Nutrition Facts and Basics

Nutrition labels have revolutionized the way we buy food -- especially for people on special diets. Nutrition can affect more than just your weight. People who practice good nutrition, hygiene and exercise patterns develop a lifetime of habits that will keep them healthy for many years. Peanuts and peanut butter are whole foods that pack a lot of nutrition into just one serving. Peanuts and peanut butter are whole foods that contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, ample protein and beneficial unsaturated fats. Since they are a plant food, they naturally contain no cholesterol. Peanuts and peanut butter contain high quality plant protein. Protein is estimated based upon the amount of bound nitrogen in the sample. Total fat is estimated from the weight of all individual fatty acids plus the imputed weight of one unit of glycerol for each three fatty acids. When comparing peanuts to similar foods, peanuts have more protein than any other legume or nut. This is especially important for children, vegetarians and people eating more meatless meals. Carbohydrates in food help our bodies produce serotonin -- a sleep-inducing hormone. This meal plan incorporates plenty of healthy carbohydrate-rich foods like fruit, pasta, potatoes, oatmeal and brown rice. Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes sleep. This diet includes skim milk with meals and as a before-bed snack.

Carbohydrates are easy to digest and quickly absorbed. They can be found in sugar and sweets, honey, fruits and fruit juices. Daily values footnote is a reference tool, giving you basic guidelines on how much of each nutritional item you should eat daily. Grains based foods (pasta, bread, cereals) are very versatile and highly regarded by nutrition professionals because they are rich in nutrients. Whole grains are high in fibre and may help to lower blood cholesterol and maintain bowel regularity. They contain vitamin E and important trace materials like copper and zinc. For years, these foods were considered the ugly ducklings of nutrition. Thought to be fattening with little nutritional value, they were avoided in misguided attempts to control weight. Now scientific agreement among qualified nutrition experts points to increasing our consumption of grains based foods and reaping significant health benefits. Calories may be calculated using any one of several methods. The old-fashioned bomb calorimeter, one of the acceptable methods, is a poor model for the human body. Ideally, calories represent physiological energy -- the energy value remaining after digestive and metabolic losses are deducted from the gross energy. This type of calculation is called the At water system for determining energy values.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant. It is commonly found in fresh vegetables and fruit (peppers, tomatoes, citrus fruits). Severe lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy. It helps to heal wounds, prevent cell damage, promote healthy gums and teeth, and strengthen the immune system. It also helps the body absorb iron. Women and men should consume at least 60 milligrams of vitamin C each day. Vitamin C deficiency causes a disease called scurvy, which is uncommon in the United States. Taking more than 2,000 milligrams a day may cause a flushed face, headache, increased urination, mild diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. People who smoke need to consume more vitamin C because smoking interferes with the body's ability to use vitamins. Women who smoke should consume 110 milligrams per day of vitamin C, and men who smoke should consume 125 milligrams per day of vitamin C. Phytochemicals are natural substances in plants which may provide a wide range of health benefits such as reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. Peanuts contain resveratrol which is one of the many phytochemicals found in plant foods.

Good nutrition is more important than ever. Regulations requiring nutrition panels on food labels were implemented as part of a campaign to get people to eat less fat. Dietary fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and mitigate the blood sugar fluctuations of diabetes. Nutrients are divided into two groups. "Good" nutrients consisted of: "vitamin, mineral, protein, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, other carbohydrate, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat, or potassium" and must be present in at least 80% of the label value in every unit tested. Conversely, "bad" nutrients: calories, sugars, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, or sodium must be present in no more than 120% of the label value but may be less than the label value by a "reasonable" amount. Nutrition label legislation is to help consumers cut fat out of their diets, carbs are considered a valuable nutrient. Labels have serving sizes as required by law and indicate the number of servings contained in the package. However, selling underweight packages violates the oldest consumer protection laws. Many manufacturers deliberately overfill their packages to avoid the risk that their filling equipment may not be precise or that the product might dry out or otherwise not measure up. As a result, packages often contain more food than the nutrition label indicates.

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