[PDF Notes] Complete information on Antioxidants & Free Radicals

Antioxidants help to protect the body from damage by free radicals. Free radicals are produced in the body because of exercise, pollution, poor diet and smoking. They can attack the blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke or cancer. The major antioxidants include vitamins A (beta carotene) C, E, selenium, manganese, zinc, lycopene, lutein and flavonoids and can be found in the following:

Some antioxidant vitamins (particularly Vitamin C), are destroyed by heat, light and air and leach into cooking water. To look after the vitamins and minerals in your food, try using alternative cooking methods such as steaming, quick stir frying or microwave instead of boiling

Keep a store of frozen fruits and vegetables for when you can’t find time to buy fresh. They are just as good as fresh in many ways as they are picked and frozen on the same day and most of the nutritional value is maintained. Tinned fruit and vegetables generally have a lower vitamin and mineral content as a result of processing. Check the salt content of tinned foods and choose those that are vacuum- packed with no salt added

Eat raw fruit and vegetables as snacks or in salads. Fruit makes a great, high carbohydrate, low fat, nutrient dense snack. Vegetables can add bulk to meals which is likely to increase feelings of fullness and help reduce snacking on high fat food between meals

Scientific studies into the effects of vitamins and minerals on the risk of heart disease and cancer continue. Most studies have shown a decreased risk of these diseases in people who have higher intakes of fruit and vegetables

Eat 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables every day. A portion is equal to: one apple/banana/nectarine/peach/pear, two smaller fruits, e.g. kiwi/plums, a large slice of melon/pineapple, a small glass of fruit juice, 2-3 tablespoons of cooked vegetables or a dessert bowl of salad

It is currently not known how much of particular vitamins and minerals are needed to reduce the risk of disease, so mega-dosing on supplements of vitamins and minerals is not justified. Following a healthy diet with a variety of foods is the safest way to ensure a good balance

Supplements can lead to rebound deficiency (eg vitamin C), vitamin A is toxic in large doses and taking too much of a particular vitamin or mineral can upset the balance of other vitamins and minerals within the body

This fact sheet provides you with basic information about healthy eating. It is not a substitute for medical or dietetic advice and you should contact your GP for further information

Food & diet

There are wealth of popular food diets available today so how do you choose the right one for you? Do you need to follow any specific popular diet at all? Surely it is all about eating a wide range of foods in the right balance and getting active? Read on to find out more!

Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD)

Excessive lowering of total daily calorie intake. This will cause drastic initial weight loss, which comes mainly come from loss of glycogen and water. Lean tissue can be lost in the long term and this is likely to affect metabolic rate and hinder subsequent successful weight control. Prolonged periods on this diet may result in nutritional deficiencies. Many people who follow these diets end up putting the weight back on

Calorie Counting

Based on counting the number of calories eaten throughout the day. It is often an effective way to lose weight but does not take into account how much fat, protein and carbohydrate is eaten or whether it is nutritionally adequate. It can be very time consuming to calculate and problems can arise when eating out!

Food Combining

This diet is based on not mixing different foods together at the same meal, i.e. carbohydrate and protein. The diet encourages you to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Weight losses are more likely to be based on food restriction rather than anything to do with the splitting of foods. This diet often advises against intake of dairy products and or beans and pulses (they just happen to be a good source of both protein and carbohydrate). People on this type of diet are likely to have lower intakes of calcium, vitamin D and Vitamin B12. Difficult to follow for active people or when eating out

Slimming Clubs

There are various approaches. Some clubs use a point system, others split foods into those that can be eaten on certain days. Most members are given a plan to follow and are weighed weekly. For some people the group support they offer is essential and it gives them the sense of 1 am not alone’, while others may find it less inviting. The weekly sessions can work out to be quite expensive over a period of time

Meal Replacement Diet

This involves the substitution of one of more meals during the day with either a calorie controlled shake, soup or cereal bar. The diet generally has a fixed number of calories a day that the dieter must follow. This diet does not teach you how to eat healthily and can be very monotonous. It does not particularly help people adopt a new approach and relapse is quite high

The Atkins Diet

Probably the diet of the millennium so far! Advocated by famous stars such as Jennifer Aniston and Julia Roberts it is based on a high protein low carbohydrate intake. Weight loss is reflective of the restriction in calories rather than the elimination of essential food groups. The diet is low in fruit and vegetables and under 1OOg carbohydrate daily. Having insufficient carbohydrate in your diet initiates the body to start burning off fatty acids. Weakness, nausea, increased headaches, dizziness and constipation may result.

If the diet is followed for a prolonged period of time, ketones are released into the bloodstream, which causes the classic ‘alcoholic breath’. High protein diets are usually high in saturated fat, which is linked to the lifestyle diseases obesity and heart disease

This fact sheet provides you’ with basic information about healthy eating. It is not a substitute for medical or dietetic advice and you should contact your GP for further information

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