Healthy eating made easy: part 7, Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives (mostly reduced fat)
I’m starting to sound like a broken record! Most Australians are only getting about half the recommended serves of dairy each day. Eating or drinking reduced or low fat milk, cheese and yoghurt is recommended for most people over 2 years old. If you prefer to follow a dairy free diet or have an intolerance to lactose (the sugar found naturally in dairy products) you should aim to include some of the alternative products made from soy, nuts or grains (soy milk, almond milk, rice milk etc.). Choose varieties that have at least 100mg of calcium per 100ml. Avoiding dairy products or their alternatives can have a negative impact on your long term health. Some people avoid milk products because they believe it increases mucus, but there is no scientific evidence that connects milk products to mucus production. If you believe you have an allergy or intolerance to milk products, you should see your doctor to be diagnosed.
The chart below shows that as a food group, dairy is a great source of calcium. Sardines and other fish with edible bones are also a great source of calcium. Vitamin D, calcium and regular load bearing exercises work together to help maintain good bone health. There is more to dairy than just calcium though! Dairy also contains a number of other beneficial nutrients, such as; protein, iodine, vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and zinc.
If you are trying to put on some lean muscle, milk is for you. No need to spend all your money on expensive protein supplements. Milk contains all the essential amino acids and is a great source of protein.
Some ways to incorporate dairy into your day:
A low fat latte
A Small tub of yoghurt
A Glass of milk
A Slice of cheese in a sandwich
Milk on cereal for breakfast
How many serves of milk do I need each day?
Women 19 to 50yrs = 2 ½ serves
Women 51yrs plus = 4 serves
Pregnant or Lactating women = 2 ½ serves
Men 19 to 70yrs = 2 ½ serves
Men 70yrs plus = 3 ½ serves
Infants 1 to 3yrs = 1 to 1 ½ serves
Girls 4 to 8yrs = 1 ½ serves
Girls 9 to 11yrs = 3 serves
Girls 12 to 18yrs = 3 ½ serves
Boys 4 to 8yrs = 2 serves
Boys 9 to 11yrs = 2 ½ serves
Boys 12 to 18yrs = 3 ½ serves
What is a serve of Dairy?
Anyone unable to drink or eat milk products due to allergy or malabsorption should talk to their doctor or dietitian about other ways of getting their required calcium intake.
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I hope you're beginning to see the trend. In general, the idea that one particular food can be categorised as a superfood isn’t true. We should focus on eating a variety of the least processed foods that we can. When you compare chia seeds with pumpkin seeds you can see that pumpkin seeds are higher in nearly all nutrients. Chia seeds are definitely much higher in calcium, but dairy products are considered the best choice for calcium (however, that’s another story). As per usual I’m not picking on chia seeds, I just want you to see that the whole super food thing is mainly a marketing hype! A diet that contains variety is more important than any single food on its own.
Enjoy your Christmas and new year. In the big picture it's what you do most of the time that makes the difference, so don't worry if you don't get it quite right over the next few days.
Have a great Christmas everyone!!
Healthy eating made easy: Part 6, Lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs. Tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans.
When most people think of this food group, they generally think of red meat, chicken and fish. In fact, most people connect this group entirely to protein. When you hear people talk about how a particular meal was made up, it’s not uncommon to hear things like “I had broccoli, sweet potato and pumpkin and then for my protein I had steak”. This group is usually looked at as the “protein group”. All the foods in this group definitely contain protein, but they contain lot of other essential nutrients as well. Generally, in Australia we are getting more protein than we need, it’s most of the other nutrients that we need to be looking at, like iodine, iron, zinc, b12 and essential fatty acids.
The iron and zinc from animal products are more easily absorbed than those from plant based foods. Nuts, seeds and legumes contain these nutrients as well, however they not as easily absorbed by us due to a number of factors. Having foods that contain vitamin C (most fruits) with the less bioavailable form of iron from plant based foods will help with absorption.
For infants, adolescent girls, pregnant women, menstruating women and endurance athletes, iron is especially important.
Surprisingly, most Australians are getting enough protein each day and in Australia, most adult men are eating too much red meat. In contrast to this, a lot of children and some women aren’t eating enough protein. Like the other food groups, we should be thinking more about variety. Limiting the number of times that you eat red meat to twice a week is recommended. There is a lot of evidence emerging about why this is, but that’s another topic altogether, and it deserves more time than I have to give to it today. I’ll definitely follow up on this subject in the New Year.
Legumes have been added to this group as well as the vegetable group because they contain many of the nutrients found in lean meat, poultry, fish and eggs. They are essential for people following vegetarian or vegan diets to get enough nutrients without eating animal based foods.
How many serves should you have each day from this food group?
Women 19 to 50 yrs. 2 ½ serves per day
Women 51+ 2 serves per day
Pregnant women 3 ½ serves per day
Lactating women 2 ½ serves per day
Men 19 to 50 yrs. 3 serves per day
Men 51+ 2 ½ serves per day
Toddlers (1 to 2 yrs.) 1 serve per day
Girls 2 to 3 yrs. 1 serve per day
Girls 4 to 8 yrs. 1 ½ serves per day
Girls 9 to 18 yrs. 2 ½ serves per day
Boys 2 to 3 yrs. 1 serve per day
Boys 4 to 8 yrs. 1 ½ serves per day
Boys 9 to 18 yrs. 2 ½ serves per day
How much is a serve?
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In this myth buster I have compared dried goji berries with a few other dried fruits, including dried cherries, sultanas, dried figs and dried currents. I think If you were going to classify one as being better than the others based on its nutrient profile, it would be the dried cherries. That doesn’t mean you need to be adding dried cherries to your diet, you’ll be perfectly fine without them. The point I’m trying to make with my “super food myth busters” isn’t to run any one particular food down, or to try to find foods that beat the super foods, it’s to show how much a bit of clever marketing can influence perception.
A super diet is far more important than any single food, and a super diet should be made up of a wide variety of fresh produce. If you’ve been reading my blog series “healthy eating made easy” you’ll soon have all the tools you need to build your own super diet from foods you like to eat. That could definitely contain goji berries if they are something you enjoy eating. Just remember not to overdo it on the goji’s, or any of the other dried fruits for that matter. They are all quite high in kJs. The fresh option for fruit is always the better way to go. Kilojoules per volume of food is much lower in fresh fruit because of their high water content.
Running is a great way to use some extra kilojoules, which might come in handy over the Christmas period!! It’s also a great way to improve your overall health and fitness. Running is one of the top energy consuming activities available to you. Here are a couple of examples of the amount of kJs burned during a 10km run. A 60kg person will burn approximately 2715kj (649 calories) and an 80kg person will burn around 3623kJs (866 calories). By adding a couple of runs to your week you can burn off a lot of excess energy (kJs). Combining this with 2 or 3 gym sessions each week will have a big impact on your general health. It can also help to control your body weight; however, most people will still need to control the number of kJs they consume each day. If you are new to running, the extra activity can make you a bit hungry, so if your goal is to lose a few kgs just be careful not to put those kJs straight back in by over eating later in the day.
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The Deadlift is a great exercise for developing strength, not only in all the big driver muscles of the lower body, but also the shoulders, arms and upper back. It's also one of the best core strengthening exercise you can do. Deadlifts are a really functional exercise, every time you pick something up off the floor you are pretty much doing a Deadlift, so it makes sense that you should learn how to do Deadlifts correctly.
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As with grains and vegetables, most Australians only eat about half the recommended number of serves of fruit that they should each day! We also tend to drink too much fruit juice! Whole fruit is always a better option than fruit juice. Juices are usually low in fibre and can be quite high in kJ’s. A glass of freshly squeezes orange juice is much higher in kJ’s than eating a single orange. An orange is about 258kJ where as a 250ml glass of orange juice is about 466kJ which is getting close to double the Kj’s. The reason juice is higher is because it takes more than one piece of fruit to make a glass of juice. There are still plenty of nutrients in fresh juice, but because it usually lacks fibre, it tends not to fill you up like a piece of fruit and adds a lot of kJ’s to your day.
As with all other fresh produce, we’re very spoilt for choice in Australia. It’s a good idea to eat what’s in season. It’s not only is it fresher eating fruit that are in season, it also adds to the variety of nutrients you consume and like vegetables eating a variety of different coloured fruit means you’ll be getting a good mix of nutrients.
There is increasingly more evidence appearing that suggests the nutrients in whole fruits are more effective at reducing your risk of cancer than specific vitamin and mineral supplements. Evidence also suggests that some risk factors for cancer can be avoided by eating the suggested serves of fruit, vegetables and legumes during childhood and early adult life.
Like vegetables, fruits are natures perfect vitamin pills! For most people consuming the suggested serves of the 5 food groups each day, will more than meet your nutrient needs.
It’s ok to eat frozen or canned fruits for convenience, but for canned fruit its best to choose fruit canned in juice with no added sugars or syrups.
How many serves of fruit should you have each day?
Adult men and women of all ages should aim for 2 serves of fruit each day, that includes pregnant and lactating women.
Toddlers should have ½ a serve of fruit each day.
2 to 3-year-old girls and boys should have 1 serve of fruit each day.
4 to 8-year-old girls and boys should have 1 ½ serves of fruit each day.
9 to 18-year-old girls and boys should be aiming to have 2 serves of fruit each day.
What is a serves of fruit?
Its ok to occasionally have juice or dried fruit, but you have to remember it’s very easy to over consume these which will add a lot of extra kJ’s to your day. They have also both been connected to tooth decay. So make sure you stick to the serving sizes below and only have them very occasionally.
Using fruit as a mid-morning and mid afternoon snack is an easy way to make sure you cover your serves of fruit each day.
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Quinoa and Brown Rice are both great foods
This isn't an anti-superfood story, it's just a comparison between two foods that can be substituted for each other in a lot of recipes or meals. They’re both great foods and including them both in your diet is a great idea! If quinoa is out of your budget though, don’t stress too much, brown rice will do just fine. Quinoa is slightly higher in a few nutrients, but there’s not a significant difference. The main thing to remember is that a varied diet that gives you the recommended serves of each of the food groups is much more important than a single food! It’s a super diet you should be aiming for, don’t get to caught up on individual so called “super foods”.
Just a quick follow up on my post on running for beginners from a couple of weeks back. I just have two things I want to mention.
Firstly, for those of you who are over 35 years old, and haven't been involved in any running since you were a teenager, it’s a good idea to get yourself checked over by your GP before you get started. Just to be on the safe side!
Secondly, make sure you do some stretching after you run, while you’re still warm! The calf’s especially can get pretty tight from running, but stretching quads, hamstrings, glutes and hip flexors will help keep everything moving how it should. It won’t stop you getting a bit sore from those first few runs, but it will help maintain the range of movement in all the joints involved with running. The photos below show the 6 stretches that I consider must does for running.
Have fun running!!
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