Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nutrition 101

If you buy a food supplement that contains an enzyme (such as super-oxide-dismutase, SOD) designed to work in your blood or in your cells, you are wasting money. Your digestive enzymes will split up this enzyme and reduce it to amino acids. The body will use these amino acids according to its own priorities, not necessarily those that you may have had in mind. Remember; dietary protein is digested by enzymes in your intestine to amino acids, amino acids are reconstructed by cellular enzymes to body protein.

Amino acids, if not used for protein synthesis or other purposes, lose their nitrogen (amino group) and are metabolized for energy. The body get rid of ammonia, which contains the nitrogen (from amino groups), by converting it to urea in the liver. The blood carries the urea to the kidney, where it is excreted in the urine. Some amino acids are also used for synthesis of hormones or other chemical compounds. Tryptophan can serve as a precursor for serotonin, a neurotransmitter. Tryptophan can also be converted to a vitamin, niacin. Certain amino acids are also converted to glucose, if the body does not receive sufficient carbohydrates. Starving or fasting people make their glucose this way.

Essential amino acids
We cannot make essential amino acids in sufficient quantities for optimal nutrition in our own body. We therefore need to get them from food. Eight amino acids are essential for adults; nine are essential for children. The remaining amino acids are just as important for protein synthesis, but our body can synthesis them from the carbon skeletons of fats, carbohydrates, other amino acids, and the nitrogen from amino acids already present.

Complete protein is a colloquial term for proteins of high nutritional quality. High quality proteins are dietary proteins that provide all the essential amino acids in the right proportions. Animal proteins usually resemble our own proteins more than plant proteins, and therefore are usually of high quality. Many plant proteins are of lower quality. These differences are not surprising because plants have different needs and properties than animals and, therefore, need different types of protein.

Plant seed proteins, such as grains, rice and corn, are usually low in one or two essential amino acids. Most animal proteins, gelatin is an exception, contain all the essential amino acids in the proper proportions.
Egg protein is one of the highest quality proteins. Other protein sources are therefore compared to egg protein regarding their nutritional value. The relative quality of protein, or its usefulness for the human body is called the “biological value.” A high quality protein would have a high biological value.

Proteins with the required proportions of essential and non-essential amino acids have a high biological value, and can be used for protein synthesis with little waste.We can get good quality protein by combining different plant proteins. This is especially important for vegetarians. For example, one plant protein may be low in one amino acid, while another plant protein may be high in that amino acid. If these two plant proteins are combined and eaten together, they complement each other, delivering all essential amino acids in sufficient amounts.
Some examples:
Rice is low in lysine , an essential amino acid. Beans are low in methionine, another essential amino acid. Since both contain reasonably balanced proportions of the other essential amino acids, rice and beans complement each other to make better quality protein. Rice and beans are staple foods of many countries and of vegetarians.
Good nutrition is essential for a heathy life.  For more helpful, healthy hints go to:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cholesterol Is A Killer-Bad or Good

Animal foods contain cholesterol as a naturally occurring substance; you will find some cholesterol in everything from beef, pork, lamb, veal, chicken, and fish to dairy products and eggs. A prudent diet contains no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day.
Cholesterol is a lipit, or insoluble fatty substance, that your body manufactures to build the outer membrane of each of your cells as well as certain hormones. Because it doesn't mix water, cholesterol cannot travel alone. To gain passage through the bloodstream, cholesterol combines into little packages with high-density lipoproteins, (HDL, or so-called good cholesterol), low-density lipoproteins (LDL, or bad cholesterol), or very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL).
Research has provided much evidence about the association between diet, cholesterol, and heart disease. A very high level of blood cholesterol increases the risk of coronary artery disease in the group most studied--men between the ages of 25 and 60. The higher the cholesterol, the greater the risk. A very low level of cholesterol doesn't carry any risk by itself.
The amount and the kind of cholesterol in your blood are a reflection of the fats you eat. But, as always, there are exceptions to the rule. Some people can feast on high-fat food and still have acceptable cholesterol levels, while others trim their fat intake to the bare minimum without achieving any significant decrease in blood cholesterol. Many premenopausal women with elevations in their cholesterol levels still remain relatively safe because their HDL (good cholesterol) levels are at work protecting their arteries.
New ways of checking levels on in the works now. Don't let that stop you from checking you levels now. Where you stand can be realized by having blood work done
While we don't have all the answers, it's best to take a prudent course: be familiar with the cholesterol and saturated-fat content of foods and apply this knowledge to your food choices.
Fats are a group of various highly concentrated substances that don't mix with water.  Dietary fats
are carriers for fat-soluble vitamins. If there were no fat in the diet, it could eventually lead to a vitamin deficiency. Some fats are crucial for maintaining the structure of each cell in your body and producing hormones. While fats are essential to good nutrition, they are beneficial only when you consume certain types in limited amounts.
Several fats fall into a group of oily substances, some of which bear such familiar names as cholesterol, saturated and unsaturated fat, and triglycerides. There are three kinds of dietary fat, all of which affect your health differently:
Saturated Fat: raises your cholesterol level. Butter, lard, and meat drippings contain mostly saturated fats. Most of these saturated fats, which remain solid at room temperature,and comes from animal sources. The only exceptions are such tropical plant oils as coconut oil and palm kernel oil, which are liquid at room temperature.
Monounsaturated fat: gets it name from its molecular structure. It contains two fewer hydrogen atoms than saturated fat and, by virtue of being one step removed from saturated status; monounsaturated fat merits a place on the recommended list. Olive oil and canola oil are excellent sources.
Polyunsaturated fat: has even less hydrogen than monounsaturated fat and helps lower cholesterol in the bloodstream. Polyunsaturated fat remains liquid at room temperature. Good sources include safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, and soybean oil.
There are two types of polyunsaturated fats: omega-6 oils, which is common in safflower, sunflower, corn, and soybean oil and omega-3 oils, is found in cold water sea fish, such as mackerel and salmon.
While we don't have all the answers, it's best to take a prudent course: be familiar with the cholesterol and saturated-fat content of foods and apply this knowledge to your food choices.