Anemia is a common health condition, and although there are different causes and categories of anemia, one of the leading causes is due to iron deficiency. With the many supplements and nutrition information that we have available to us, there is no reason why people should not be able to manage their iron deficiency anemia and overcome some of the many symptoms that come along with the disease.
What is IDA (Iron Deficiency Anemia)?
Iron deficiency anemia occurs when depleted iron levels begin to cause the production of hemoglobin to come to a halt. This consequent low level of red blood cells is what causes anemia. When iron levels are low, one may begin to see symptoms, however true deficiency occurs when iron levels are almost completed depleted. In order to check your levels, you must go to your physician and get a proper blood test.
Kale is a leafy green and is part of the cruciferous vegetable family which includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, collards, and Brussels sprouts. Kale is an outstanding source of many nutrients, most notably vitamins A, C, and K. Due to its supreme vitamin K content, kale has also shown great ability as a natural anti-inflammatory source. Along with these vitamins, kale is also an excellent source of calcium, iron, copper, tryptophan, and B vitamin complex amongst others. Being rich in these key nutrients, kale helps strengthen your bones while enhancing the overall health of your skin. One of the most impressive features of kale is its relatively high protein and fiber content despite containing only 36 calories in a one cup serving.
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Over the past several years, vegetarians have become far more than a small minority of eaters. This conscious approach to diet and living has become increasingly popular and for good reason. Although, vegetarians may have a healthier diet overall, compared to meat-eaters, there are still various nutritional holes that this group needs to be sure to fill. Because they are lacking some of the nutrients that are most apparent in meat products, vegetarians must seek out certain ones through other sources.
Ideally, all people whether they be vegetarian or not, should consume a balanced diet that consists of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. For vegetarians, they need to rely even heavier on these three food groups to ensure that they are getting all essential nutrients. For this reason, variety is key.
If you are the average health-conscious person, then you may have had periods where you fall into a food rut, especially when it comes to vegetables. There are but so many salads and veggie casseroles that you can re-mix to try to fit in your full daily serving, while keeping it interesting at the same time. What you may not have tried are sea vegetables! If you can get your mind wrapped around the idea, you may actually have a new diet staple to experiment with. Beyond the little bit of seaweed wrapped with our sushi rolls, there is an assortment of other sea vegetables to try from, so keep an open mind.
Types of Sea Veggies
Nori: This may be the most popular as it is commonly found in sushi rolls like the California roll. It is usually a dark purple to deep green color and contains both iodine and Calcium. It can be used in soups, salads, rice and casserole dishes.
Weekly Menu for Vegans
Caution: It is designed specifically for those you who want to abstain completely from animal foods.
Consult your doctor if you:
- Have health issues
- Often feel dizzy
- Have a family history of osteoporosis
- Have pain in joints
- Are in menopause
- Try to get pregnant
- Have abnormal menstruation
Breakfast: Wheat bread smeared with tahini, dried prunes, orange juice.
Brunch: Apple, walnuts.
Lunch: salad with raw vegetables and nuts, peas and carrots with rice, wheat bread.
Afternoon: rye biscuits with apricot jam.
Dinner: Boiled vegetables, potato salad with walnuts, rye bread.
Breakfast: Muesli with husked millet, sesame and nuts mixed with soy drink.
Lunch: vegetable salad with avocado, pasta with mushroom sauce, whole wheat bread.
Afternoon: Apple with hazelnuts.
If you have chosen to live a vegan lifestyle, chances are that you are pretty health savvy and aware of many of the nutritional aspects of food. Because of the overall lower saturated fat intake, vegans and vegetarians tend to have a healthier diet, one that contains lots of fiber, folic acid, vitamins and other nutrients. Vegans tend to have even more of these elements in their diets compared to vegetarians. Although many can have this higher nutrient content, there is always the potential for nutrient deficiencies when eliminating total food groups like meat and dairy. The best advice to give to vegans regarding these health concerns is to learn and recognize some of the deficiencies that are likely to occur. From there, you can consume proper natural sources or supplements to complement your vegan lifestyle.
If you are a breakfast shake or post-workout shake lover, then you are probably familiar with soy protein. Besides being low in fat, cholesterol and lactose, soy protein is ranked high regarding PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score). Because of its natural content, soy protein is a great option for those who are lactose intolerant as well as vegans who look to get their protein source outside of the animal family. What’s more, soy protein powder can actually be used as a flour substitute to make foods higher in protein and lower in fat and refined carbs. Although soy can be found as a supplement, there is a difference between soy protein and the supplement. The supplement tends to be a concentrated version of soy isoflavones, which have their own isolated health properties.
If you remember the “Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia” anthem song for the once popular Chia Pets, you may be surprised to learn of its recent return to popularity for a different reason. The infomercial famous Chia seeds are actually now considered one of the new superfoods. The seed comes from the Salvia hispanica plant, which is a member of the mint family, growing in the southern regions of Mexico and Guatemala. Although the idea may seem new to us, the use of Chia seeds goes back to the times of the existence of the Aztec and Mayan nations. “Chia” is actually the Mayan word, meaning strength. Aztec warriors utilized the energizing component of the Chia seed and consumed it for much needed, long-lasting energy. Mind you, that only about 1 tablespoon was needed, so imagine the powerful punch of nutrients that each small seed holds. They are packed with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein. Beyond energizing, Aztecs also used the seed for medicinal purposes, such as for the treatment of joint pain and skin sores.
Soy milk was once thought of as a mere substitute for vegans and the lactose intolerant. The idea that a vegetable can produce milk may not be welcomed by all, especially meat-eaters, but now of days, people are changing their minds about soy milk and other soy products. It is no longer for one group of consumers. People who are concerned with their health in general, are now sharing a love for soy as they realize that there are many health benefits that come along with consuming it.
There are many soy products to choose from (e.g., tofu, tempeh, soy cheese soy milk, etc.) Soy milk is probably the most popular soy product to crossover into mainstream diets. Soy milk obviously is not truly “milk”, however its use and other foods that can be produced from it mimic the use of animal’s milk. For example, cheeses, yogurts, ice creams can all be made from a soy base, creating a dairy-free version of any traditional milk product. The process of making soy milk is by grinding the soybean and emulsifying it with water. After the proteins coagulate, the liquid left over is drained and there is where you get your soy milk.
Protein the Basic Building Block
Protein is an extremely important part of the diet since it is the building block of skin, hair, nails, bones, muscles, cartilage, and blood. Your body needs protein in order for different processes as building, repairing, and remodeling tissues. Protein also helps make hormones, enzymes and other body chemicals. Protein is what is called a macronutrient, which means the body will always need a relatively large amount of it all times.
Health Benefits of Protein
Proteins have great health benefits and they are responsible for building, maintaining, and repairing every cell in the body. They have the ability to control the important metabolic processes that go on in the body. Proteins can promote weight loss and can balance out the blood sugar levels. They will help support heart health and can improve immune function. They are also responsible for maintaining strong muscle and minimizing both bone and muscle loss in the elderly.
What is a Vegetarian?
A vegetarian is someone who practices a plant-based diet (which includes nuts, vegetables, fruits, etc.) but excluding from all types of meat, meaning poultry, red meat, and seafood. This diet may or may not include dairy products or eggs. Some vegetarians may also choose to obtain from the by-products of animal slaughter, such as gelatin or whey.
Why do People Choose to Become a Vegetarian?
Ethics is one reason why people become vegetarians. Many do not agree with the way animals are treated and the whole mean industry. Farm animals such as cows, chickens, and pigs all live in poor conditions, and in some cases, do not even have enough space to turn around. Vegetarians all agree that all farm animals live in a stressful environment. This is called ethical vegetarianism and is popular in many developed nations especially with the popularity of factory farming, environmental consciousness, and faster communications.
We all know that the muscle-heads we usually see at the gym are pumped up with all sorts of protein, from dairy-loaded shakes to flavorless chicken breast. There are ways, however to get a healthy dose of protein for vegans who want to gain lean and healthy muscle mass. There are myths, even within the fitness worlds, that the more protein the better. The truth is that your body can only absorb and utilize a limited amount of protein in the first place. What is most important for a muscle-building diet is a calorie-dense, yet nutrient rich meal plan.
There is a common misconception that vegans are somehow less healthy as they have an unfilled hole in their diets. On the contrary, the food industry has become more and more accommodating over the past years, making vegan protein-filled products readily available. For those vegans wishing to weight train and body build, it is definitely possible to do so, as long as other nutrients are replaced and exercise is done safely and strategically.
This month, a food to familiarize yourself with is the Black currant (Ribes nigrum). These cousins of the gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa) originate in Europe and northern parts of Asia and while they are less popular in America, recent studies have acclaimed the super-fruit for its health and healing properties. These berries are packed with Vitamin C, in fact they contain over 5 times the amount found in an orange. You can obtain 302% of the Daily Value in just 100 grams of the fruit. They are also a good source of fiber, potassium, phosphorous and iron, which we already know are great for overall health. And as for the blueberry craze in America, the Black currant has our blueberry beat when it comes to antioxidants, so this is definitely a fruit to get familiar with. Antioxidants are known to prevent heart disease and cancer. In addition, the lesser-known nutrients in the berry, polyphenolics (which can be found in red wine and chocolate) and anthocyanins (which cause the deep color in blue and purple fruits), have been associated with the prevention of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.