Our health is basically what we eat , and the things which we normally eat are the compositions of different nutrients which provides several benefits to our body and system. The nutrient composition of the food start to change as soon as the fruits and vegetables are plucked off from the plant . Similarly there are chemical changes in meat and meat products when they are left for some time without processing. Nutrients loss is the effect of almost all cooking techniques, also the food items are subject to nutrient loss as a result of our washing, pealing and cutting techniques.
The basic of aim of preparing food therefore should be , is to preserve maximum nutrients along with making it palatable.
Below are some basic handling and cooking techniques and their effects on nutrients
Fruit and vegetables are more subject to nutrient loss during washing as compared to meat because of the large quantity of water soluble vitamins present in them. However washing fruits and vegetables prior to cooking in running water is extremely important in order to remove all the pesticides and contaminants which are responsible for numerous food Borne illnesses. Below are some basic tips, one should keep in mind prior to washing vegetables and fruits for consumption.
- Always select fresh fruits and vegetables free from bruises, moulds and any signs of damage.
- Soaking vegetables in water for longer period of time causes more vitamin loss. However those vegetables which are consumed with skin are needed to be soaked for sometimes in warm water to remove contaminants and pesticides.
- Wash fruit and vegetable just before consumption.
Cutting and pealing.
Below are some essential tips to consider before preparing foods for cooking
- Lean cut meats are more nutritious as compared to the full fat meat.
- Do not remove skin of those vegetables which can be used with skin as some of the most important nutrients are present in peel or just beneath the peel. For example potato skin is rich in fibre, thiamin ,vitamin B6 and vitamin C, similarly high percentage of lycopene which is an important antioxidants is present in tomato skin and high percentage of minerals are present in tomato seeds.
- Always cut vegetables in larger pieces in order to preserve maximum vitamins.
Excessive heat or cooking for longer period of time can destroy and break down almost 15-20 % of vitamins and minerals found in vegetables including vitamin C , thiamine, folic acid, and potassium. Sometimes these cooking methods also provide several health benefits by releasing antioxidants in the food by breaking cell walls. Following are some basic cooking techniques and how small changes can enable you to get maximum nutrients from normal food.
- Boil vegetables in as little water as possible and dry it completely.
- Boil vegetables leftovers with little salt in water to make a tasty vegetables stock.
- Steaming vegetables and fish fillet is another method to lock nutrients within the food.
- Pressure cooking decrease the cooking time and are least destructive to nutrients.
- Grilling marinated meat without adding extra fat is one way of getting maximum nutrients along with great taste. However researches suggests that excess use of charred meats may increases the risk of pancreatic or breast cancer. For this reason it is advisable to use lean cut meats for barbecue , as it require less time for cooking.
- Stir frying vegetables and meat at high temperature with small amount of fat also helps to keep nutrients intact due to short cooking time.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common vitamin or minerals deficiency affecting vast majority of population. It can occur at any age but is more common in elderly above the age of 50. Signs and symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are;
- Tingling or pins and needles sensation in hands and feet
- Shortness of breath
- Severe joint pain.
In extreme cases the vitamin B12 deficiency could lead to
- Memory loss
- Paranoia and delusions
- Loss of smell and taste
In order to understand the causes and treatment of Vitamin B 12 deficiency clearly , it is essential to understand the role of vitamins b12 in human body , how much it is required and food sources.
Functions of vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 also called cobalamin is one of the water soluble vitamins . It is especially important for the maintenance of healthy nerve cells . It helps in the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and red blood cells. Vitamin B12 along with folic acid produce a compound called S-adenosylmethionine which plays an important part in immune system and helps to regulate brain chemicals effecting mood such serotonin, dopamine and melatonin. Vitamin B12 also works with other B vitamin to control blood levels of amino acids and homocysteine.
Recommended dietary allowance
The recommended intake of vitamin b12 are provided in dietary reference intake (DRI) for adults and average intake for infants. The RDA of vitamin B12 is expressed in microgram.
0-6 months 0.4 mcg
7-12 months. 0.5 mcg
1-3 years 0.9 mcg
4-8 years. 1.2 mcg
Males and females
9-13 years 1.8 mcg
<14 years. 2.4 mcg
Pregnancy. 2.6 mcg
Lactation. 2.8 mcg
Human body is unable to produce vitamin B12 so it must be supplied through diet in sufficient amount in order to avoid deficiency. Vitamin B12 is found in the tissues of animals and is therefore present in food from animal sources including liver, kidneys, Muscle meat, poultry, fish, milk and milk products and eggs. It is not present in fruits and vegetables so people on vegetarian or vegan diets are more susceptible to vitamin b12 deficiency. There are many commercially available breakfast cereals that are fortified with B12 in order to ensure bioavailability of this vitamin to particular group.
Causes of vitamin B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency is more prevalent in older people . The major cause of B12 deficiency in older adults is due the lack of inteensic factor, a protein which ia required for the absorption of vitamin B12 from food . This type vitamin B12 deficency is called pernicious anaemia and is more common in;
- Adults over 60
- And people with postive family history of autoimmune disorders.
Common causes of vitamin b12 deficiency include
- A strict vegan diet
- Gastric ulcers
- Thining of stomach lining
- Intestinal surgery
- Digestive disorders
The infants born to vegetarian pregnant mothers are more succeptible to vitamin B12 deficiency.
The treatement of vitamin B12 deficiency include nutritional intervention along with proper supplementation. A person on strict vegetarian diet or vegan diet are recommended to use B12 supplements daily between meals. Also commercially available vitamin b12 fortified cereals ,soya and yeast products can be used instead of the normal ones to ensure sufficient intake of vitamin B12.
For individuals not on any diet restrictions it is essential to include liver, milk, eggs and fish in diet frequently because it carries a good supply of vitamin B12 and other important nutrients.
Cold and cough are the contagious and the most common ailment people normally suffer several times throughout the year. Usually over the counter medications are offered to the patients suffering from cold and cough, but these medicines doesn’t really cure the symptoms just offer temporary relief. There are several ingredients in our pantry which can help to ease the symptoms of cold and cough. Cold and cough lasts for two weeks and after that time period it automatically clears up.
Signs and symptoms
Common signs and symptoms of cold are
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Fever and chills , if the cold is caused by bacterial infections
Food to relieve cold and cough symptoms
Cold and cough symptoms usually subsides in a week or two without any medicines. Healthy food and drinks are especially important in order to ensure quick recovery from the symptoms.
Drink plenty of fluids
Drinking plenty of fluids is extremely important to remove mucus and to prevent dehydration accompanied by fever during bacterial infections. An adult should take at least 2 litres of water in cold and cough. Many hot drink are especially helpful in sore throat and also helps to reduce chest congestion. Fluids which are proved to be helpful are;
- Lemon and honey in warm water
- Chicken broth and chicken soup
- Herbal tea with ginger and cinnamon
- Fresh turmeric boiled in milk
Antioxidants plays a vital tole in the prevention and treatment of common cold and cough. The antioxidants found in food helps to fight against free radicals which can cause damage to parts of cells by a process of oxidation. Studies reveals that antioxidants found in most fruits and vegetables helps to boost immune system and relieve cold and cough symptoms . It also helps to shorten the duration of these ailments. Some of the antioxidants rich foods which are found to be effective in old and cough includes
- Chilli pepper
- Vitamin C
Omega 3 fatty acids
The benefits of omega 3 have been widely discussed for boosting immune system and reducing inflammation throughout the body. Numerous studies advise that daily use of fish oil capsules helps to prevent cold in winter season. Rich sources of omega 3s are
- Fatty fish
- Chia seeds
Foods to avoid
There are numerous foods which causes discomfort in cold and cough and also delay the recovery
- Caffeinated beverages causes dehydration.
- Deep Fried food releases an airborne irritant which trigger coughing
- Processed foods are high in sugars, salts , and low quality fats which tend to worsen the symptoms.
- Tobacco is the leading cause of chronic bronchitis in individuals.
- Fruits such as banana, oranges and mango increases phlegm production and trigger cough.
Ulcers affects millions of people each year. A peptic ulcer more commonly referred as a stomach ulcer is the lesion on the lining of stomach ,small intestine or oesophagus. Ulcers commonly occurs as a result of microbial or chemical abnormalities that in-turns disrupts the mucosal integrity.
Types of peptic ulcers
There are two common types of peptic ulcers
Gastric ulcer: The lesions that form in the lining of stomach are called gastric ulcers.
Duodenal ulcers: when the peptic ulcer develops in the first part of your gastrointestinal tract or duodenum , it is called duodenal ulcer.
Causes of peptic ulcers
Normally malfunctioning of more than one mechanism result in ulcers to develop. The most common factors that results in erosion of stomach or duodenum lining are;
- Helicobacter pylori , a bacteria which causes infection in the stomach .
- Frequent use of aspirin or other NSAIDs inflamed the lining of stomach and intestine and increases the risk of developing ulcers.
- Stress ulcers which occurs as result of trauma, burns, renal failure or radiation therapy.
- Smoking also aggravate peptic ulcers symptoms especially in patients who are infected with H.pylori.
The symptoms and intensity of symptoms in peptic ulcers depends upon the location and type of sores. One of the most common symptom of peptic ulcer is the intense pain in the middle of the stomach. Other symptoms include rapid weight loss, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, acid reflux, dark coloured stools, bloating and anorexia.
Diet managementin peptic ulcer
Nutritional care along with proper medication is extremely important in the treatment and prevention of peptic ulcers. The primary goal for diet management is to reduce the pain and the intensity of symptoms and to prevent excessive weight loss.
Following are some dietary recommendations for individuals suffering with peptic ulcers
- Diet rich in fiber is advisable for patients with peptic ulcers. The fiber is believed to neutralise the concentration of bile acids in stomach and regulate bowel movement.
- Regular intake of yogurt is very effective as it contains probiotics which tend to suppress the infections caused by bacteria H.pylori in peptic ulcer patients.
- Persons suffering from peptic ulcers are advised to avoid specific spices such as black pepper and red chillies as it cause superficial erosion on the mucosal lining.
- Protein foods temporarily buffer or neutralise acid secretions and are important for healing of the wounds. Apt for proteins present in eggs and white meat as it takes less time to digest because of the low fat content .Remove skin before cooking and chew thoroughly in order to avoid discomfort caused by larger particles to the lesions.
- Caffeine found in tea and coffee stimulates acid secretion and cause discomfort and increase inflammation . Tea and coffee should be completely avoided.
- Avoid larger meals at bedtime to reduce acid secretion at night time.
- Fruit juices and soft drinks causes inflammation in discomfort in some patients suffering from mouth or oesophageal ulcers and should be taken with caution.
- The use of antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acid are also found to beneficial in peptic ulcers caused by bacterial infections.