Janice Yeung

Nutrition Labels: How to see if the Food you Buy is Healthy

May 6, 2014 in All Blogs, Education and Parenting, Food and Nutrition, Health & Medical, Living, Our Blog

 

When we grocery shop nowadays, many of us read information on food labels to help us better discern whether the food we buy is healthy or not. In fact, food manufacturers are required by law to put certain information about their products on the nutrition labels. To learn about how to read these labels helps us make more informed choices about the foods we buy.

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Here are a few guidelines:

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Ingredients

Manufacturers are required to list all ingredients used to create the product. The ingredients are actually listed with the one used in the biggest proportion coming first. Knowing what certain terms mean also help a lot in choosing your food. For example, fats can be listed as fat, lard, shortening, oils (palm, coconut, hydrogenated vegetable), monoglycerides, diglycerides, or tallow. Sugars can be listed as sugar, honey, molasses, terms that end in “ose” (dextrose, sucrose, fructose, maltose, lactose), dextrin, maltodextrin, or syrups. Salts could be salt, MSG, sodium, baking soda, baking powder, brine, kelp or soy sauce.

 

Tomatoe with nutriton factsNutrition Facts Table

In the nutrition facts table, there are specific sections that we have to be aware of. In the ‘Servings’ section, information about nutritional content based on a specific amount of food is given. Serving sizes can differ from product to product. Compare it to your normal volume of eating. “% Daily Values” are based on recommendations of how much of a nutrient you should take per day. Consume more of the nutrients that you are trying to increase. Keep in mind that in Canada, there is no “% Daily Value” for sugar since Health Canada’s Nutrition Recommendations do not recommend a specific amount of sugar.

 

Health Claims

Look out for health claims that the product might claim. According to Health Canada, a diet low in saturated fat and trans fat reduces risk of heart disease; adequate calcium, vitamin D and regular physical activity reduces risk of osteoporosis; eating a lot of vegetables and fruit reduces the risk of some cancers; a diet low in sodium and high in potassium reduces risk of high blood pressure.

getty_rm_photo_of_girl_studying_nutrition_labelAvoid Certain Ingredients

There are certain food ingredients that somehow make it into the supermarket aisles, but would be very wise to avoid for health reasons. BHA found in Fruity Pebbles is a preservative that has been shown to cause cancer in rats and is “reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen” according to the Japanese Journal of Cancer Research. Parabens found in Baskin-Robbins sundaes are present in breast cancer tissues. Sodium Nitrite in Oscar Mayer hot dogs and Hormel bacon could form compounds in our bodies that cause cancer. The high levels of caramel colouring found in Coke/Diet Coke and Pepsi/Diet Pepsi account for 15,000 cancers in the U.S. annually. Artificial dyes in Skittles and Jell-O are linked to hyperactivity in children and to cause tumors.

 

Remember to read the labels before you purchase any type of food product. Good health is the result of making good choices! Please SHARE this article with your friends or give us some COMMENTS below!

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James Lavapie

How to avoid Carcinogens in your daily life – Aerosols

May 5, 2014 in All Blogs, Education and Parenting, Health & Medical, Living, Our Blog

Although what we eat plays a major role in our quality of life, there are many other lifestyle choices unrelated to food that can have a remarkable impact on our health. In our new series on “How to avoid Carcinogens in your daily life,” we have come up with some helpful tips that will help you to live a healthier life.

 

One of the most ubiquitous products in many homes is aerosols. From deodorant and hairspray, to paint and air fresheners – aerosols have become a staple in the average family home. However, what many people do not realize is that aerosol products actually have the potential to negatively affect the health of you and your loved ones.

 

834648_63619849In an independent testing of fourteen common household air fresheners, the Natural Resources and Defence Council (NRDC) found that most of the aerosol products contained chemicals which had the potential to aggravate asthma and negatively affect reproductive development. These hormone-disrupting chemicals were not listed on the label and some of these products were even falsely labelled “all natural.” In another study by UC Berkeley, these products were found to be especially harmful when used indoors. This is because the pollutants they emit reach toxic levels within enclosed spaces and may pose a risk to the health of you and your family.

 

Instead of relying on aerosols for your daily household needs, try seeking out natural alternatives. Make sure to always read the label and do your own research on the products you choose to purchase because everything is not always listed on the label.

 

Resources

 

NRDC – Protect Your Family from the Hidden Hazards in Air Fresheners

 

https://www.nrdc.org/health/home/airfresheners/fairfresheners.pdf

 

UC Berkeley – Indoor Air Chemistry

 

http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2006/05/22_householdchemicals.shtml

 

 

 

James Lavapie

Food Prep Fact – Tomatoes

April 21, 2014 in All Blogs, Conditions, Education and Parenting, Food and Nutrition, Health & Medical, Living, Our Blog

 

756615_88688326When preparing meals for you and your family, it is important to consider that they ways in which you cook your food can remarkably affect its nutritional value. Take tomatoes for instance – even though the cooking process results in a decrease in vitamin C, the heat is beneficial for breaking down the plant cell walls of the tomato so that your body can better absorb the antioxidant lycopene.

 

 

 

903497_74892237Keep in mind that purchasing tomatoes that are canned or jarred will not yield the same result as cooking fresh tomatoes at home because these products commonly contain preservatives and other artificial additives that will compromise their nutritional value. The best way to make sure that everything you are consuming is healthy and natural is to prepare it yourself, so why not try roasting some tomatoes at home for an easy weeknight side dish? You and your family will not regret the decision!

 

James Lavapie

Daily Food Quick Tip – Grapefruit

April 16, 2014 in All Blogs, Education and Parenting, Food and Nutrition, Health & Medical, Living, Our Blog

 

630548_81374301Although many experts advocate portion control when it comes to dieting, it is important to remember that eating your way towards a healthier life also calls for smart decision making as much as it does portion control. When you keep track of the foods you eat and the way these foods make you feel, you will be able to make healthier choices moving forward.

Grapefruits are more than just a sour substitute for the traditional orange, they also serve as a great source of antioxidants such as vitamin C. Vitamin C not only helps with the prevention of certain cancers, but it also helps to prevent the swelling of the lungs and airway among asthmatics. So why not try some grapefruit juice tomorrow morning instead of the regular OJ? It only takes one small decision to begin your journey towards living a healthier life.

James Lavapie

Daily Food Quick Tip – Tea

April 9, 2014 in All Blogs, Conditions, Education and Parenting, Food and Nutrition, Health & Medical, Living, Our Blog

Daily Food Quick Tip – Tea

 

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For those trying to attain a healthier lifestyle, beginning a regular exercise routine is a great first step towards living a healthier life. By making sure that your body is in the best shape possible, you can optimize the way you feel inside and outside of the gym.

However, exercise poses a special problem among those dealing with asthma. The wheezing and lung inflammation that accompanies the disease tends to worsen during and after exercise. According to a study conducted by the University of Tel Aviv, the muscle relaxing properties of caffeine may help to combat the post-workout symptoms that asthmatics may face.

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So try drinking a cup of tea prior to beginning your daily workout. The natural tendency for your lungs to spasm can be aided by caffeine’s ability to relax and dilate the muscles in your airway. When exercise becomes less of a physical threat to asthmatics it will become easier to incorporate working out into everyday life.

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology – Effects of caffeine ingestion on body fluid balance and hermoregulation during exercise http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/y90-135origin=publication_detail&journalCode=cjpp#.Uz2S5q1dVZ0

James Lavapie

Daily Food Quick Tip: Rye Crackers

March 31, 2014 in All Blogs, Education and Parenting, Food and Nutrition, Health & Medical, Living, Our Blog

Daily Food Quick Tip: Rye Crackers

 

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Sometimes referred to as crispbread or flatbread, most rye cracker brands only contain two ingredients – whole grain rye flour and salt. By replacing one unhealthy snack per day with a serving of rye crackers, you will not only reduce the amount of fat,calories and preservatives you consume each day, but you will also be adding a wholesome source of dietary fibre and protein into your diet. Beware of processed foods masquerading as wholesome rye crackers, the fewer ingredients on the side of the box (and the easier they are to pronounce) the better. If you are still worried about purchasing a certain brand of rye cracker, why not try making them by yourself or with the help of your family. By preparing the foods from start to finish, you can ensure that only the healthiest ingredients are used.

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