© 2017 Baobab For Healthy Nutrition.

 

Terms such as “gluten free”, “superfoods”, and “organic” tend to be tossed around quite frequently, but what do they really mean? 

Gluten

You hear it all the time, you see a variety of options for “gluten-free” meals; but what does it really mean? Gluten is found in wheat, barley, and rye. Wheat is everywhere; in breads, baked goods, soups, pasta, cereal, sauces, and salad dressings. If you have celiac disease, avoid gluten! It’ll cause or worsen illnesses.

 

Protein

An essential nutrient to building muscle mass, protein can be found in animal products, nuts, and legumes. Delicious examples are eggs, steaks, chicken breast, and yellow fin tuna. (Sushi lovers rejoice!)

 

Carbohydrates

Once thought of as the big, bad choice among the food groups; carbohydrates are actually filled with fibres, sugars, and starches. Many diets will tell you to cut off carbs completely, but they’re actually very important to a healthy lifestyle.

 

Dairy

Whether you’re lactose intolerant or a huge dairy lover, you need to give your body the source of protein and calcium only dairy can bring. Have some cheese or yoghurt for breakfast, and if you want to go healthier - try lower fat options.

 

Fats and Oils

Did you know fats and oil are the most concentrated form of energy? There are two types of fat; visible and invisible. Visible fats are those found in oils, butter, and animal fat - all good for you, all incredibly filling. The invisible fats can’t be seen with a naked eye, you’ll find them in rice and pulses.

 

Saturated fat

Derived from animal sources, saturated fat can be found in butter, lard, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil. You might want to exercise some portion control with saturated fat, as they contribute to the risk of cardiovascular diseases since they raise the LDL blood cholesterol levels. (LDL represents the “bad” cholesterol that’s responsible for heart diseases.)

 

Unsaturated fat

A healthier version of fat, this is derived from plant sources. You can find it in soybean oil and safflower oil; people often assume fish oil is part of a “don’t eat” list, when in fact; it’s a combination of both saturated and unsaturated fat.

 

Trans Fat

An easy way to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy trans fats are: trans fat produced naturally (in the stomach of cows and sheep) is good for you, while those created in baked goods is not. Have your share of trans fats in milk, cheese, beef, lamb, and lean meats.

 

Omega 3

We’re always being told to incorporate omega 3 into our diets; but where do we get it? A lot of food actually, including fish, fish oils, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and vegetable oil. Essential to good health; your body needs omega 3 to function properly. From asthma to baby development to ADHD, order a salmon on your next outing for your fix of a miracle fat.

 

Omega 6

For any kind of join or body inflammation, or even heart disease, introducing omega 6 into your life can help. The body cannot produce this fatty acid, so you need to take it as a supplement to stimulate skin and hair growth, good bone health, regulates metabolism, and keeps the reproductive system healthy.

 

Lactose

Lactose is a sugar found in milk. If you’ve ever ingested dairy and your stomach immediately felt discomfort, chances are you’re lactose-intolerant. This means your small intestine, the organ that digests your food, isn’t producing the necessary enzyme called lactase. If you’re lactose-tolerant, your small intestine is breaking down lactose into two simpler forms of sugar: glucose and galactose.

 

Dairy-free vs. lactose free

Sometimes, we don’t know if we should be looking for dairy or lactose free. A lactose-free product does not mean the same as a dairy-free one. If you find yourself feeling great after digesting dairy-free products, you may have an allergy to dairy (proteins, casein, or whey).

 

Whey

The previously mysterious by-product of cheese manufacturing; 20% of the protein in cow’s milk is whey, and it’s gained a lot of fame and popularity since we discovered its many benefits. It’s used in protein shakes and is considered a great and nutritious start to the morning!

 

Table Salt

A common household item, table salt is processed to remove all “impurities”. The funny thing is, these impurities are actually essential minerals to the body. Additives are added to prevent clumping and aluminium hydroxide gets mixed in, which is related to cases of Alzheimer’s. So, next time you reach for the table salt in the supermarket, ask yourself: wouldn’t you rather a more pure option that won’t exceed your daily intake limit?

 

Himalayan Salt

Sourced from the majestic Himalayan Mountains, this salt, sometimes referred to as pink salt, is the purest on earth. Untouched for millions of years and located far away from pollution, the salt is protected and sheltered by mountains and lava. Himalayan salt is filled with minerals that help your body balance PH, get rid of toxins, allows nutrients to be absorbed, and stops muscle cramping. You’ll know the healthy, pure salt is in most dishes nowadays from its unique pink hue.

 

Sea Salt

Produced through evaporation of ocean water, there’s less processing to create sea salt than it takes to make table salt. Sea salt has minerals and elements, which adds flavour and nutrients to every meal. Choose your preferred level of coarseness depending on how much salt you want to add.

Sugar

To list all the food that includes sugar would be a long list, so we’ll just save you the reading. Sugar is a carbohydrate your body converts into glucose. That glucose is used for energy. Is sugar good or bad? That depends on whether you’re having the natural or refined kind.

 

Refined Sugar

This type comes from sugar beets or sugar canes. This is the type of sugar added to low-fat foods to add flavour.

Natural sugar: any type of sugar found in fruit or dairy products. Natural sugar provides the body with essential nutrients that keeps cancer away and helps prevent diseases.

 

Raw Foodism

You may have heard of this new term, which means anyone who eats uncooked, unprocessed foods. This could mean anything from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, egg, fish, meat, and dairy products. Some benefits include lowered inflammation, easing digestion, providing more dietary fibre, and improving heart health.

 

Vegan

Being a vegan means not eating foods that come from animals, including dairy products and eggs. What does that leave? A lot, actually! Vegans’ diets consist of vegetables, grains, nuts, fruits, and anything made from plants. The choice to become vegan either has to do with emotional attachments with animals or the desire to eliminate processed food products from a diet.

 

Vegetarian

Unlike a vegan, a vegetarian can ingest dairy products. They just abstain from meat, poultry, fish, or any product of slaughter. Their diet is diversified and includes grains, seeds, pulses, fruits, and lots of vegetables. Benefits include improved mood, symptoms of psoriasis, and cholesterol. It also reduces cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and strokes.

 

Pescatarian

A pescatarian is a vegetarian that eats seafood. This diet includes fish as its only protein; it doesn’t include steak, poultry, pork, or any other kind of meat.

 

Superfood

The ideal collection of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals. If you’re starting out a healthy lifestyle, superfoods should be your first purchase. In addition to reducing chronic illnesses, superfoods are known to prolong lifespans.

 

Antioxidants

A superpower source of minerals, vitamins, and flavonoids. Found in plants, fruits, and vegetables – antioxidants slow down aging, gives you healthier skin, reduces cancer risk, protects again heart disease, and can be added to household products to prevent spoilage.

 

Free Radical

You already know fried food, alcohol, and tobacco is not good for you, but why? These types of food are actually producing free radicals; when you breathe in oxygen, it splits into paired electrons. When oxygen splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons, those electrons search the body to find other single electrons to pair up with. This process causes damage to cells, proteins, and DNA. Have some broccoli, apricots, raspberries, cherries, watermelon, and artichokes for an endless supply of antioxidants.

 

Vitamins

We’ve been told all our lives to take our vitamins; here are the types you shouldn’t be missing out on –

 

Fat-soluble Vitamins (A, D, E, K)

These are found in fatty foods and animal products. Examples: vegetable oil, milk, dairy, eggs, liver, and butter.

 

Water-soluble Vitamins (C, B, and folic acid)

Because these vitamins do not absorb and store inside the body, they need to be taken more frequently than others.

 

Minerals

The reason behind strong bones and teeth and turning your food into energy… is minerals! Essential nutrients that your body needs in small doses; minerals are also responsible for controlling body fluids, inside and outside cells.

 

Trace Elements

Not to be taken in the same doses as vitamins and minerals, but still necessary for proper body functions. Trace elements can be found in meat, fish, cereals, milk, dairy, vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

 

Yerba Mate

Known to have the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the sweet taste of chocolate… all in one. Yerba Mate comes from natural caffeinated and nutritious leaves from South America’s rainforest.

 

Guarana

An energy supplement derived from the seeds and trees of South America. High in caffeine with minimal negative impacts.

 

Ginseng

A popular herbal supplement that’s gained popularity due to its ability to boost memory and energy levels. In addition, ginseng can help your body withstand mental and physical stress as it’s considered to be an adaptogen.