From time to time, we welcome new trends in nutrition as we all try to improve our health. At the start of the year, many have begun their climb to popularity, including this revived passion for ancient grains, natural food and protein.
The Comeback of 43 Essential Nutrients
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that we must get from our diets because our bodies cannot make them; they are crucial for early brain development, and there is much evidence that they promote cardiovascular health and cognitive function.
Quinoa feels like a thing of the past today as more people are taking interest in bulgar, amaranth, sorghum, teff, millet, kamut, bulgar and buckwheat. These ancient grains are indeed making their comeback. Are they even familiar to you? We've had these grains for hundreds and hundreds of years, some of them dating from 6,000 B.C. Most of them have high fiber content and are helpful in the prevention of certain cancers, hypertension and heart disease.
It appears like all this hoopla about ancient grains these days has something to do with most of them being being gluten-free. With gluten-free diets being so hot, this comeback should be far from surprising. Moreover, people don't like the thought of eating genetically modified food, and these grains are the exact opposite and true to their origin.
Fats are essential for many reasons: They are a provider of energy. They are involved in forming cell membranes. They are a vehicle for the provision of fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A, E, D and K. They are involved in making hormones. They provide insulation; keeping us warm. They provide us with a shock absorbing, protective layer Fats are made from building blocks called fatty acids. There are three types of fatty acids - saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The fat in food contains a mixture of all three fatty acids, in different proportions in different foods.
Many brands out there are proud to tell the world that they have eliminated all "artificial" ingredients from their products.\A lot of brands in the market are eager to announce that they have stripped their products of all "artificial" ingredients. For example, they may claim that their products contain no preservatives or artificial sweeteners, and then start calling them "all natural." A spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says these companies are cutting their ingredients based on what consumers demand. However, the Food and Drug Administration warns this still does not justify the claim, "all natural."
However, if you're convinced these ancient grains are worth trying, be wary of manufacturers that simply add ancient grains to their present products and sell them as "healthy." This is why you have to read the nutrition facts label carefully to know just what exactly you're consuming.
Pure and Natural
Eat with others whenever possible. Eating with other people has numerous social and emotional benefits—particularly for children—and allows you to model healthy eating habits. Eating in front of the TV or computer often leads to mindless overeating. Take time to chew your food and enjoy mealtimes. Chew your food slowly, savoring every bite. We tend to rush though our meals, forgetting to actually taste the flavors and feel the textures of our food. Reconnect with the joy of eating. Listen to your body. Ask yourself if you are really hungry, or have a glass of water to see if you are thirsty instead of hungry. During a meal, stop eating before you feel full. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly.
You may see those words right now on a product label or they may be part of a company's marketing agenda, but they don't necessarily give you real benefits. For instance, a soda's artificial sweeteners being replaced with stevia doesn't automatically make it healthy. On the other hand, there are those products which have stayed true to their minimal ingredients and are full of nutritive value, and they very well deserve an "all natural" claim.
The Power of Casein Protein
Companies behind such food items as crackers, yogurt and cereal are proud to announce the protein contents of their products. Of course, our need for protein is multifaceted. For example, it builds and repairs muscle, helps satiate our appetite and is, in fact, important in weight maintenance. Snacking is the thing, and manufacturers are adding this macro nutrient to almost each food product they have. If, after thirty minutes of having a snack, you're hungry again, you probably need more protein.