Healthy eating makes a healthy body & mind
Study and Learn to Plan a Healthier Diet
This course teaches you how to develop a well balanced diet. Topics covered include how cooking and food processing affect nutrition, recommended nutrient intakes, assessing nutritional needs, planning a balanced diet, timing of meals, needs for special people/groups.
The course comprises 8 lessons, covering:
- Cooking And Its Affect On Nutrition
- Food Processing And Its Affect On Nutrition
- Recommended Daily Intake Of Nutrients
- Planning A Balanced Diet
- Assessing Nutritional Status And Needs
- Timing Of Meals, And Needs For Special Groups
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO DO
- Explain the purposes of cooking
- Compare cooking methods and their effect on foods and their nutrient value
- Understand the food preparation options available
- Research food additives, why they are added to foods and their biochemical effects on the body
- Understand the relationship between freshness and nutrient value
- Discuss different types of food processing and preparation and how they impact nutrient values and digestibility
- Analyse food storage techniques and their effect on nutrient values
- Research nutrition and ingredient labeling on supermarket products
- Explain allergies, the allergic response, hypersensitivity and anaphylaxsis
- Demonstrate five different food processing techniques, by independently preparing samples to a commercial standard.
- Discuss food enrichment
- Research local regulations regarding food handling, storage and preparation
- Understand the differences between fat soluble and water soluble vitamins
- Study the different nutritional requirements for different sub-populations within the community
- Learn about the therapeutic uses of different minerals and vitamins
- Develop menu plans
- Perform nutritional assessments
- Give comprehensive explanations of dietary illnesses; their cause, symptoms and treatment
- Interview friends or family to compare diet, lifestyle and health status
- Develop and administer questionnaires
- Identify dietary inadequacies and provide recommendations for improvements
Building on the knowledge gained in Nutrition I, this course investigates in depth, the way in which we handle our food products and the effects on the nutritional value this has. The effects of storage, preservation, cutting, peeling and cooking on different nutrients is examined. Vitamin and mineral knowledge is enhanced and expanded. The course culminates in the examination of dietary intakes, both of the student and those they interview, determining nutrient deficiencies and excesses and relating them to physical symptomology.
FOOD PREPARATION AND COOKING TIPS
Preparation of Vegetables
Most vegetables are peeled or trimmed before cooking to remove the tough skin or outer leaves. However, the bulk of nutrients, tend to lie in the skin or close to the skin surface of most vegetables. Overzealous trimming can mean a huge reduction in a vegetable's nutrient value. Protein content may be reduced by around 10%, and even larger loss of fibre can also occur. Vitamin C and folate losses can be up to 25%. Small amounts of trace minerals are also lost. When vegetables are then boiled, nutrient loss can be very high, not only for the very fragile vitamin C (up to 90% can be lost) but also calcium, fibre, folate (up to 50% loss) as well as trace minerals (10-20% losses for some). In tomatoes, peeling and then boiling can result in complete loss of folate and vitamin C.
Losing nutrients through cooking
Some vitamins dissolve (solubilise) in water, so you lose your vitamins to the cooking water if you prefer to boil your vegetables. Alternative cooking methods such as grilling, roasting, steaming, stir-frying or microwaving generally preserve a greater amount of vitamins and other nutrients. Keeping the temperature of the food below 100C will help in retaining B group vitamins.
The Benefits of Cooking Food
It would be inaccurate to say that cooking food always lessens the nutrient value. Cooking can be advantageous in many ways, including:
- Making the food tastier.
- Breaking down parts of vegetables that would otherwise be indigestible.
- Destroying bacteria or other harmful micro-organisms.
- Making phytochemicals more available; for instance, phytochemicals are more available in cooked tomatoes than in raw tomatoes.
- Breaking down toxins that would otherwise make a food toxic
- Removing environmental pollutants
Preserving the Nutrient Value of Foods
Some suggestions to retain the maximum nutrition in the foods you cook include:
- Store foods properly, such as keeping cold foods cold and sealing foods in airtight containers.
- Keep vegetables in the crisper section of the refrigerator.
- Try washing or scrubbing vegetables rather than peeling them.
- Use the outer leaves of vegetables like cabbage or lettuce unless they are wilted or unpalatable.
- Microwave, steam, roast or grill vegetables rather than boiling them.
- If you boil your vegetables, save the nutrient-laden water for soup stock.
- Use fresh ingredients whenever possible.
- Cook foods quickly.
BE CAREFUL OF NUTRIENT INBALANCES
Vitamins and minerals are needed at certain levels in the body. Too much is just as bad as too little; so be careful of simply taking supplements. Everyone has different needs and you can have "too much of a good thing!"
All of the water soluble vitamins are readily excreted from the body in the urine, except vitamins B6 and B12. So, unlike the fat soluble vitamins, there is little to no store of the water soluble vitamins. This makes regular daily intake very important and is also the reason why hypervitaminosis is rare with the water soluble vitamins, but hypovitaminosis is common. It is also harder to get a good intake of the water soluble vitamins as they readily leech out of foods and into cooking liquids, and they are generally more fragile (heat labile, degraded in light/air) than fat soluble vitamins.
VITAMINS AND THE LIVER
The liver stores vitamins in the body. Damage to the liver therefore compromises the body’s ability to maintain fat soluble vitamin, B6 and B12 stores. Conversely, excess consumption of vitamins or minerals can result in toxic build up in the liver which compromises liver function and can cause physical damage to the liver cells and tissue. This then further compromises the ability of the body to store and manage nutrients.
Heavy consumption of alcohol taxes the liver. This is because the liver is the organ that metabolises all the alcohol we consume. Damage to the liver due to alcoholism can impair the storage ability for fat soluble vitamins. It can also deplete vitamin B, necessitating higher intake. Vitamin C intake should also be increased because of the antioxidant function it has. Because alcohol impairs fat absorption, vitamins A, D, E and K are not efficiently absorbed from foods ingested while drinking.
VITAMINS AND THE BOWEL
Vitamins B2, B12 and K can all be produced in small quantities by the bacteria that colonise the human bowel. People who have any sort of bowel condition, particularly those that deplete bacterial populations (chronic antibiotic treatment has this effect) will need to increase their intake of B2, B12 and vitamin K to compensate.
VITAMINS, CANCER AND OTHER CHRONIC DISEASES
There is a lot of research and hype within the health industry about the role of vitamins in cancer and their use to prevent or treat cancer. While there are some findings of interest, in general, the best course of action is simply to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
In so doing, vitamin levels will be optimal, deficiency and toxicity which may link to disease will be avoided and you have the best chance of avoiding, or recovering better from disease. A single vitamin supplement on its own will not cure a cancer, nor prevent a specific type of cancer from occurring. However, adequate intake of vitamins can reduce risk of certain cancers and diseases.
Some evidence exists for the following (by no means conclusive in most cases)
- Excess retinol - Osteoporosis, birth defects, liver anomalies
- Excess beta carotene - Worsening of lung cancers, may increase risk of cancer in smokers
- Deficient Vitamin D - Well established that this results in Rickett’s in children, osteomalacia. Possibly increases risk of osteoporosis
- High Vitamin D - Reduced risk of cancer, particularly colon
- High Vitamin E - Appears to be cardio-protective, may reduce risk of some cancers (prostate, colon, breast) due to antioxidant action
- Deficient Vitamin B6 - May increase risk of neurologic conditions including Parkinson’s disease
- High Vitamin B6 - May be cardio-protective
- High Vitamin B12 - May be cardio-protective
- High Vitamin C - May reduce risk of some cancers, and stroke. May also be cardio-protective. Most effects attributed to its antioxidant function.