Protein and the healthy diet

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You know,  all of us mean well with our efforts of self improvement. For the most part we aim to improve our well-being  by making the right dietary and health choices. To that end some of us become vegetarian, vegan and follow macrobiotic diets. These are all valid attempts at doing what is best for our bodies and environment. However, it is important to note that following a strict diet that focuses on certain foods can have negative effects if important complementary exchanges are not made. All of the aforementioned diets are carbohydrate focused and while carbs are good, protein also plays a vital role in our bodies

(Whitney, Sizer).

Within our bodies proteins support growth and maintenance, build enzymes and hormones, build antibodies, provide energy and glucose, and promotes blood clotting. However, a person’s health and the quality of protein consumed determines that person’s response to protein. The body can handle whole proteins which it then breaks down into pieces and digestibility is important to measuring protein’s quality. The human body hasn’t changed much since the early years of cave dwelling so for reasons beyond our control, animal based proteins are easier to digest and absorb with the proteins of legumes coming in next. 
If you consume a well balanced, well-fed diet then you’re probably getting enough of  protein in your diet and additional supplement is unnecessary.  In fact, over supplementation can cause serious kidney problems. Unfortunately, many vegetarians complain of feeling tired and run down due to too little dietary protein. Animal proteins are complete and smaller amounts tend to keep us satiated longer. 
Some vegetarians underestimate the amount of complementary proteins they have to eat to maintain adequate levels. Proteins become complementary when they are combined to contain all the essential amino acids the body needs i.e. rice and beans. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to eat these complementary meals together as long as you do eat them throughout the day. 

Aging Gracefully through Healthy Living

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   It seems that American consumers are constantly reminded to live in fear of  their mortality through the media these days. Television commercials, magazine advertisements, and billboards hawk a steady flow of products and medicines that claim to slow down or completely erase the aging process. Now let’s be real, they all can’t possibly be true. But ask yourself:  would you want to actually stop or slow down the natural aging process? In what sense? Well, if you answered yes or maybe then you might be interested to know that diet and exercise can do just that.

Exercise: 

I know you’ve seen them: those eternally youthful elderly folks flitting around your gym looking spry and being 20 years younger than you expected. Do you think it’s a coincidence that the look that good AND exercise? Definitely not! According to the textbook Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies, exercise has been shown to :
  • Reduce Cardiovascular diseases ( nothing says old like a heart attack)
  • Reduce the risk of some cancers including colon and breast cancers.
  • Improve mental functioning ( Alzheimer’s in your family? get moving)
  • Increase bone density and lessened risk of adult bone loss in the future (blonde, short, and small boned? pump that iron!)
  • Give a more youthful appearance, healthy skin, and improved muscle tone!
  • Promote faster wound healing and resistance to infection.
  • Give a feeling of vigor and belief in one’s abilities.
  • Increased muscular strength and endurance while decreasing depression.
Simply put, the “use it or lose it ” mantra is especially true in physical fitness. Why walk if you can run? Balance is key but why sit still if you can move? why waste your body’s potential in favor of sedentary living? Ask yourself: if you feel like moving around is difficult now, what will it be like when you get older?

Diet:
If you have eyes and ears then you have seen and heard the rumors about “super-foods” that can stave of everything from aging to illness. How much truth is behind those claims and what are super foods? Well, they are defined as those unprocessed foods rich in anti-oxidants . These antioxidants are great for us because they lower cholesterol, increase fiber intake, defend our cells against damage and reduce inflammation, a precursor to chronic diseases. The happy side effect to all of that help is a more youthful appearance and a highly functioning system! Some known examples of super foods are are: 
  • Blueberries
  • Garlic
  • Beans
  • Bananas
  • Enzymatic foods like Papaya, kiwi and Pineapple
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Oats
  • Tea
  • Citrus foods
  • Salmon: 
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach
  • Soy
  • Yogurt
  • Walnuts