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Created by MyFitnessPal - Nutrition Facts For Foods

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Micro-Awareness Upside of Tracking Food: What Ae You Lacking? What are you overdoing?

After tracking my food intake for a couple weeks, I noticed something interesting--and slightly distressing: I am consistently ranking way, way low on zinc, and often ranking low on folate. I almost never make the recommended minimum for potassium, and I wouldn't make magnesium without my regular supplementation (and from what I've read, few Americans do make it to minimums on these two nutrients). Also, I just about always go over the recommended maximum for salt\--no surprise-- and often go over for cholesterol, easy if I have two eggs in the AM. I sometimes don't make the minimum for calcium (now that I've drastically reduced pizza, takeout Italian, and cheese enchiladas!) without a pill.

I have started using my nutritional report to see what supplements to add to dinner or my evening snack. I was already long accustomed to taking calcium and magnesium and vitamin D--I am after all female and don't want osteoporosis. I'm asthmatic and pre-diabetic, so I've taken magnesium supplements for about 10 years for those particular conditions.

Since Sparking my nutrition, I've consciously been trying to add even MORE potassium to my diet via foods, but even on really conscientious days, even with 11 or more fruits and veggies, I don't make the 4500 mark (though I can get real close). So, I'm gonna start tweaking. I have high BP, so this is important. And I need to wean myself of my sodium addiction (that is gonna be tough.)

So, supplements take care of adding calcium, magnesium, Vit D, and, as needed, when I fall short of B12 or some other B (I have stress B complex that I use on hard exercise days).

So, what about zinc and folate?

Foods highest in zinc and my issues:

Shellfish and oysters--can't eat them. I have terrible seafood allergies. I end up in the E.R.
Pine nuts--hate them in anything except pesto sauce (which can only be eaten in moderation, as it's pretty calorie-rich)
Brewer's Yeast--Hey, I used to take that as a kid (my sister was into it in the seventies). A possibility, as long as I am not sensitive to it these days. (I am hyperallergy-prone.)
Wheat Germ--excuse me, ugh. Have tried many times to eat this. Ick.
Wheat Bran--well, I do eat whole grain bread, just not as much as my "eat what I want" periods. Weight loss = less food= fewer nutrients. Geesh.
All Bran Cereal= I'd rather take a pill. Another Ew.
Pecans--Like em in salads, but again, oodles of calories.

OK sources and issues:

Liver--you have got to be kidding? My mom used to force me to eat this in my kidling years, and I would gag unless there was a layer about an inch and a half thick of onions on top to mask the nasty texture/taste. I'd rather take a pill than eat even one forkful of liver.
Cashew Nuts: Love them! But again, high calorie price.
Parmesan cheese: Adore it. Use it regularly. But it's not a huge huge source, unless, I guess, I gobble a wedge.
Fish: Um, I really hate going to the ER.
Eggs: Eat em almost every day, gotta watch the cholesterol a bit. Not a great source, unless I eat like 10 eggs.

OK. I understand now why I keep getting low on this one.

Onto folate...

Foods richest in folate and my issues:

Brewer's Yeast: OK, I'm really gonna have to research and try this again (as long as there isn't a connection with Candida or anything else for my immune system). Two birds with one brewer's spoon.
Lentils: Oh, I like lentils. I didn't like Dr. McDougall's version, but I could try to find a great recipe and freeze batches or use them in salads or as an appetizer on bread. Yeah, maybe this could work.
Edamame: I have to limit soy products (I love tofu and soymilk, but the thyroid does not.)
Romaine: Eat it frequently.
Pinto Beans: Like.
Okra: Like a lot sauteed with tomatoes and onions.
Black Beans: I am Cuban-born. Need I say more? We'd kill for our black beans.
~More good sources--spinach, kidney beans, asparagus, broccoli, fresh o.j., papaya, whole wheat bread, etc.

All right, folate is doable. Lots of my fave foods on earth and lots of foods I eat regularly are on here. Have no idea why I'm lagging here. Maybe I need to see if the foods list at Spark is not listing folate properly. I eat some of those foods many times a week.

Still, the point is that this is making me more aware of choices. So much so, that I like to leave a 100 to 200 calories for an after-dinner snack to make up "voids" in my day's nutrition.

I also know that there are supplements I can take, but I'd rather get it from food. Since my 20's, when I first started learning about nutrition (at college, in a class on it, and later on in my own readings to try and improve my chronic conditions), I always believed the food itself, the way God created it, supplied more than science even knew, so it was the better way. Supplements were merely aids, to fill up gaps that imperfect choices make. Not something to utterly rely on to make up for crap eating all the time.

I still believe this. I think back on how much we know now compared to the sixties and seventies about what's in stuff--tea, coffee, fruits, veggies, chocolate, etc. How color is indicative of benefits. And we'll learn more.

Even if you aren't feeling the mojo to reduce calories or diet right now, I recommend you do some nutrition tracking with a free online tool to find out where there are nutritional holes in your diet. You don't want to find out LATER, when your bones are Swiss cheese, that you failed to get enough calcium and Vitamin D and magnesium. You don't want to up your risk of HBP cause you eat too much salt and not enough potassium. You don't want to risk stroke or x or y condition cause you failed to ingest vitamin this or mineral that.

Do a tracker for a couple weeks. It might be a revelation.

So, let's see, gotta make up a new shopping list. :)

But, it does make me stop and consider. So, I did a web search to remind myself what foods are rich in these.


Stephanie said...

I know many people think liver is too....livery....but I have a super easy and delicious recipe for pate. It even converted a vegan. Try it out:
weight loss

Chubby Chick said...

I saw on a show once that the amount of sodium that a person needs to consume every day can be found in ONE olive! I could NOT believe it!

The Better Idiot said...

You mentioned this, but a lot of peope don't list the micro-nutrients when they add foods, so there'sa good chance your's aren't be counted for some things in your food list