in enough daily is crucial to health, muscle to fat ratios and ultimately, performance.

Carbohydrates

For the average person, carbohydrates are essential only in small amounts. Sources most recommended come from leafy green sources, cruciferous vegetables, rather than from starch, such as potato, rice or pasta. In fact, too much carbohydrate (particularly starches) can send the body into sudden spiraling low blood sugar, and cause the body to secrete insulin. Free-floating insulin molecules will only attach themselves to free-floating sugars (undigested carbohydrates) and store them as fat. Because of this, no longer are carbs being jammed down the throats of the average American. On the other hand, for the athlete, carbohydrates are crucial to sustained energy levels and strength and muscle contraction.

Fat

Luckily for the endurance and explosive athlete, fat is no longer the big bad wolf of the nutritional world. In fact, it’s as important a macronutrient as any other; including protein. While it doesn’t build muscle, it maintains the health of so many independent systems throughout the body, it’s a crucial link to good nutrition. The key is to eat the right kind of fat. Assume that any fat that is solid at room temperature is not your friend because it indicates that it is the saturated kind. The best sources of fat? Vegetable sources, all mono or poly-unsaturated fats such as peanuts and other nut butters, canola oil, olive oil, walnuts, almonds, and avocados. Most endurance athletes know first hand how important fat loading can be to competition. Gone are the days of total carbohydrate loading. Today, athletes use a combination of fat and carbohydrate loading to satisfy their high demands for fuel.

Water

Water needs no explanation, really. It is the most essential thing in our diets, bar none! Without it, we die. Dehydration is a big reason why people get sick, become irritable throughout their day, have organ failure, or keep unnecessary fat stores locked on to their body. Water is essential to proper liver and kidney function, washing out toxins and ridding the body of ketone bodies that develop as a result of fat burning. It has no calories, it tastes great hot or cold and it is absolutely free! Average people should drink 8-10 glasses daily. Athletes should drink up to a gallon of water daily; more in extreme hot or cold climates. Super hydrating prior to a competition can mean the difference between winning and losing, as well as feeling healthy after a grueling event.
Nutritional Guidelines for Increased Energy and Performance

Now that the lesson is over and we understand how important these four elements are, let’s get into how an athlete can improve performance-and health-to explosive levels.
What you eat and drink before and during athletic events can play a significant role in how well you perform. The body needs a certain combination of nutrients, hydration and calories to perform a particular way in your sport of choice. Learning how to unlock the codes that set these guidelines within your body can be the single thing that pushes you from good to great! So here’s the lowdown on your body’s nutritional needs prior to, and during, any athletic event.

The night before physical activity is a good time to pack in the carbs and fats. Oatmeal, brown rice and yams are all effective, and are also low glycemic choices that won’t send your body into a low energy phase when you need to feel energized and alert. Keep fat intake moderate and eat small portions of high-protein foods such as meat, fish and eggs over the course of the day prior to the big event.

When you finally reach the morning of the big event, it’s a perfect time for a balanced, nutritious breakfast. On this morning, eat exactly as you would any other morning prior to practice, but make sure that your macronutrient balance (proteins-carbs-fats) are stilted in the favor of whatever your needs are. If you need explosive energy, choose a bit more fat in the morning. If you are a distance runner gearing up for a marathon, try a higher carb breakfast of 500-600 calories of carbohydrates. Whatever you do though, just don’t skip breakfast or put too heavy a load in your stomach prior to intense physical activity.

Nature’s Natural Lubricant

Several days before an athletic event, competitive athletes should up their hydration levels to the point of ‘hyper-hydration’. What this means is the athlete will drink water for two to three days well in excess of their normal water intake, and store up water in the tissues, organs and entire system to prepare themselves for the ensuing dehydration that is bound to occur when intense physical challenges are present; such as in high level athletic competition. Since the body is about 60 percent water, it needs to be fully hydrated to perform optimally. In fact, whenever performance levels are down, water loss, improper hydration, or actual dehydration are typical culprits. Weather may also be a cause of water loss: high or low temperatures or high humidity may be to blame, and may cause the body to expend needless energy to keep warm or cool; leaving less for performance purposes.

Sports Drinks

Should an athlete drink the popular sports drinks that offer carbohydrate sources and electrolyte replenishment? Well, they aren’t necessary, but may minimize stomach fullness and blood pooling that occurs during the digestion of whole foods. In general, athletic events that take less than 90 minutes don’t require an electrolyte replacement drink or carbohydrate booster. But if you pass that 90 minute mark, electrolytes should be replaced, particularly if the sport is played on a hot or cold day. Most people don’t associate electrolytes being lost or profuse sweating with cold weather, but those who engage in winter sports lose more water than one might think. Some drinks that contain corn syrup and sugars should be avoided, however, because they slow down the body’s absorption of water and negatively effect performance.

Sports Nutrition Bars

Just about every company puts out a meal replacement or athletic sports bar. Bars are good in a pinch, but are mostly made up of sugary high carbs. Many do swear by the protein amount in certain bars, and swear that it gives them the extra edge they needed to win. However, they are typically not superior to eating a high protein/ high carbohydrate meal. Their only advantage is that they pack easily, are convenient, and are calorie and nutritionally dense for their weight. But do watch the calorie count in the bars. They can add an enormous amount of calories to your daily intake. In many cases, for the nutritional value offered, a candy bar might provide more energy in fewer calories!

Day of Competition Tips

The quality of any athlete is eclipsed by his or her ability to remain injury free during training and athletic competition. Before you find yourself injured in an athletic event, remember these things:
Properly hydrated and well-fed muscles end up with fewer injuries. When you’re dehydrated, or your glucose is low, you’re weak and fatigued. Injuries usually occur later in events when fatigue and dehydration has set in. Eat, drink, and replenish!

Do not use thirst as a gauge to judge hydration. Our body’s gauge for thirst presents itself only after we’ve lost about 6 percent of water weight-way too late to prevent dehydration.

Cramping may be an indication of salt depletion through sweat. Or, it could be loss of potassium. If you are feeling nauseous, replace salt through crackers or other high sodium foods. If you are feeling cramping in the muscles, replace with potassium.

What worked once when you prepared for an event, may not work this time around. Our bodies change from year to year; even from month to month. Experiment with preparation techniques and with actual foods that you think will serve you well in competition. Try them 3 to 4 weeks out from the event to make certain they have the desired effect. You may also want to keep a journal of all preparation techniques as well as foods and ratios of macronutrients you’ve done well with, and poorly with, so that you can better determine what will work best for you on “D Day”.

The bottom line to all of this is simple: Athletes require more of almost everything, and specific things within broad categories that average people traverse. The main thing to remember is to remain as hydrated as possible at all times. That is even more important than actual food intake and ratio of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. However, nutrition is underrated and can be the difference between winning and losing. Experiment with different foods, fluids and other conditions such as weather or hormonal changes within your own body. Eventually, this trial and error experience will teach you how to enhance your own levels of performance in competition and in training throughout the year. Practice, as they say, does indeed make perfect!

About Herbal Vitamins

True herbs generally come in a gel capsule form and the ground or shredded herb, in dried form, is visible within the capsule. In fact, you can open the capsule and pour the ground herb out when needed for making salves and ointments.

Many popular herbal supplements sold today are actually hard packed pills which contain only a small amount of actual herbs in them. Often these pills contain other ingredients and preservatives which may or may not be beneficial to you. The pills do not dissolve well, however, and since they only contain a small amount of actual herbs, they are not as effective as true herbal vitaminsl.

Listed below are some general vitamins that can be taken as a daily supplement.

1. Kelp is an excellent herb to use as a daily vitamin, but it’s particularly useful for women during their period. Kelp is naturally high in iodine and potassium, plus iron – all of which are more important during menstruation. Kelp also has many other essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, mangesium and most of the B vitamins.

The natural iodine in Kelp helps regulate your thyroid gland, and when the thyroid is functioning properly your body has more energy and better metabolism.

Kelp is naturally high in salt, though, so if you’re sensitive to salt you may need to adjust your daily dosage based on how your body responds.

2. Chlorophyll is another personal preferred daily vitamin herb. It’s sometimes referred to as “Nature’s Green Magic”. Chlorophyll is the life force of plants, a.k.a. the plant’s blood and it has lifegiving nutrients that are easily assimulated by the human body.

This herb helps regulate calcium in the blood, helps regulate the body’s blood sugar levels, stops and inhibits growth of bacteria, and accelerates tissue and cell regrowth to help the body heal faster. Chlorophyll also helps purify the liver and get bile moving regularly, eliminates mucus from the bowel and helps rebuild damaged bowel tissue. As if that weren’t enough, Chlorophyll also helps deoderize the entire body, so it reduces body odor and bad breath as well.

Chlorophyll can be bought in the form of pills, teas or liquid extracts. Herbs which are high in Chlorophyll include Alfalfa and Parsley.

 

Whole Food vs Synthetic Vitamins

Synthetic vitamins are less active biologically than whole food vitamins, thereby reducing any beneficial effect they may have. They may actually cause nutritional deficiencies because they do not have all the co-factors normally found in whole food vitamins. If the foods you eat do not contain the co-factors needed to complete its action it will draw them from your body. A synthetic vitamin looks like the real thing, but does not function like the real thing. Most health care professionals will tell you to take natural whole food supplements, not synthetic. Even pet food manufacturers don’t use synthetic vitamins.

Whole food supplements contain the total complex nutrients for proper absorption, and maximum utilization for optimum nutrition. They are much easier to assimilate, and are almost completely utilized by the body, and show no adverse effects. Food looses nutrients through processing, and contains chemical additives. The average American consumes 6 pounds of artificial chemicals a year, and studies show that our children have 300 artificial chemicals in their body. Scientific evidence links nutrition to disease prevention, and its likely 80% of all cancers come from environmental toxins.

You can have a healthier life, and feel good! Get the vitamins that say natural whole food that contains vitamins, chelated minerals, probiotics, and vegetable enzymes. Your body can tell the difference! The synthetic will be cheaper, but per energy unit, or per use the whole food vitamin is cheaper!