EVERYTHING ABOUT

Your foods

Every week I am posting about  everything you need to know about hormones. This weeks topic is about your foods

Did you know …

  • Food is any substance consumed that provides nutritional support. 
  • Food is usually of plant, animal, or fungal origin
  • It can be raw, processed or formulated 
  • Food contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and or minerals.
  • These nutrients are grouped into categories:

– Macronutrients – fat, protein, and carbohydrates
– Micronutrients – the minerals and vitamins
– Food also contains water and dietary fibre.

  • Food is used by the cells to provide energy, maintain life, stimulate growth and or for pleasure
  • Pleasure today is the controlling factor most humans eat 
  • Different species of animals have different food requirements needed to satisfy their unique metabolisms.
  • Humans are omnivores, we have the ability to eat and survive on both plant and animal food
  • Historically, we secured food through two main methods: hunting and gathering and agriculture
  • Today most food is supplied by the industrial food industry, providing food through intensive agriculture and food processing 
  • As most food is from processed sources, food safety is a priority
  • This is monitored by international agencies and often subject to national regulation by institutions, like the Food and Drug Administration in the US and Food Standards Agency in the UK.
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization use a system with nineteen food classifications: 

– Cereals / Grains
– Roots
– Pulses / Nuts
– Milk
– Eggs
– Fish / Shellfish
– Meat
– Insects
– Vegetables
– Fruits
– Fats
– Oils
– Sweets
– Sugars
– Spices
– Condiments
– Beverages

  • Humans have 5 different types of tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. 
  • The tastes that provide the most energy, such as sugar and fats are also the most pleasant to eat which ensures you eat more of them – a survival mechanism 
  • Fats, especially saturated fats, are thicker, rich and creamy, and are thus considered more enjoyable to eat.
  • The body is evolutionally designed to enjoy / crave sweet and fattening foods and such foods are found in nature but are typically rare. 
  • Today due to advanced technology, sweet and fattening enjoyable foods are easily available, which unfortunately has an enormous negative impact.
  • Deficiencies, excesses, and imbalances in foods can produce negative impacts on health, such as scurvy, obesity, or osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases as well as psychological and behavioural problems
  • Starvation is a significant international problem. 
  • Approx. 815 million people are undernourished, and over 16,000 children die per day from hunger-related causes
  • And yet global food waste is estimated at a 931 million tonnes of food waste, about 121 kg per capita divided through 3 sectors: 

– 61% from households
– 26% from food service
– 3% from retail.

Meet Sally and get to know all about your foods

Intro

Do you know what's in your food?

Nutrition in eggs compared with nutrition in broccoli

Anti-nutrients 101

Know your foods 101

  • Do you know which macro-nutrients are in a piece of cheese, or a chicken breast or an egg or a banana? 
  • My experience is that many do not
  • Does a chicken breast contains protein, carbs and fat or just proteins and fat or just protein and how much? 

Why is important to know?

  • The short answer is, so you can ensure that your body receives enough and not too much of the important macro-nutrients on a daily basis, such as:

Optimal levels per day

  • Approx. 60 – 120 g carbohydrates 
  • Approx. 75 – 150 g proteins
  • Approx. 75 – 120 g fats

Optimal levels ensure

  • Health in every way
  • Good feelings of satisfaction after meals
  • No food cravings  
  • Ideal weight
  • A bowel movement every day
  • Optimal tissue repair and rebuilding
  • Strong immune function 
  • Production control of the hormone’s cortisol and insulin
  • Strong heart health
  • Strong bones, joint, nails and teeth 
  • Good mood 
  • Good energy levels
  • Good memory and brain health in every way 
  • Clean and beautiful skin
  • Strong and shiny hair
  • Good appetite for sex.

Check THIS MACRONUTRIENT LIST and calculate your daily intake of protein, fats and carbs then adjust if necessary.

Animal Foods

  • Eaten as food directly or indirectly by the products they produce. 
  • Meat is an example of a direct product taken from an animal, which comes from muscle systems or from organs (offal).
  • Food products produced by animals include milk produced by mammary glands, which in many cultures is drunk or processed into dairy products – cheese, butter, etc. 
  • Birds and other animals lay eggs, which are often eaten, 
  • Bees produce honey, a reduced nectar from flowers, which is a popular sweetener and condiment in many cultures. 
  • Some cultures consume blood, sometimes in the form of blood sausage, as a thickener for sauces, or in a cured, salted form for times of food scarcity, and others use blood in stews such as jugged hare.
  • Nutritionally animal foods contain protein and fats and little if any carbohydrate
  • All minerals and vitamins are found in animal foods
  • Animal-based nutrients have higher bioavailability as well as less hindrance from antinutrients that come “pre-packaged” in plant-based food.

Plant foods

  • Divided into seeds, fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains and nuts.
  • Plants often contains high levels of carbohydrate, less protein and fats
  • Plant foods also contain vitamins and minerals
  • Carbohydrates are found both as starches and sugars 
  • Starches are 100% glucose 
  • Sugars contain 50% glucose and 50% fructose or 50% galactose
  • Fruit contains glucose and fructose – sucrose
  • Sugar beet and cane contain glucose and fructose – sucrose
  • Milk contain glucose and galactose – lactose 
  • Proteins are nutritionally incomplete, they don’t contain all the essential amino acids
  • Fats are more unsaturated fats especially omega 6 fatty acids.
  • Most vitamins are found from plant sources, except vitamin D and vitamin B12. 
  • Minerals are also plentiful, although the presence of phytates can prevent their absorption
  • Humans only eat about 200 out of the world’s 400 000 plant species
  • The biggest source of human plant-based food comes from maize, rice, and wheat.
  • Plants can be processed into breads, pasta, cereals, juices and jams or raw ingredients such as sugar, herbs, spices and oils can be extracted
  • Plants contain so called anti-nutrients which can be deadly and or disturb the absorption of other nutrients.

Food allergies

  • Some people have allergies or sensitivities to foods that are not problematic to others. 
  • This occurs when a person’s immune system mistakes food proteins for harmful foreigners and attacks them. 
  • Approx. 2% of adults and 8% of children have a food allergies.
  • In some instances, traces of food in the air can provoke lethal reactions in extremely sensitive individuals, such as peanuts
  • Common food allergens are gluten, corn, shellfish, peanuts, and soy 
  • Allergens frequently produce symptoms such as diarrhea, rashes, bloating, vomiting, etc. 
  • Gut symptoms usually develop within 30 minutes of eating the food allergen
  • Sometimes food allergies can lead to a medical emergency, such as anaphylactic shock, low blood pressure, and loss of consciousness, such as peanuts. 
  • Treatment is with epinephrine (adrenaline), is essential and persons with these allergies are required to carry Epi-pens.

Food poisoning

  • Caused by bacteria, toxins, viruses, parasites, and prions. 
  • Approx. 7 million people die of food poisoning each year
  • Approx. 10 times as many suffer from a non-fatal version
  • Food poisoning has been recognized as a disease since as early as Hippocrates

The most common causes

– cross-contamination of ready-to-eat food from other uncooked foods
– improper temperature control
– improper storage  

Poisoning can be caused by a wide range of foreign bodies during

– farming
– manufacture
– cooking
– packaging
– distribution
– sale  

These foreign bodies can include

– pests or their droppings
– hairs
– cigarette butts
– wood chips
– all kinds of other contaminants. 

  • The sale of rancid, contaminated food was common before the introduction of hygiene, refrigeration, and vermin controls in the 19th century. 
  • Discovery of techniques for killing bacteria using heat, and other microbiological studies by scientists such as Louis Pasteur also contributed 

Recommended measures for ensuring food safety include

– maintaining a clean preparation area 
– keeping foods of different types separate
– ensuring an adequate cooking temperature
– refrigerating foods promptly after cooking.

Rule of thumb

– cold foods, such as dairy products should be kept cold
– hot foods, such as soup should be kept hot until storage
– raw meats that are to be cooked should not be placed at room temperature before cooking.

Tastes

  • Animals, specifically humans, have five different types of tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. 
  • As animals have evolved, the tastes that provide the most energy (sugar and fats) are the most pleasant to eat, such as the sweet taste
  • Water, while important for survival, has no taste.
  • Fats especially saturated fats, are thicker and rich and are thus considered more enjoyable to eat.

Sweet

  • Generally regarded as the most pleasant taste, sweetness is almost always caused by a type of simple sugar such as glucose or fructose, or disaccharides such as sucrose, a molecule combining glucose and fructose.
  • Complex carbohydrates are long chains and thus do not have the sweet taste. 
  • As sugar is vital for energy and survival, the taste of sugar is very pleasant.

Sour

  • Sourness is caused by the taste of acids, such as vinegar. 
  • Sour foods include citrus, specifically lemons, limes, and to a lesser degree oranges. 
  • Sour is evolutionarily significant as it is a sign for a food that may have gone rancid due to bacteria.
  • Many foods, however, are slightly acidic, and help stimulate the taste buds and enhance flavour.

Salty

  • Saltiness is the taste of alkali metal ions such as sodium/natrium and potassium/kalium. 
  • It is found in almost every food in low to moderate proportions enhancing flavour 
  • There are many different types of salt, such as sea salt, fleur de sel, kosher salt, mined salt, grey salt, etc. 
  • Essential for electrolyte balance, which is the kidney’s function. 
  • Salt may be iodized, meaning iodine has been added to it, a necessary nutrient that promotes thyroid function. 
  • Processed foods, such as canned foods can be high in salt as a means of preserving the food. 
  • Historically salt has long been used as a meat preservative as salt promotes water excretion. 

Bitter

  • Bitterness is a sensation often considered unpleasant characterized by having a sharp, pungent taste.
  • Unsweetened dark chocolate, caffeine, lemon rind, and some types of fruit are known to be bitter.

Umami / Savory

  • From the Japanese: 旨味 ɯmami or savoriness
  • People taste umami through taste receptors that typically respond to glutamates and nucleotides, which are widely present in meat broths and fermented products. 
  • Glutamates are commonly added to some foods in the form of monosodium glutamate (MSG) to increase the umami taste
  • Nucleotides are commonly added to increase the umami taste, but may also boosts immune system
  • Foods that have a strong umami flavour include meats, shellfish, fish, tomatoes, mushrooms, hydrolysed vegetable protein, meat extract, yeast extract, cheeses, and soy sauce.

Antinutrients 101

  • Goitrogens
    – in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale) – can prevent the absorption of iodine, which may then interfere with thyroid function and cause a goitre (sweeling of the Thyroid gland). 
  • Lectins
    – in legumes (beans, peanuts, soybeans), whole grains – can interfere with the absorption of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.
  • Oxalates
    – in green leafy vegetables, tea, beans, nuts, beets – can bind to calcium and prevent absorption.
  • Phytates (phytic acid)
    – in whole grains, seeds, legumes, some nuts – can decrease the absorption of iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium
  • Saponins
    – in legumes, whole grains – can interfere with normal nutrient absorption.
  • Tannins – in tea, coffee, legumes – can decrease iron absorption.
  • Protease inhibitors
    – in seeds, grains and legumes can interfere with protein digestion by inhibiting digestive enzymes.

FOR MORE INFORMATION – READ MORE ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF PLANT FOOD

Deactivating Anti-nutrients

  • Processing plant foods is something our ancestors where very particular about. 
  • They knew that all plant foods (less in fruits) contained molecules that were not advantageous for the body, even toxic and therefore plant foods were in one way or another always processed, such as:
  • Soaking
  • Boiling
  • Fermenting / Pickling
  • Sprouting
  • Combinations of the above

Combining the various processes is the most effective way of reducing anti-nutrients especially combining soaking and boiling:

  • Phytates
    – soaking, sprouting, fermenting.
  • Lectins
    – soaking, boiling, heating, fermenting.
  • Tannins
    – soaking, boiling.
  • Protease inhibitors
    – soaking, sprouting.

Egg Nutrition

  • 1 large egg – approx. 50g – Calories – 80 – most in the yolk

Macronutrients 

  • Carbohydrates – 1g – in the yolk
  • Protein – 7g – most in the whites – good source of cysteine essential for glutathione production – a major antioxidant
  • Fat – 5g – most in the yolk – both saturated and unsaturated
  • Cholesterol – 185g – most in the yolk

Micronutrients

  • Magnesium – essential for more than 300 biochemical pathways, protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation, mm
  • Potassium/Kalium – important electrolyte, assists in nerve function and muscle contraction and a regular heartbeat 
  • Sodium/Natrium – important electrolyte, nerve impulses, muscle contractions, maintains balance of water and minerals, mm
  • Vitamin A – maintenance of skin and immune function and vision.
  • Vitamin D – health bones and teeth, absorption and use of calcium and phosphorus, normal muscle function and maintenance of the immune system.
  • Vitamin B12 – contributes to the formation of red blood cells and optimal energy production, cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems function.
  • Vitamin B2 / Riboflavin – contributes to optimal energy production, red blood cell development, vision, and nervous system function.
  • Vitamin B5 / pantothenic acid – contributes to optimal energy metabolism, mental performance, and vitamin D production.
  • Vitamin B9 / folate – contributes to optimal cell division and tissue growth during pregnancy, cardiovascular health and immune system.
  • Choline – optimal fat metabolism and liver function.
  • Calcium – maintenance of bones and teeth, cardiovascular function
  • Phosphorus – maintenance of normal bones and teeth optimal function of cell membranes and energy production.
  • Iodine – production of thyroid hormones and optimal function of the thyroid gland, energy metabolism, maintenance of skin and nervous system function.
  • Selenium – protects against oxidative damage, optimal immune system and production of thyroid hormone T3 and maintenance of hair and nails.
  • Biotin – contributes to optimal energy metabolism, maintenance of healthy skin, hair, and nervous system function.
  • Lutein – an antioxidant important for visual health.

Eggs Classified

Ever wondered what the different labels slapped onto your egg box mean?

  • Cage-Free – Hens are not confined to a cage – however, they may not be running happily around a field. Cage-free can constitute a wide array of environments, such as cramped in a warehouse to wandering around outside.
  • Free-Range – Hens are free to roam outside – at least part of the day.
  • Natural – The term “natural” is not regulated so this could mean anything the manufacturer wants it to mean.
  • Organic – The term “organic”, unlike “natural”, is regulated. Certified organic hens are fed organic vegetarian diets free from genetically-modified foods or foods produced with pesticides. The hens do not receive antibiotics or vaccines, and are often also cage-free.
  • Pasteurized  Pasteurized eggs have been heated to 60 degrees C for 3.5 minutes. This kills many of the bacteria, such as Salmonella. May be a good option for those with a weakened immune system.

Eggs and Cholesterol

  • One large egg has about 186 mg of cholesterol — all of which is found in the yolk

Is this good or bad?

  • Depends on which study you read and who you listen to
  • Some studies show that eating eggs doesn’t affect blood cholesterol levels, some studies show they do
  • Some studies show eating eggs increase HDL cholesterol – also known as the good cholesterol and some show the opposite even the increase of LDL cholesterol which is considered the bad
  • But the general consensus today by many medical professionals is eating 1even 2 eggs per day is ‘probably’ ok
  • Some professionals mean that combining eggs with other fatty foods, such as cheese, yogurts, processed meats and fried foods may be a problem
  • Excess fats especially the long chains or excess sugars which convert to fats, will increase the production of the fat storage molecules called triglycerides and thereby the need for the transport molecule LDL.

Be an “Eggs-pert”

  • Breed determines egg shell colour. 
  • Commercial eggs tend to be brown or white, but some breeds can also lay blue, green, or pink eggs.
  • Nutritional content is the same, regardless of shell colour.
  • Darker yolks are attributed to diets higher in green plants and deeply-pigmented plants materials, easily accessible by free-range chickens. 
  • Lighter yolks are a result of a diet high in wheat, barley, and corn meal.
  • Egg yolks are one of the few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D.
  • The word “yolk” derives from an Old English word for “yellow”. 
  • Want to know if the egg is raw or cooked – spin it. Cooked eggs spin easily, raw eggs wobble.
  • An average hen lays 300 to 325 eggs per year.
  • It takes a hen approx. 25 hours to produce an egg.
  • A hen turns her egg nearly 50 times a day to keep the yolk from sticking to the side.
  • The eggs you buy at the store are not unhatched baby chickens – 99% of the time eggs are unfertilized 
  • Harriet, a hen from the United Kingdom, laid the world’s largest hen egg in 2010 – measuring 9.1 inches / 23 cm in diameter.
  • Hens lay more eggs, than other birds
  • Hens don’t have the strong mothering instincts making for easier egg collection.

Broccoli Nutrition

1 cup / 91g of Raw broccoli contains 

  • Calories – 31
  • Water – 89%

Macronutrients

  • Protein  2.5g – more than most other veggies
  • Carbs  6g – of which
  • Sugars – 1.5g
  • Fibre: 2.4g
  • Fats – 0.4 grams

Micronutrients

  • Vitamin C – an antioxidant, important for immune function and skin health  
  • Vitamin A – maintenance of skin and immune function and vision
  • Vitamin K1 – important for blood clotting 
  • Vitamin B9 / Folate – important for pregnant women, folate is needed for normal tissue growth and cell function 
  • Potassium/Kalium – beneficial for blood pressure control and heart disease prevention 
  • Manganese  helps the body form connective tissue, bones, blood clotting factors, and sex hormones, also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation and normal brain and nerve function.
  • Iron – important for oxygen transport in red blood cells, though poorly absorbed.
  • Magnesium – essential for more than 300 biochemical pathways 
  • Selenium – protects against oxidative damage, optimal immune system and production of thyroid hormone T3 and maintenance of hair and nails.

Other plant compounds

Broccoli is also rich in various antioxidants and plant compounds, which have health benefits. 

  • Glucoraphanin / Sulforaphane – may protect against various types of cancer.
  • Indole-3-carbinol / DIM di-indole-methane – a unique nutrient found in cruciferous vegetables, which may help fight cancer.
  • Carotenoids – lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene, may all contribute to better eye health.
  • Kaempferol – an antioxidant with many benefits for health, this compound may protect against heart disease, cancer, inflammation, and allergies.
  • Quercetin – an antioxidant with numerous benefits, including lowering blood pressure in people with high levels.

Broccoli 101

  • The word broccoli comes from the Italian plural of broccolo, which means “the flowering crest of a cabbage
  • Broccoli was developed from wild cabbage in the northern Mediterranean starting in about the 6th century BCE.
  • Broccoli has its origins in the Roman Empire and was most likely improved via artificial selection in the southern Italian Peninsula and or in Sicily.
  • The plant came to France in 1560
  • Spread to northern Europe by the 18th century and brought to North America in the 19th century by Italian immigrants.
  • Until the early 1700s, broccoli was still not widely known in England and was called “sprout colli-flower” or “Italian asparagus.”
  • After the Second World War, breeding of United States and Japanese F1 hybrids increased yields, quality, growth speed, and regional adaptation, which produced the types we know today
  • Also known as Brassica oleracea is a cruciferous vegetable related to cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts
  • There are three commonly grown types of broccoli.

Broccoli Upsides

  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli provide sulphur-containing compounds, such as glucoraphanin commonly called  sulforaphane
  • These sulphur-containing molecules are responsible for their often pungent taste 
  • These sulphur-containing molecules may have numerous health benefits, such as: 

– May lower cholesterol levels
– May be good for detoxification
– Good for heart health
– Contain cancer protective compounds
– May be good for eye health
– May support hormonal balance via improved detoxification
– May support the immune system
– May reduce inflammation
– May be a good antioxidant
– May slow aging
– May improve skin health.

Broccoli Downsides

  • Thyroid problems – broccoli is considered a goitrogen, which means it contains substances called thiocyanates that potentially can harm the thyroid gland.
  • Blood thinners – individuals taking the blood thinner warfarin should consult with their healthcare practitioner before increasing their broccoli intake because its high vitamin K1, a natural blood-clotter and may interact with this medication
  • Gut bloating and discomfort – may cause excessive gas or bloating, digestive distress, in some people, particularly in those with IBS / irritable bowel syndrome
  • Antinutrients – broccoli contains the antinutrient substances called thiocyanates also called goitrogens. If eaten raw can create an enlarged Thyroid called a goitre. Cooking and or fermenting can decrease the amount.  

Sulforaphane 101

  • Glucoraphanin is a glucosinolate found in broccoli, mustard and some other cruciferous vegetables.
  • Glucoraphanin is converted to sulforaphane by the enzyme myrosinase.
  • In plants, sulforaphane deters insect predators and acts as a selective antibiotic.
  • In humans, sulforaphane has been studied for its potential effects in neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases and as an anti-cancer agent
  • Sulforaphane has been associated with various health benefits and may have beneficial affects against cancer, heart disease and diabetes
  • Due to the potential health benefits, a variety of broccoli has been bred to contain 2 to 3 times more glucoraphanin than standard broccoli.
  • Romanesco broccoli has been found to contain 10 times more glucoraphanin than typical broccoli varieties.
  • Broccoli sprouts contain most glucoraphanin 
  • Frostara kale, Black Tuscany kale and red cabbage contain higher levels of glucoraphanin than common broccoli.
  • Once inside the body, sulforaphane is the most potent naturally occurring activator of the NRF 2 pathway
  • NRF2 activation affects the expression of over 200 genes including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification genes.
  • As such NRF2 is the body’s strongest defence against oxidative stress and aging
  • Effective doses can range from 40 to 60mg of sulforaphane, which is roughly 140g / 1 cup of broccoli sprouts.

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