Do you know the difference between Folate and Folic Acid

Do you know the difference between Folate and Folic Acid

Folate is also known as Vitamin B9. It is one of many essential vitamins needed for copying and synthesizing DNA, producing new cells and supporting nerve and immune functions. It is also a water soluble vitamin and is a dietary supplement in the form of folic acid. The daily dietary intake of folate range from 454 to 652 micrograms and adults should get 400 mcg and children need 300 mcg.

FOLATE VS. FOLIC ACID: AN IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE

Folate is easily and naturally absorbed and utilized by the body when it is metabolized in the small intestines. It is important to know that supplementing with folic acid especially in child-bearing ages can elevate levels of unmetabolized folic acid and have it remain in the bloodstream because we cannot metabolize folic acid well. Side effects of folic acid remaining in the body include changes in sex hormones, trouble concentrating, ability to sleep, mood changes and deficiencies in certain nutrients like vitamin B12. High levels of folic acid have also been tied to cancer development and it interacts with different medications and aggravates health conditions as well.

COMMON SIGNS OF FOLATE DEFICIENCY:

  • Poor immune function—frequently getting sick
  • Chronic low energy –including chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Poor digestion—including constipation, bloating and IBS
  • Developmental problems
  • Anemia
  • Canker sores in the mouth
  • Changes in mood, including irritability
  • Pale skin
  • Premature hair graying.

WHO IS AT HIGHER RISK OF DEFICIENCY OF FOLATE:

  • Breast feeding women or women looking to become pregnant
  • Alcoholics
  • Anyone with liver disease
  • Anyone on kidney dialysis
  • Anyone taking medications for diabetes
  • Those frequently using diuretics or laxatives.


IT HELPS THE BODY UTILIZE IRON, VITAMIN B12 AND AMINO ACIDS

Folate deficiency can contribute to anemaia. Folate also helps Vitamin B12 to be absorbed and therefore many experts are concerned that high folic acid intakes might “mask” vitamin B12 deficiency until it is neurological diagnosed.

TOP 12 FOLATE FOOD SOURCES

Increasing your intake of natural folate-rich foods is the best way to protect yourself from deficiency along with complications of folic acid supplementation.

Spinach – 66%
Black Eyed Peas – 52%
Asparagus – 44%
Broccoli – 26%
Brussel Sprouts – 40%
Kidney Beans – 24%
Romaine Lettuce – 16%
Avocado – 15%
Orange – 7%
Wheat Germ – 10%

So be informed about using some forms of supplementation because getting it from your food should always be your first choice of action.

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Do you know the difference between Folate and Folic Acid

Immune Boosting for Colds and Flus

Stock up on the right foods and supplements to boost your immune system for colds and flu’s.

PREVENTION IS IMPORTANT

You can make choices now to help your immune system fight off the viruses and bacteria that we will be encountering the next few months.

USE THE RIGHT VITAMINS

Of course everybody knows that Vitamin C is the first choice to stimulate the immune systems.  Food sources are: colourful fruits and vegetables because they contain the most vitamin C content.  Other sources are sweet potatoes, peppers and papayas.

Vitamin D is also very beneficial for our immune systems.  Studies have shown that Vitamin D can strengthen our immunity to infections due to the Vitamin D receptors on our cells found in the immune system.  Therefore it plays a key role in the immune system cells.  Some food sources are fish, egg yolks, but the best source of Vitamin D is still the sun.

Vitamin B’s are the vitamins the immune system uses for protection.  B6 in particular plays a role in biochemical reactions involving cells of the immune system.  Food sources of B6 are chickpeas, lean chicken, bananas and tuna.

Zinc is an essential trace element mineral that affects nearly all body processes.  Dietary sources are oysters, poultry, whole grains, beans and nuts.

Selenium is essential micronutrient for optimal immune function.  Foods that contain selenium are brazil nuts, fish, poultry and grains.

5 EASY TIPS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

  1.  Raise your heart rate.  A 20 minute workout three times a week increases your white blood cells.
  2. Get enough sleep.  A minimum of seven hours per night is protective to your immune system and leaves you less vulnerable to becoming run down and prone to infections.
  3. Balance your stress.  A constant state of stress causes imbalances in cortisol.  Cortisol plays a role in white blood cell production and overall immune function. 
  4. Wash your hands.  30 seconds of washing your hands with soap and water will reduce bacteria on the hands.
  5. Water, Water, Water.  The winter months are when we become the most dehydrated.  Be sure to drink lots of water or eat fruits and vegetables that are high in water content.  Remember that tea and coffee are very dehydrating so you need to drink more water if you consume a lot of these drinks.

It is very easy to keep your immune system healthy and working in great condition, eating, sleeping and exercise are the key targets to do this.

Submitted by Gwen Cottingham, Registered Nutritionist, g.cottingham@hotmail.com   905-778-9998

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Do you know the difference between Folate and Folic Acid

Kids’ Nutrition

The children in Canada are doing well when it comes to having their nutritional needs met.  Despite this a survey contacted by Health Canada in 2012 reveals that there is still room for improvement when it comes to certain nutrients.

SODIUM INTAKE

The daily intake for children of most ages still exceeds recommendations.  The problem is the sodium found in chips, frozen and canned foods and salty snacks.

Too much sodium has been linked to an increase for high blood pressure down the road.  We can fix this by eating fresh foods and snacking on fresh fruit, vegetables, unsalted nuts and seeds and similar healthy snacks.

CALCIUM

Calcium was found to be 44 to 70 percent inadequate in girls ages 14-18.  Calcium is just not for bone and tooth health, it is also necessary for proper function of the muscles.  We can fix this by boosting calcium rich foods such as cooked greens (spinach, kale), nuts, and almond beverages as well as increasing dairy products such as organic yogurt and cheese. 

MAGNESIUM

Boys over 14 and girls over 9 years of age were found to have inadequate magnesium intake.  Magnesium plays many different roles in our bodies such as blood sugar regulation, muscle and nerve function, blood pressure regulation and the regulation of various proteins and hormones.  We can fix this by eating whole grains, leafy green vegetables, nuts and dairy foods.

VITAMIN A

Vitamin A is important for cell repair and healing, immune system function and proper growth of body tissues and maintaining healthy vision.  This was deficient in children age 9 and older, teenage girls being at the higher risk.  We can fix this by foods rich in beta carotene such as carrots, yams, pumpkins, squash and cooked greens.

SO WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN?

For the most part, Canadian children are meeting their nutritional needs through diet but a few key areas still need to have improvement.  The safest and most natural way to do this is to address these areas by adding the right foods into their diets.  Learn to read package labels and understand what you are looking at on these labels.  Check ingredient lists to see where sugar, sodium and bad fats are in the list.  These should be at the bottom not the top of the list.  Lastly, get the kids involve in making the decisions and preparing the food.

Gwen Cottingham, Registered Nutritionist, g.cottingham@hotmail.com 905-778-9998

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Do you know the difference between Folate and Folic Acid

Magnesium: Do you have a Deficiency

Did you know that Magnesium is present in all cells of the body and is involved in over 300 enzymatic processes, including energy production.

Magnesium is essential for maintaining normal bone density, normal cardiac rhythmicity, normal pulmonary function, and normal blood glucose regulation.

Magnesium is one of the most common world-wide deficiencies.  Most doctors are not trained to detect magnesium deficiencies.  It is often misdiagnosed because it does not show up in blood tests as only 1% of the body’s magnesium is stored in the blood.

Without sufficient magnesium the body struggles to make and utilize protein and enzymes.  Magnesium is extremely critical for proper detoxification processes.  As our world becomes increasingly toxic we should increase our need for magnesium.

Here are some major symptoms associated with magnesium deficiencies:

Cardiac Arrythmias, ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, Asthma, Allergies, Muscle Spasms, Twitching and tremors, fibromyalgia, brain fog, migraines and many other health problems.

Best food sources of magnesium:

Wheat bran, cocoa powder, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, cashew, almonds, peanuts/butter, shrimp, pumpkin seeds, raw green veggies, pink salt, sprouted nuts and seeds and avocados.

Our diets are rich in calcium but not magnesium so try and add more magnesium into your diet.

Submitted by Gwen Cottingham, RHN, g.cottingham@hotmail.com 905-778-9998

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Do you know the difference between Folate and Folic Acid

Winterizing Your Body

WINTERIZING YOUR BODY

In our Canadian winters, it is all too easy to give in to the tendency to hibernate all season. There are too many fun things to do with friends and family during this season to hibernate. With the right gear and knowledge low key activities such as cross-country skiing, Nordic pole walking, walking the dog and snowshoeing are all fantastic ways to get outside, spend time in nature and get the body moving. Also, check out local parks and ski resorts for rental rates on winter equipment and their different activities.

WHEN GOING OUTDOORS, BRING A THERMOS OF HOT LIQUID WITH YOU

You should always bring something warm to drink. It could be as simple as hot water with some lemon wedges or green tea. You can also bring some broth-based soup if you are out all day. Stay clear of the temptation to bring coffee, hot chocolate etc. These choices are drinks that will help make your body less able to deal with stress and will decrease your immune system.

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF SUNSHINE

Our internal clocks are largely governed by light exposure, so at this time of year when we only have 9 hours of sunlight in December compared to 15 hours in June, crawling out of bed to do something is hard. Hibernation is what we tend to go more towards. Making sure you get outside is really important as well as making sure you get your daily dose of Omega-3, Vitamin D and Vitamin A.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. This vitamin has many health benefits associated with it. It was once believed that it was converted by our kidney, but new research shows that our bodies convert Vitamin D3 into calcitriol throughout the cells. Calcitriol is an important element in the life cycle of keeping our cells in the body healthy. There is no better source to help your body synthesize Vitamin D than the sun itself. In our northern climate it can be difficult to get out in the sun every single day for enough time. To ensure that you are getting RDA of 400 IU, make sure you eat wild, pacific salmon, sardines, skim milk and check your breakfast cereal as well for fortification. Some more common foods are lettuce, dates, cottage cheese and eggs. These are just a few foods that help with Vitamin D.

Vitamin D has many health benefits for our bodies. It helps to keep your bones and teeth strong by promoting calcium absorption and bone building in the body.

It helps to regulate immune system activity and prevents, prolonged inflammatory response in the body.

Helps prevent Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis and cancer.

Regulates the growth and activity of cells in the body. It can be linked to obesity, rickets and diabetes in children and certain types of cancers.

There are several forms of Vitamin D. Here are the different types of Vitamin D.

Vitamin D2 (ergocaciferol) which comes from food sources.

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) which is synthesized in the skin.

Synthetic form is identified as Vitamin D5.

Vitamin D2 requires conversion by the liver and then by the kidney, before it becomes active. This is why people who have liver or kidney disorders are at a high risk for osetoporosis.

Vitamin D3 is usually received from the sun. Once your skin is exposed to the sun, a cholesterol compound in the skin is transformed into a precursor or Vitamin D3.

BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

With a strong immune system you will have more energy and less likely to get sick plus recover quickly if you do. Three words that help with this are: NUTRITION, EXERCISE AND SLEEP.

Get your sleep. If we do not get to that deep sleep stage (REM) our bodies do not benefit from the rejuvenation effects that we all love. Make sure all lights are off in your bedroom, even small lights from electronics (alarm clocks, cell phones etc.).

Water, Water, Water, we highly underestimate just how crucial getting enough water is to our everyday function. It not only helps to lubricate our joints, moisturizes the skin, and helps prevent constipation, but is also key for maintaining a healthy body weight-it increases your metabolism and regulates appetite! Especially when you are feeling sick, extra water is crucial because it keeps your kidneys and liver filtering out toxins. So drink up!!!!

STOP PROCASTINATING

The minute you start negotiating with yourself to make certain food choices or get out to exercise, just always make the right/good choice.

TRY SOMETHING NEW

During the winter months, there are many activities to try. Dance lessons, yoga, skiing, Nordic pole walking etc. I will guarantee you will tell yourself “why didn’t I do this before”.

HIT THE RESET BUTTON

If you fall off the rails, do not be afraid to hit the “Reset button”. You could give up easily on your goals, but instead just reset. During the winter months, if you need to reset, just press that button and start over. Eliminate the “have to be perfect” mentality. The true goal is to never give up.

GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY COACH/PARTNER

Having someone that you are accountable to not only keeps you motivated, but keeps you on track with positive reinforcement when you feel like quitting.

The hardest time to stay motivated is now until spring. With all the stress of the holidays, cold weather etc, contribute to a lower immune system which results in “0” motivation to do anything.

BEATING THE FLU WITH FOOD!

Food can be the best tool to use for keeping your body from getting sick.

Foods that work best for the flu are garlic, Vitamin C foods, ginger, yogurt, horseradish and of course water.

Garlic

Garlic contains allicin which is an active ingredient that has been proven to aid in the body for fighting infection and bacteria.

It also contains a volatile oil that is mostly excreted through the lungs, making it an excellent remedy for respiratory disorders such as bronchitis, mucus, influenza and whooping cough. It is also great in the management of asthma.

Just remember that if you have ulcers that the sulfur compounds in garlic will irritate them. So use them sparingly.

Vitamin C

This vitamin helps to build muscle tissue and boost the immunity. People think of just oranges have high Vitamin C content but broccoli and kiwifruit are just a few foods that are high in Vitamin C.

Ginger

Ginger can help to ease the nasal congestion that goes with common colds and flu.
Here are foods that help with common cold and influenza—

Blackberry, blueberry, chili, chive, cinnamon, clove, cumin, garlic, ginger, lemon, live yogurt, onion, orange, peppercorns, rosemary, scallion, shellfish, thyme.

Eat plenty of fresh raw fruit and vegetables, especially those that are red, green, or yellow in colour.

Yogurt

This is a good source of healthy bacteria and helps boost your immune system. Please use organic yogurt as there will be less sugar and good quality bacteria in this yogurt. When you do get sick increase your intake of yogurt if you start taking antibiotics for the infection. When you are on antibiotics, they will kill both good and bad bacteria so doing yogurt helps to keep the good bacteria in your colon to help eliminate the bad bacteria/virus.

Horseradish

This helps ease throat and upper respiratory tract infection, plus will help clear out your sinuses. It has antibiotic properties and has also been shown specifically to destroy the flu virus and reduce the severity of flu infections.

Gwen Cottingham, Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Certified Life Coach Sign up for more nutritional solutions that are simple, fun and sustainable
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How to select the perfect squash?

How to select the perfect squash?

Winter squashes come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and tastes. Make sure that it is not heavy for its size and has taut skin with not soft spots or cracks.

ACORN SQUASH
This gets it’s name from the tree nut it resembles. It has mostly dark green skin with yellow-orange flesh that has subtle taste. These are great for roasting, perfect for stuffing with various grain salads and taste great with syrup sauces such as pomegranate or balsamic.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH
This hour-glass shaped squash has a silky texture and a taste reminiscent of sweet potato bathed in butter. You can roast, steam in cubes for a tasty addition to salads, frittatas and tacos. You can also mash it and use it as a stuffing for ravioli or spread for a sandwich or pizza sauce.

HUBBARD SQUASH
This giant of the squash family is available in blue-grey, green or orange-red varieties. All have a warty skin and grain, mildly sweet flesh. You can use this squash cut into cubes or string onto kebab skewers or toss with parsnips and rutabaga for a roasted vegetable medley.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH
Watermelon shaped with a golden yellow rind. This squash once cooked, the flesh pulls apart into slightly nutty spaghetti-like strands. Toss the strands with pesto or top with meat sauce for a twist on pasta night. Some people also use this for pizza base.

So for different squashes you can mash it, puree and freeze them. They can be used in a range of dishes like soups, dips, baked goods, pancakes and oatmeal. But don’t forget about the seeds. Squash seeds deliver a range of nutrients such as protein, zinc, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. So roast those seeds and use them on top of salads, soups, granola or just as they are. To roast put in a 300 degree oven on a cookie sheet and roast until golden approximately 15 minutes.

Gwen Cottingham, Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Certified Life Coach Sign up for more nutritional solutions that are simple, fun and sustainable
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