About Nutrition

What you should know about Nutrition

Did you know that your daily diet should contain the right amount of calories for your energy needs, as well as a good balance of nutrients such as carbohydrates, fat, protein, and fibre, which are all needed to keep your body healthy? Remember your daily nutrition is the most important aspect of keeping healthy and fit.

Why is it important to drink lots of fluids?

Our bodies need water (and other fluids such as Smoothies or Fresh Juices) to work properly. Water makes up about two-thirds of our body weight - it's important this is maintained because most of the chemical reactions that happen in our cells need water. We also need water for our blood to be able to carry nutrients around the body. Although water is not a nutrient in the classical sense, human beings would be unable to survive without it.

Losing water

We lose water through evaporation when we breathe and sweat. As the temperature rises and as we do more activity, this increases the amount of water the body loses. To stay healthy, we need to replace the fluids that are lost. The body also gets rid of waste products from the body through the kidneys in urine, and urine is mainly made up of water.

How much water do we need?

The amount of water (and other fluids) that we need to drink each day varies from person to person, depending on age, time of year, climatic conditions, diet and the amount of physical activity we do. For instance, we need more water in hot climates and following exercise. We can obtain our fluid requirements from a number of sources other than water, as well as from the food we eat. In climates such as Australia, we should drink approximately 2 litres (8 to 12 glasses) of fluid every day to avoid dehydration.

Things you should know about Sugar

What is sugar?

Sugar is a type of carbohydrate made by plants. Plants contain varying amounts of different sugars e.g. glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Sugar is found naturally in fresh and dried fruit, vegetables, fruit juice, milk and honey. Sugars are also added to many processed foods, to make food taste sweet, or to act as a natural preservative. We should aim to eat no more than 90g (women) or 120g (men) of total sugars daily.

Sugar and health

People all around the world eat sugar as part of a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet. The sugars found naturally in whole fruit are less likely to cause tooth decay because the sugars are contained within the structure of the fruit. Foods which contain lots of added sugars - such as varieties of so called 'healthy' yoghurts contain calories, but often have few other nutrients, so we should try to eat these types of foods only occasionally.

Natural Sugar is best!

Fruit and vegetables contain natural sugar with the nutritional benefits of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. Where appropriate we use Agave Nectar - a natural sweetener which is preffered by health concious consumers, doctors and natural food cooks alike.

Not too much Salt?

What is salt?

Salt is a mineral which is made up of sodium and chloride. In food it helps to enhance flavour and acts as a preservative. In our bodies it helps to regulate and control normal body functions.

Where does salt come from?

Salt occurs naturally in sea-water. A deposit is left when an area of sea-water becomes enclosed, and the sun causes the water to evaporate. Over many millions of years, other sediments have been deposited above the salt, leaving the beds of rock salt, or halite below the surface.

Salt in the body

We have salt in every cell of our bodies. It plays a crucial role in keeping our bodies functioning properly, especially by maintaining the balance of our fluids, which carry oxygen and nutrients around our bodies. The two elements of salt - sodium and chloride - each play a variety of crucial roles in our bodies. A healthy body processes just the amount of salt it needs and the kidneys dispose of any excess.

How much salt should I consume?

A small amount of salt is crucial for controlling the balance of water in the body and keeping our muscles and nerves working properly, however it is important to not consume too much. Too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Government guidelines state that we should consume a maximum of 5g per day.

The importance of Fibre in your diet.

Diatary fibre is found in fruit, vegetables, cereals, beans, lentils, nuts and many other foods of plant origin. Fibre keeps the digestive system healthy. Fibre helps maintain your weight by keeping you satisfied on less food to stay full for longer thereby reducing the amount of food you eat. Most people don't have enough fibre in their diet. Diets high in fibre can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and the risk of colon cancer. The Heart Foundation says that you should have at least 30g of fiber daily. Our Health Smoothies - will help you achieve this daily.

Fruit & Veg are good for you!

They say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but many of us still don't eat them. Combining Fruit in Juices, Smoothies and Yoghurts can make them seem irresistible! With out a doubt Gram for Gram, fruits are among the healthiest foods a person can consume, offering numerous benefits (from antioxidants to vitamin C to potassium to fiber) in huge quantities that other foods don't come close to.

A little Fat?

What is fat?

Fat is an essential nutrient and the three most important types are:

  • Saturated fat
  • Polyunsaturated fat
  • Monounsaturated fat
  • What's the difference between saturated and unsaturated fat?

    The difference is down to their chemical composition. Fats are classified by their "saturation" - i.e. the amount of hydrogen atoms attached to the molecules of fat. Saturated fats are completely "saturated", i.e. each fat molecule is covered in hydrogen atoms. This type of fat is typically found in meat, meat products, dairy products, and coconut oil. A completely saturated fat would be very solid and have the consistency of hard wax.

    Why do we need fat?

    Fat has many important functions. It is a concentrated source of energy - 1g provides 9 calories, more than double that provided by either carbohydrate or protein. It acts as a carrier for fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, and plays a vital role in maintaining healthy skin and hair, maintaining body temperature, and promoting healthy cell function. Fats are also sources of essential fatty acids, such as Omega 3, which is an important dietary requirement.

    Unsaturated fats

    Both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are classified as unsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats, such as fish oils, are beneficial to health by lowering blood cholesterol levels, thus preventing the risk of heart disease. They also provide the body with linoleic acid, a fatty acid that helps us absorb fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. Some nutritional experts believe that monounsaturated fat, such as olive oil, have health benefits.

    How much fat should we eat?

    Approximately 30% of your daily calories should come from fat. Saturated fat should account for no more than 10% of total calories.

    Importance of Carbohydrates

    What are carbohydrates?

    Carbohydrates come in two forms:
    Simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.

  • Simple carbohydrates are also known as simple sugars. They are found in refined sugars, such as honey, fruit juices, confectionery, table sugar, and milk.
  • Complex carbohydrates are also known as starches. Starches include grain products such as bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, and wholegrain cereals. Both types of carbohydrate can be part of a healthy diet.
  • Carbohydrate as a nutrient

    Carbohydrates are efficiently converted to glucose, making them the most common source of energy found in food. They provide energy for daily activities as well as fuel for sport and exercise. Your brain, nervous system and heart need a constant supply of carbohydrate in order to function properly. If the diet is low in carbohydrate, a greater percentage of dietary protein is used to provide glucose, which means less is available for the growth and repair of body tissues. At least half the energy in our diets should come from carbohydrate, mostly from complex carbohydrates.

    How the body uses carbohydrates

    When you eat carbohydrates, the body breaks them down into simple sugars. These sugars are absorbed into the bloodstream. As the sugar rises in your body, the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin is needed to move sugar from the blood into the cells, where the sugar can be used as a source of energy.

    What foods contain carbohydrate?

    Foods high in carbohydrates include breads, pastas, beans, potatoes, bran, rice and cereals.

    Must have Protein

    What is protein?

    Protein comes from food and drink that we consume. When we eat foods that contain protein, the protein is broken down into basic units, called amino acids. These amino acids are then reused to make the protein your body needs to maintain muscles, bones, blood and body organs. There are 22 amino acids that are very important to human health. Our bodies can make 13 of them, but the remaining 9 must come from the foods we eat - these are called essential amino acids.

    Why do we need protein?

    Protein is needed for growth and repair of the body. It builds up, maintains, and replaces the tissues in your body. Muscles, organs and immune systems are made up mostly of protein. Protein can also provide energy.

    What foods provide protein?

    Dietary sources of protein include meats, eggs, nuts, grain, legumes and dairy products such as milk and cheese. Protein from animal sources, such as meat and milk is called complete, because it contains all nine of the essential amino acids. Most vegetable protein is considered incomplete because it lacks one or more of the essential amino acids. You don't have to eat all the essential amino acids in every meal though - as long as you have a variety of protein sources throughout the day, your body will use what is needs from each meal.

    What happens if I have too much protein?

    Excess protein is broken down in the body and converted into sugars or fatty acids. The liver removes nitrogen from the amino acids, so that they can be burned as fuel (energy), and the nitrogen is incorporated into urea, the substance that is excreted by the kidneys.

    Calories

    What are calories?

    Calories (kcal) are the basic units used to measure the energy values of foods. We get calories from carbohydrates, fat and protein. Eating too many calories too often can be unhealthy because when you cannot use all the energy stored in the food you eat, it is eventually stored as fat in your body. However, eating fewer calories than your body needs to function effectively can also be harmful to health.

    Where does energy come from?

    Energy comes from the sun and is called solar energy. Living plants are able to convert solar energy to chemical energy by a process called photosynthesis. The chemical energy is used to make other substances such as carbohydrate, fat and protein. Humans (and animals) cannot use solar energy directly but can use energy contained in food (either plants or other animals). Our bodies use the carbohydrate, protein and fat to produce energy, carbon dioxide and water.

    Why do we need calories?

    Our bodies need calories to function properly - i.e. to stay alive, grow, keep warm and be active. Children also need calories from a variety of foods to grow and develop.

    Do calories make us fat?

    Calories will only make you fat if you eat more than your body needs. Leftover calories that the body does not require will convert to fat unless they are burnt off through activity. Women need approximately 2000kcal a day and men need approximately 2500kcal. If you consistently take in more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. Whilst if you consistently take in fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight.

    How to burn calories

    Some calories are burnt just by being alive - such as when we sleep, during general movement, and by eating, digesting, and absorbing food. Calories are also burnt through exercise such as walking or swimming.

    You can speed up the rate of burning calories through high intensity exercise - this can help you burn more calories at the time and for several hours afterwards. You can also work to increase the amount of muscle in your body - muscle burns more calories than other body tissues, even when you are not moving.