These days, with the bombardment of nutritional messages and onslaught of new health products on the market, people may find themselves overwhelmed and confused. This is why equipping yourself with some basic nutritional information is an integral step on the road to good health and wellness.
In order to know how far you need to climb on the health ladder, it's important to understand where you're coming from. In other words, what is your basic nutritional IQ? To find out, simply take the 10-question quiz below and add up your score at the end. By doing so you will discover if you are a nutritional superstar or in need of a major health overhaul!
1. The new Canadian Food Guide recommends avoiding trans fats in the diet. Trans fats are:
a) Straight chain fatty acids that have a long shelf life
b) Fats that raise cholesterol and are indicated in heart disease
c) Fats found in processed foods such as certain types of margarine
d) All of the above
2. Purchasing whole wheat bread is a guarantee that the bread is made from whole grain fibre.
3. The amount of fibre grams adults should consume daily is:
a) 10-15 grams
b) 15-20 grams
c) 20-25 grams
d) 25-35 grams
4. A body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher is a healthy range for men and women.
5. Lycopene is:
a) The pigment that gives fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, pink grapefruits and watermelon their red colour.
b) The stem of the broccoli where most of the antioxidant value is maintained
c) The good fat found in the yolk of an egg
6. The omega-3 fat source found in omega-3 eggs is usually derived from;
a) Fish oils
b) Flaxseed oil
c) Primrose oil
d) Olive oil
7. One of the best ways to boost immune system function is to add a little garlic to your recipes.
8. When purchasing a whey protein powder, powders that contain higher amounts of protein include:
a) Whey protein concentrate
b) Whey protein isolate
9. Omega-3 fats are:
a) Monounsaturated fats
b) Polyunsaturated fats
c) Saturated fats
d) Trans fatty acids
10. HDL is the "good" cholesterol and necessary for optimal health.
Page 1 of 2 -- Discover how much you know about nutrition with the answers on page 2
Give yourself one point for each correct answer. Find your results below.
1. d) All of the above.
Trans fatty acids are created by flooding vegetable oils with hydrogen. The benefit to manufacturers is that this process extends shelf life and products are very stable. Unfortunately, these fats are foreign to the body and have been shown to raise the LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (good) cholesterol and are thought to increase the risk of developing heart disease. As of January 1, 2006, all packaged food products must list trans fats content on the Nutrition Facts panel. The amount of trans fats per serving of food will appear under the Total Fat section of the label.
There is no strict guideline set out by Health Canada or, in the U.S., the FDA that dictates what the term "whole wheat" has to mean. Because of this loose term, there are many breads on the market that contain whole wheat along with enriched and processed flour. In order to shop smarter and eat healthier bread, the key is to look for ingredients that list "whole grain," including the bran and the germ. Avoid breads that list enriched, white or processed flours on their ingredient list.
Adults should strive to consume a minimum of 25 to 35 grams of fibre per day in the form of soluble and insoluble fibre. Proper fibre consumption promotes regularity, prevents hemorrhoids and diverticulosis and is also linked to the prevention of certain types of cancer. Vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains and oat bran are all excellent sources of fibre.
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both adult men and women. 25 or higher is considered overweight or obese. The BMI categories are;
• Underweight = < 18.5
• Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
• Overweight = 25-29.9
• Obese = BMI of 30 or greater
Lycopene is one of a family of pigments called carotenoids, which occur naturally in fruits and vegetables. It is known for its strong antioxidant (disease-fighting) properties. Several studies suggest that a diet rich in lycopene can help lower the risk of prostate, digestive tract, breast, lung and cervical cancer, as well as cardiovascular disease and age-related macular degeneration.
Omega-3 eggs are similar in look, taste, storage instructions and cooking versatility as normal eggs. The difference lies in the fact that omega-3 eggs are produced by chickens that have been fed with alfalfa, corn, soybean and flaxseeds. Flaxseeds are an excellent source of omega-3 essential fat, which has been shown to be beneficial to human health. In fact, an average-size omega-3 egg contains approximately 320 mg of omega-3s, while a regular egg contains approximately 63 mg. Omega-3 essential fat is know to help prevent and reverse heart disease, reduce inflammatory response, nourish dry skin and hair and repair brittle nails.
Garlic is used around the world as a delicious flavouring agent for any dish. The health benefits of garlic have been touted for centuries; raw garlic has been used as a natural antibiotic to kill off some strains of harmful bacteria. Garlic is also useful for decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol, removing heavy metals from the body, preventing cancer and acting as an antifungal and antiviral agent. One clove of garlic contains vitamins A, B and C, selenium, iodine, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium.
There are two categories of whey protein powders -- concentrate and isolate. The concentrate form is more widely used, easier to find and less expensive. It contains approximately 30 to 85 per cent protein. Whey isolate is a higher-quality protein and is, therefore, more expensive. It contains more than 90 per cent protein. Whey isolate is more easily absorbed by the body and contains less fat and lactose.
Benefits of whey protein:
• Helps boost immunity
• Optimal source of amino acids
• Enhances muscle recovery after workouts and helps prevent muscle breakdown
Omega-3 fats are polyunsaturated fats that have been shown to provide enormous health benefits including protection against heart disease, anti-inflammatory properties and improved focus and behaviour in children.
HDL, short for high density lipoprotein, is the body's form of good cholesterol. HDL is beneficial because it takes cholesterol from the blood to the liver to be removed. Low density lipoprotein (LDL) is the bad cholesterol. It takes cholesterol from the blood and deposits it on the artery walls. HDL levels should be higher and LDL levels should be lower.
8 to 10 points: Nutritional superstar
Bravo! Your nutritional knowledge is top notch. You are an extremely health-conscious individual who takes the time to eat fresh, shop smart and supplement wisely. You know how to read a label and are often found filling up your grocery cart with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and essential fats.
5 to 7: Close, but needing slight nutritional fine-tuning.
You are interested in health and nutrition and are making great changes. Label reading and journaling in a food diary daily will help you fine-tune your nutritional intake even more. You are on the right track and with a little extra help, you can get from a B+ student to an A+!
2 to 4: Time for a health checkup!
Although you do make some healthy choices, your busy schedule and "grab and go&" eating style have you eating all the wrong thngs. Instead of eating whatever is convenient, the key is to plan and pack. Visit your grocery store and invest in some “grabbable&" healthy options such as yogurt, almonds, whole grain breads and mini carrots. Remember, you need to “eat live to feel live!&"
0 to 2: You are ready for a nutritional overhaul!
Uh oh! You need a major health change. In order to prevent the onset of future disease and weight gain, we need to eliminate all fast food, refined flours and sugars from your diet. Instead of shopping on the interior of your grocery store where all the processed goodies lie, stick to the exterior, filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and essential fats.
For more tips on healthy eating, check out the following articles:
• Understanding the new Canada Food Guide
• 8 healthy eating habits you can start now
• Veganism 101
• 10 secrets of longevity
• Healthy snacks on the go
• 10 good-for-you eating strategies
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