3 Nutritional Reasons to Eat Whelks

Yeah, I’m gonna just go ahead and be totally honest here. I have never eaten a whelk and most likely never will. Heck, it was only recently that I even discovered what a whelk is. I’m not real big on eating food that comes from an environment in which the entire life span of the creature is spent inside their own toilet. But if you are a big eater of mollusks—which is what a whelk is if you were not aware—then you are doing yourself a big solid. And if you are not the strictest vegetarian in the world and will occasionally dip into the ocean for food, you should know that you can get past your kind’s protein deficiency quite easily by downing some whelks.

Protein

If you are not getting enough protein in your diet, you are depriving each and every cell in your body of a vital component. Vegetarians and others who eschew red meat are especially prone to protein deficiency. Whether you are vegetarian or not, you can make sure you get enough protein in your diet the day you eat whelks. Just three ounces of this mollusk will supply you with 81% of the protein you need in a day. Protein’s comprehensive role in providing your body with a qualify life ranges from making sure your hair has a nice sheen to keeping your fingernails from becoming brittle. Protein can also help fight against anemia and other disorders related to your blood not being as healthy as it could be.

Vitamin B12

Whelks clearly supply you with a truly breathtaking amount of protein, but that is nothing compared to how much vitamin B12 three little ounces of whelk can give you. Try this one for size: you can get 257% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin B12 just by eating that amount of whelk. If you are a big time love of mollusks you are probably wondering what in the heck you’ve been taking those death-in-your-mouth B12 supplements for when you could be getting more than you even need from sitting down to a seafood dinner. What good is vitamin B12? Heme is an element that your body must consistently produce in order for your red blood cells to perform at their highest level of efficiency. Vitamin B12 is essential to making heme, therefore eating whelk could be your ticket all the benefits that come with blood circulation working at peak efficiency.

Selenium

Trapped somewhere in the middle between the high concentration of protein and the ridiculous levels of vitamin B12 is the amount of selenium available for you in three ounces of whelk. That figure is at 109% so you get just a little more than selenium than you may need in a day just from a lunch of mollusks. And that ain’t not good. In fact, it is very good. Because selenium is absolutely essential to getting the most out of your immune system, it only makes sense to eat foods that provide healthy amounts. Selenium deficiencies are rare in America because the fertile soil here contains enough selenium, but if you are traveling to other countries in which selenium is not so abundant or if you diet consists of food grown in countries where selenium content in the soil is less robust, then you should try to fit in foods like whelk that contain high amounts of selenium.

3 Nutritional Reasons to Eat Plums

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Red, juicy plums that have reached the perfect state of ripeness may well be the single most delicious fruit on the planet. For that matter, a perfect plum may indeed be the most delectable food that has ever existed in the history of mankind. Unfortunately, a plum that has not achieved perfection can be one of the most disappointing eating experiences of your life. Even a bad plum is still a great choice to add to your diet, however, and here are three reasons why.

Fiber

As you may be aware, when plums shrink down they become prunes. Prunes are a terrifically effective laxative and can keep you regular when the plumbing has stopped up. Of course, you younger folk may not realize that plums and prunes are the exact same fruit. Today’s prunes are often sold as “dried plums” in order to remove the stench of unpleasant association with senior citizens that the exact same product has when packaged as prunes. You don’t need to wait for pruning to take place to fix your habit of constipation. Keep cool, hip and forever young by eating just average sized plum before pruning occurs and you can get around 5% of your RDA of fiber. In fact, for their size, you would be hard pressed to find more soluble fiber packed into a more delicious food item than a plum.

Potassium

Don’t like bananas, but want to enjoy the pleasures of potassium? That very same small plum that provides 5% of your RDA of fiber can also introduce almost that big a percentage of potassium into your body. Keep a supply of plums within easy reach and the next time you get a muscle cramp in your leg, grab the juicy delectable and the result will not only flavor in your mouth, but relief of the charley horse transforming your muscle into pretzel. If you suffer problems associated with low blood sugar, eating a plum not only provides you with a sugary kick, but the potassium can potentially fend off associated symptoms like headaches and that overall feeling of weakness.

Anthocyanins

That enticing deep shade of reddish purple that makes some plums really stick out from the greens and oranges and yellows surrounding them in the produce section is the result of a pigment known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are proving to have tremendous antioxidant properties which can help fight against the cells known as free radicals that bring cancer down upon the body like the fires of angry gods. In addition to fighting cancer, the anthocyanins that give plums their aesthetic appeal may also serve as guardians against encroaching coronary problems. Adding plums to your diet won’t guarantee you live cancer free or don’t suffer a heart attack, but they will add a delicious new line of defense.

3 Reasons to Add Artichokes to Your Diet

Artichokes are like most other vegetables in that the mere act of cooking them destroys some of the valuable nutrients within. The most common method of cooking artichokes is boiling and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. But if you really want to take advantage of the nutritional goodies that artichokes have to offer, you should consider switching over to a method of steaming. Steaming the artichokes will keep more of the nutrients from wasting away than boiling them and you may even find that the result tastes better.

Folate

Folate is one of those nutrients that is going to get winnowed out of the meal if you boil artichokes rather than steam them. Since one large raw artichoke contains about 30% of the daily recommended amount of folate the average person needs, you should do whatever you can to keep the vitamin packed in there. Pregnant women need more than the average minimum so this is especially good advice for those who are expecting. Doctors recommend pregnant women increase the amount of folate they consume because studies have linked it to a decrease in the potential for neural tube defects in babies. But even those who aren’t pregnant women can get something from the artichoke. Studies have indicated great potential for folate to decreasing the risk of developing macular degeneration as you age. When taken with other members of the family of B-vitamins, folate just may have the power to keep you seeing well as you enter your twilight years.

Cynarin

A unique acid known as cynarin is found in artichokes that can go beyond nutrition to make artichokes worthy of addition to your diet. Cynarin works a little bit of scientific magic on your taste buds so that any food eaten after you have consumed artichokes will taste just a little bit sweeter. The alchemy at work here could have the effect of making other nutritious vegetables you don’t particularly care for taste just sweet enough to refashion your opinion. That’s certainly a possible value of eating artichokes for the cynarin. But wait, there’s more. Cynarin is also a phytochemical with antioxidant properties, meaning that eating artichokes also carries with it the possibility of fending off cancer and lowering levels of bad cholesterol.

Magnesium

That very same large raw artichoke also provides one-quarter of the amount of magnesium you should be getting each day. Magnesium is a mineral that is absolutely vital to the process of heart maintenance. If you don’t get the magnesium you need, you could be facing a future of irregular heartbeats. Besides keeping the rhythm of the heart in motion to the tune of health, magnesium can help fend off unpleasant bouts of constipation as well as possibly play a part in maintaining mental equilibrium. Artichokes could be one small part of your path toward a health heart and a health brain.

3 Reasons to Eat Asparagus

Not to get too down and dirty, but let’s be honest: after you eat asparagus and urinate, the odor is going to be significantly less pleasant than when you urinate without asparagus in your system. But don’t let that stop you from eating asparagus, Jack! The facts are these and they are undeniable. Asparagus may not be the best choice you can make for your nose once you decide to run from liquid through your bladder, but the nutrients that make it into the body and aren’t disposed of as waste product more than make up for that failing.

Glutathione

Among the many benefits that come from eating asparagus is one that you may not hear much about when searching for that particular bit of information. Asparagus contains an enzyme known as glutathione, which is found in deficient quantities among those hospitalized with a variety of serious illnesses. Glutathione is itself an enzyme with extremely robust antioxidant properties. That means that eating asparagus is a delicious way to ensure you are getting a fundamental component of the process that keeps the entirely of your body’s cellular system as healthy and free from invasion of the deadly attack forces that cause such diseases as cancer and AIDS. Eating asparagus won’t keep you out of the hospital, of course, but it does have the potential to keep your cells much healthier than they would otherwise be.

Vitamin K

One half cup of boiled asparagus will provide you with more than half the recommended minimum of vitamin K the average person needs. Vitamin K assists in the process of blood clotting which, under the right circumstances, could actually save your life. Under more typical circumstances, eating asparagus can facilitate a wide variety of health issues you face every day. Vitamin K deficiencies could be culprit behind difficult urinating, pain during a woman’s period, weakening of bones to the point of increasing the risk of fracture and ensuring peak efficiency of blood circulation.

Folate

Fully one-third of the recommended daily allowance of folate that the average person needs can be got by eating just half a cup of asparagus. Pregnant women should get more than the average amount of folate because this nutrient can help prevent neural tube defects in children. But even if you aren’t a pregnant woman, you should get to love asparagus because folate can help prevent anemia and anemia is a major contributor to fatigue and weakness.

3 Nutritional Reasons to Eat Beets

When I think of beets, I automatically go to that episode of “Gilligan’s Island” when the radioactive seeds showed up on the island and everybody grew their favorite vegetable. Mrs. Howell was particularly fond of beets and the sugar content grew exponentially as a result of the radioactivity. The comedy of the scene grew from Lovey Howell racing around like an adult on Ritalin. While eating beets are not going to give you a surge of energy such as that experienced by Mrs. Thurston Howell III, but you can still enjoy some nutritional benefits from the reddish purple vegetable.

Betacyanin

That reddish purple hue that gives beets their distinctive aesthetic quality is the result of betacyanin. This phytochemical has been at the center of studies that indicate it contains great potential for fighting cancer cells. Essentially, this means adding betacyanin to the growing list of antioxidants, which can be viewed as the Marines unit which the body calls into action to defend itself against free radicals attempting to storm the shores of Tripoli known as neurotoxicity. Eating beets is a sweet way to fend off the dangerous effects of eating the rest of the toxins that make up the typical American diet.

Fiber

Beets are an especially fibrous vegetable. Just one little beet two inches in diameter has the potential to provide you with as much at 10% of your recommended daily allowance of fiber. You will find no shortage of information on the value of adding fiber to your diet. In addition to helping your digestive system, eating the fiber in beets may also be of value in reducing the amount of bad cholesterol in the body.

Folate

Pregnant women should particularly consider adding beets to their diet. Those two inches of diameter in the average beet may contain enough folate by itself to account for nearly a quarter of what the average person needs. Pregnant woman are advised to increase this average amount ever since studies indicated that folate may possess the power to reduce neural tube defects. Even those who are do not benefit from consuming folate by cutting down on chances are birth defects can gain from the advantage. Folate can also help defend the body against the onset of coronary disease and various types of cancer. Beets are doubly sweet to those who engage in consumption as they can add sugary flavor to a dinner while stemming off the ravages of age.

Nutritional Needs for Women Over 40

Nutritional needs for women vary over time as well as from individual to individual depending on height, weight and body type. As a woman matures into middle age she will experience different nutritional requirements related to energy, immunity and metabolism. The physiological changes that arrive with aging and the beginning of the onset of menopause are best addressed by ensuring that you get the most from the basic nutrients necessary for dealing with these issues.

Vitamin D has the potential to address more than 100 different types of disease, according to The Ultimate Health Guide for Men and Women. One of those medical conditions that become more important to women over 40 is the loss of bone mass. A decrease in the synthesis of vitamin D combined with a reduction in exposure to sunlight can result in this loss that brings on an increased risk of osteoporosis. The more you age past 40, the more likely you are to need supplemental doses of vitamin D.

Fiber is a very effective food product capable of providing basic nutrients needed by women over age 40. According to the National Institute of Aging, fiber is much more effective when it is consumed as food rather than ingested in supplemental form. Increasing your dietary intake of fiber will help reduce the occurrence of digestive issues, lower cholesterol and reduce blood sugar levels. Be aware that an excess of fiber has the potential to cause bloating, gas and diarrhea.

Once a woman reaches age 40 and beyond she becomes more susceptible to infection and the potential for cancerous cell growth as a result of a decline in immune functions. A number of different nutrients can provide help in dealing with this attack against immunity protection, but one of the most basic is vitamin C. According to a number of different sources, vitamin C occupies the position at the very top of the list of those nutrients that assist in increasing levels of cancer-fighting interferon as well as production of white blood cells that battle infection. Another important benefit of vitamin C for women is that it helps raise your levels of good cholesterol (the HDL kind) while lowering blood pressure.

Cognitive functioning can begin failing as you age and women who hit the 40 mark and beyond need to arm themselves against the potential for declining levels of vitamins B6, B12 and folate. Cognitive difficulties such as loss of memory and impaired brain functions may be related to diminished levels of these nutrients. Nutritional needs for aging women are significantly related to proper levels of various vitamins in the blood in order to offer protection against not just basic memory skills but nonverbal abstract thinking.

The Media and Influence on Body Image

It is hardly controversial to say that society has an unhealthy obsession with images of beauty, good looks and the idea of perfection. If one were to judge our civilization solely by images found in magazines and on television and film, they would labor under the false impression that not only did we all bear a striking physical resemblance to each other, but that we are an inordinately attractive race, like one of those races that Captain Kirk seemed to be running into all the time. More controversial, perhaps, is the subtext beneath the plethora of attractive entertainers. Turn on any television show, flip through any magazine, go to any movie and if you do happen to come across someone who doesn’t fit into the narrow mold of what is considered good looking, chances are that person is presented as either the “bad guy” or, more probably, the “nerd.” There is evidence to suggest that the constant flow of images that stem from a certain ideology do have an effect on the masses, and there can be little doubt that modern society’s obsession with appearance can be traced to an onslaught of images holding out as the ideal a physicality that is not only unrealistic for the majority of people, but also unhealthy. Beyond that, and perhaps far more dangerous, is the possibility that those who do not attain this ephemeral and phony concept of the ideal are treated with disregard and discrimination.

Most people are aware that the average television show is peopled by actors considered good looking to a degree far out of kilter with reality. Women, especially, are objectified by an unrealistic expectation of beauty put forward by models and actresses who do not reflect the average appearance of women in society, but men are affected as well. The average man and woman are subjected by the media to a constant onslaught of imitations of reality which bear little or no resemblance to actual reality. From sitcoms to so-called “reality shows,” the society that is reflected on television and in movies is populated almost exclusively by actors who are, if not physically fit, then at least far from out of shape.

Print advertising is probably the most egregiously unrealistic of all media representations of how people should look. The majority of today’s female models and actresses are thin to the point of anorexic. In fact, the unhealthily thin look has gotten to the point where a new term was coined to describe it: heroin chic. This term can be traced back to Calvin Klein, the clothing designer who is probably most identified with presenting controversial female role models. From his days utilizing an underage Brooke Shields to sell scandalously tight jeans to a notorious mid-90s campaign that was so offensive it resulted in an investigation by the Dept. of Justice to determine if any kiddie porn laws had been violated, Klein has been at the forefront of the effort to manipulate body image desires. No fool, Klein cashed in on the popularity of the grunge music scene in the early 90s with its attendant heroin use and began presenting models, most famously Kate Moss, who were so thin they looked like heroin addicts. While grunge music essentially went the way of Kurt Cobain with his suicide, unfortunately the heroin chic can still be found in magazines.

With this unrealistic portrayal of how a woman should look combining with the obscene amounts of money they make, only the most oblivious would deny at least a tenuous connection between media representation of beauty and the obscene growth of eating disorders among the young. How obscene? A doubling in the number of cases since the 1960’s with a frightening number of cases among girls under the age of 10. As Homer Simpson says, statistics are meaningless; they can be used to prove anything: The average woman fits into a size 10 and above, whereas the average model fits into a size 2 or 3; 80% of ten year old girls have dieted; twenty years ago the weight difference between the average woman and the average model was just 8% while today it is a staggering 23%.

This unrealistic portrayal of physical attractiveness it not a difficult one to assess; it’s simply a case of capitalism doing what it does best, creating a need that isn’t naturally occurring. Who benefits the most from presenting images of unnaturally attractive and physically fit role models? The media benefits because people like to look at attractive things, but the real winners are those industries that sell the idea of beauty and fitness. Thirty years ago diet books and programs were virtually unknown. That isn’t to say that people weren’t overweight in the 70s, nor is it to say that people weren’t interested in becoming more attractive. It is more the case that people weren’t bombarded with 100 channels twenty-four hours a day with people either explicitly or subliminally telling them they aren’t attractive enough. Today, it seems as though there is a new trendy diet that everybody is trying every other day. Or else there’s a new pill we can take or even a belt we can wear! And losing weight doesn’t just result in looking better. Most of these commercials tell their audience that will gain self-confidence by losing weight. Not only that, but they will get a better looking mate and even land a better paying job and all because they got physically fit. The message that attractiveness means so much more than fitting into a smaller pair of jeans has gotten to the point where people whom not even Hollywood advertising execs would dare deem overweight are actually obsessing about weight loss.

Of course, women are not the only targets of the mass media; after all, men make considerably more money than women and so represent a massive amount of potential profit in the selling of unrealistic ideals. In fact, it is estimated that American men alone spend almost 10 billion dollars a year on products designed to improve their appearance. Of course, most men don’t aspire to the heroin chic look; rather they fantasize about having Brad Pitt’s abs. Therefore, the money spent by men tends to be spent on sporting goods and workout equipment designed to bulk them while slimming them down. In recent years, however, men have also been spending more money than ever before on such traditionally feminine beauty products as skin and hair goods, colognes, creams, wigs, and hair coloring chemicals. In 2004, worldwide revenue for men’s personal care products hit an all time high of 16 million dollars.

When it comes to the dating world, the worst kept secret is that looks matter more than personality and intelligence. A casual viewing of dating programs offers anecdotal evidence. It is universally agreed-upon that people on these shows usually pick the best-looking counterpart out of the group of contestants. Both women and men are far more concerned with appearance than personality on these types of programs. But does this phenomenon transfer into the job market? If people are more prone to pick the more attractive candidate to date, will they also be more prone to pick the more attractive candidate to hire? Much academic and non-academic research has been done on the subject of attractive applicants getting preferential treatment and the majority has shown at least a correlation between physical attractiveness and getting hired. Some research has found that more attractive workers even receive higher compensation than unattractive counterparts even where they perform the same work and have similar levels of work experiences. The media typically present better-looking people as making a better impression upon employers and customers, as well as doing a better job than unattractive people. It has been well-established that pretty waitresses make better tips than unattractive waitresses.

Television, film and the print media present a world that is not an accurate reflection of society. Casts of TV shows and movies are made up of an inordinate number of attractive people that in no way reflects reality. Print advertising in particular provides a not only unrealistic, but unhealthy ideal of what it means to be physically attractive. By continuously presenting these false images, the media has created an ideology of attractiveness; a belief that better looking people are better at everything than less attractive people. That unattractive people are discriminated against in the media is not even open to debate. To cite just one example, the young lady in the film The Princess Diaries is judged a nerd simply by virtue of bad hair and glasses. Almost as if by magic, once her glasses come off and she gets a nice hairdo not only is she deemed substantially more attractive, but also more poised, popular and worthy of admiration. Too bad that the movie is more of a reflection of society than the other way around.