Nutrient Comparison Chart for Tree Nuts


Nuts are a healthier snack choice and eating in moderation is key. As a natural food, nuts are excellent sources of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals that can boost your health in many ways including reduced risk of weight gain, improve heart health and lower risk of diabetes.  Choose raw, organic nuts to add to your diet.

Each type of nut offers a different mix of nutrients for your health.
Here’s a helpful table to use as a guide:

Tree Nuts Nutrient Comparison Chart

Image source: Almond Board of California (

12 Complete Vegetarian Proteins

12 Complete Proteins Vegetarians Need to Know About

Other than meat, there are other ways to get complete proteins in your meals and buckwheat is one of them!

The term “complete protein” refers to amino acids, the building blocks of protein. There are 20 different amino acids that can form a protein, and 9 that the body can’t produce on its own. These are called essential amino acids—we need to eat them because we can’t make them ourselves. In order to be considered “complete,” a protein must contain all nine of these essential amino acids.

You can view the full article here, at

5 Power Food Pairings for Better Health

5 power food pairings - www.buckwheathealth.wordpress.comRutin + Vitamin C = Stronger Heart

Rutin is a bioflavonoid that enhances the absorption of vitamin C. Together, both rutin and Vitamin C can help to strengthen and promote circulation in our body, thereby greatly supporting cardiovascular health. Rutin is also attributed with anti-inflammatory and blood vessel-strengthening effects.  Rutin , found naturally in Buckwheat is one of the richest sources.

Sources of Rutin: Buckwheat, asparagus, apple peels, cherries, apricots, green peppers and dark berries
Sources of Vitamin C: Guava, bell peppers, broccoli, papaya, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, strawberries


Zinc + Sulphur Compounds = More Energy

Sulfur compounds help boost absorption of zinc. Certain types of acids increase the absorption of zinc. These include sulphur-containing amino acids (found in garlic, onions, citric acid (found in citrus fruits like oranges), malic acid (found in apples), and tartaric acid (found in grapes).

Sources of Zinc: Spinach, pumpkin, nuts, beans, mushrooms
Sources of Sulfur Compounds: Onions, garlic, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, legumes, cabbage, brussels sprouts, turnips


Genistein + Capsaicin = Reduce Inflammation

Genistein is a naturally occurring chemical present in soy. Genistein (an isoflavone with disease-fighting properties) plus capsaicin (an antioxidant) helps to tame inflammation. Chronic inflammation in the body is known to be a risk factor for heart disease and cancer. Capsaicin also helps reduce blood pressure, offering even more heart-healthy benefits.

Sources of Genistein: Found in soy foods such as soybeans, edamame and tofu
Sources of Capsaicin: Chili peppers


Calcium + Inulin = Stronger Bones

Inulin benefits our bones by enhancing calcium absorption. Inulin (a non-digestible carbohydrate that acts as a food source for intestinal bacteria and behaves as a prebiotic to enhance probiotic growth), helps balance the levels of “good” bacteria in your digestive system.

Sources of Calcium: Milk, yogurt, cheese, broccoli, kale, almonds
Sources of Inulin: Artichokes, onions, garlic, leeks, chicory, bananas, asparagus


Iron + Vitamin C = More Energy

Vitamin C helps our cells absorb more iron and help keep our gums, heart and skin healthy. You can find iron in plant-based foods (fruits, veggies, beans) and animal-based foods (red meat, chicken, eggs). But it’s harder for your body to absorb iron from plant-based ones, which is why pairing them with vitamin C is a smart move.

Sources of Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, kiwi, guava, strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli
Sources of Iron: Spinach, oatmeal, tofu, wheat germ, quinoa

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Does Cooking Affect the Glycemic Index of Foods?

pan fried eggs

The glycemic index (GI) provides a measure of how fast and how high a particular food can raise our blood glucose level. A food with a low GI usually means it causes a moderate rise in blood glucose, while foods with a high GI causes blood glucose levels to increase above favorable levels.

Fats and fibers are able to lower the GI of foods. Generally, the more cooked or processed food is, the higher the GI, but it can vary due to certain factors.

The following are a few examples:

Ripeness – Fruits and vegetable that are riper tend to have higher GI levels.
Processing – Taking whole fruits instead of juices, baked potatoes instead of mashed potatoes, both can help to prevent the GI from rising. Cooking methods – For example, how long the food is cooked. The less cooked the food is, the lower the GI.

Cooking Methods that Raises Glycemic Index
Changes in blood glucose levels after a meal are determined by the ratio of dietary carbohydrate and digestive enzymes, and the presence of other dietary factors, like fats and fibers, which are able to slow down carbohydrate digestion. Cooking methods that add heat to a grain or breaks apart a grain will increase the GI as it makes the dietary carbohydrates available for digestive enzymes.

Cooking Methods that Lower Glycemic Index
Adding fats and fibers into your diet will be able to slow down carbohydrate digestion and absorption, thus lowering GI. For instance, sautéing potatoes in olive oil will lower the GI as it adds fats and to the starchy potatoes carbohydrate. Slow-cooking methods, such as baking and steaming will result in a lower GI levels when compared against boiling and microwaving. Retaining the potato’s skin will add some fiber which then lowers the impact of the potato starch on blood glucose levels.

Taking in mind, no matter what sort of cooking methods used, some dietary carbohydrates, such as potatoes and grains, tend to have higher GI than others. The GI of any food is directly linked to your body’s ability to digest and absorb carbohydrates. These numbers will vary according to the health situations of individuals. For example, those with diabetes. It would be better to talk to your dietitian before you start planning your diet.

  1. Don’t overcook your food
  2. Choose less processed and whole foods
  3. Choose foods with high soluble fibre content (like Apples, beans and oats)


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Food Portions & ‘Healthy’ Labels. How Does it Influence Us?

Portion Size Experiment

Looking at this image, would you eat more of the low fat coleslaw because it says LOW FAT?

This is what a study by researchers at the University of Ulster published earlier this month in the International Journal of Obesity aim to find out.  Would people eat larger portions of the ‘healthier’ food when given a choice even if both choices contain the same amount of calories.

“Foods are marketed as being healthier for a reason, because food producers believe, and they correctly believe, that those labels will influence us to eat their products and perhaps eat more of their products,” said Dr. Cliodhna Foley Nolan the director of Human Health and Nutrition at Safefood, a government agency in Ireland.

In the study, 186 participants were asked to serve themselves coleslaw, with one labelled ‘healthier’ and the other ‘standard’. However in reality both choices had almost the same amount of calories. (224 calories per 100g  for the one labelled ‘healthier’ and 223 calories for the ‘standard’.)

The result of the study was that the participants served themselves more of the ‘healthier’ coleslaw compared with the ‘standard’ as they had underestimated the amount of calories.

The conclusion of the study was that nutrition claims could be promoting inappropriate portion size selection and consumption behavior.

The bottom line is that it is always good to read the nutrition labels. Having tons of health claims pasted on the packaging does not mean we can eat more to feel less guilty since we assume its healthier.

Source:  International Journal of Obesity (7 May 2013) | doi:10.1038/ijo.2013.69 – Perceived ‘healthiness’ of foods can influence consumers’ estimations of energy density and appropriate portion size

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Types of Milk – Milky Goodness

soy milk

All milk is not created equal. Having so many options to choose from, it can be somewhat confusing. But there is something for everyone. Here are some of the most popular choices of milk. Which one do you prefer?

Cow’s Milk

milkCow’s milk is available as pasteurized, unpasteurized, whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed.

Pasteurized means that the milk that has been heated to a temperature that removes any dangerous bacteria. This kind of milk is most often used for drinking and in cooking. Unpasteurized means that the milk is raw or untreated. It is recommended that babies, young children, the elderly, pregnant women and anyone with an impaired immune system should avoid drinking unpasteurized milk.

Whole milk refers to milk that has not have anything taken out or added. It is usually pasteurized. Whole milk is sometimes also known as full-cream milk.

Semi-Skimmed and skimmed milk refers to milk where some or all of the fat has been removed. Semi-skimmed (low-fat) milk has a fat content of 1.5 -1.8 per cent whereas skimmed milk has maximum fat content of 0.3 per cent. Skimmed milk contains half the calories of full-cream milk and only a fraction of the fat, but nutritionally it is virtually on a par, retaining most of its vitamins, calcium and other materials. However, removing almost all the fat also removes the fat-soluble vitamins A and D. As a result, skimmed milk is not suitable for young children.

Goat’s milk

Goat’s milk contains less lactose than cow’s milk and therefore is easier to digest for those suffering from lactose intolerance. It contains a greater amount of essential fatty acids such as omega 6 (linoleic acid) and omega 3 (alpha-linolenic acid) essential fatty acids than cow’s milk as well as higher amounts of vitamin B-6, vitamin A, and niacin. It is a good source of calcium, tryptophan, protein, phosphorus, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and potassium. People who are unable to consume cow’s milk may be able to drink goat’s milk without any problems. However scientist has yet to discover why some people can better tolerate goat’s milk.

Soy Milk

Soy milk is not really milk. It is actually the liquid that remains after the soybeans are soaked, grounded, and then strained. Since it doesn’t contain any lactose, soy milk is suitable for lactose intolerant people. It is a popular substitute for cow’s milk for vegans since it is from a plant source (others include rice, oat, almond, coconut, and potato milk). Although soy milk has vitamin B, it is not a good source of B12, neither does it contains a lot of calcium. Thus the manufacturers offer fortified versions where calcium and vitamins E, B12, and D, and other nutrients may be added.

Almond Milk

It is made by mixing finely ground almonds with water. Because almonds is rich in vitamins and minerals, the milk will contain vitamin E, selenium, magnesium, iron, fibre, manganese, potassium, zinc, phosphorous, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids, protein, dietary fiber. It contains more vitamins and minerals than soy and rice milks and is suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. Almond milk does not contain saturated fats or cholesterol, is very low in fats, calories and carbohydrates. It can be a good milk substitute for those who would like to lose weight. However it is low in proteins and contains only a fraction of the protein available in dairy milk.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is produced by pressing the liquid from grated coconut meat and blending it with water. It is often used in cooking. It is high in protein and rich in minerals and vitamins. It contains iron, phosphorus, selenium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and the important vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6. However, people trying to lose weight and those with heart problems should avoid coconut milk or foods with coconut milk because it is high in saturated fat. Too much saturated fat can cause clogging in the arteries.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is made from boiling brown or white rice. Like soy milk and almond milk, rice milk is suitable for people who are lactose intolerant. Manufacturers might have added thickening agents to commercial rice milk. Manufacturers also often offer fortified versions with calcium, niacin, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin D and iron. It does not contain cholesterol. Rice milk is low in fat and contains more carbohydrates compared to cow’s milk but still contains more fat than skimmed cow’s milk. However the downside it that it does not contain as much calcium or protein as cow’s milk. In general, rice milk taste sweeter compared to cow’s milk.

Oat Milk

Oat milk is made from blending whole oats with water. It is an alternative choice for people who are allergic to soy. It is a good source of fibre and a low fat alternative to cow’s milk. Oats is the only grain to contain high levels of protein. Oat milk contains 10 essential minerals and 15 vitamins. A single glass of oat milk contains about 35% of the recommended daily intake of calcium. It is also cholesterol free. However oat’s milk may contain gluten so it may not be suitable for those who are gluten sensitive.

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is made from hemp seeds which are soaked and grinded with water. It contains a good balance of omega 6 (linoleic acid) and omega 3 (alpha-linolenic acid) essential fatty acids which our bodies cannot product on its own and have to be present in our diet. It contains magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, riboflavin, folic acid, zinc and thiamine, vitamins such as A, E, D, and B12. It is suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. Being fat free and contains no cholesterol, it is a good choice for those trying to lose weight. Manufactures may fortify it with additional vitamins and minerals.


Nutrition Information for Specific Ages and Dietary Types

Active adults:

Triathletes and spinning-class addicts, take note: For optimal performance, energy, and recovery, be sure to consume a balance of whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. Increase water intake as needed to stay hydrated. Consume a meal or snack rich in healthy carbohydrates before a workout, such as a banana. Within 60 to 90 minutes after intense exercise, aim to rebuild muscles with a meal or a light snack that includes lean protein.

Pregnant women:

Consume rich sources of iron (or take an iron supplement) in addition to foods rich in folate, such as spinach, asparagus, beans, and whole-grain cereals. Dairy intake should also be increased.

Older adults, 50+ years old:

Maintain low blood pressure, good cholesterol levels, and bone density with foods rich in calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamin B12. These nutrients help maintain low blood pressure and good cholesterol levels, as well as bone density, and can be found in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy sources of unsaturated fat such as olive oil, avocado, walnuts, and wild salmon.

Vegetarians and vegans:

Consume appropriate wholesome sources of protein such as eggs, dairy, nuts, beans and legumes, quinoa, soy and hemp milk, edamame, and tofu. Aim for at least one serving of protein per meal, and consider taking a dietary supplement if iron, B12, and calcium levels are low.

Weight loss:

Reduce portion sizes and emphasize mostly raw or lightly cooked fruits and vegetables, along with healthy fats, lean proteins, and whole-grain carbohydrates. Use a smaller plate and utensils to make smaller portions feel bigger, and eat more slowly, stopping partway through the meal to assess fullness. Drink plenty of water, and eat a small meal or a snack rich in complex carbs and fiber every three to four hours to maintain a feeling of fullness.

Young children:

Ensure good nutrition and growth and development in young children with a varied diet packed with fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Introduce kids to healthy habits early on by getting them involved with grocery shopping and cooking. Limit the consumption of processed foods, sweetened beverages, and refined sugars.

via Good Nutrition and Health Advice from a Nutritionist at

Can Diabetics Eat Fruits?

Flesh kiwi cut ripe orange

Yes, those with diabetes can eat fruits! Fruits will indeed raise our blood sugar levels temporarily, so is important to control and monitor ones blood sugar levels. Moderation is the key.

Fruits is important for a healthy diet.

Some fruits have higher natural sugars than others. This natural sugar is called fructose. Fruits contain fiber, vitamins and minerals  that can contribute to good health.

However, the extent to which fruit can raise blood glucose levels depends on the type of fruit eaten. Here is a list of 10 fruits that diabetics can eat (but not limited to this list):

  1. Kiwi
  2. Guava
  3. Cherries
  4. Peach
  5. Berries
  6. Apple
  7. Pear
  8. Papaya
  9. Orange
  10. Watermelon

The best way to know how different fruits affects blood sugar levels is by measuring it before and after eating the fruit. Choose whole fruits instead of fruit juice. Fruit juice blends bought outside may contain additional hidden sugar.

Further reading:
Will fruit affect my blood glucose levels? (
Diabetes Myths (

How Many Meals Do You Eat a Day?

On average how many meals do you eat to keep yourself energized throughout the day?

Remember, there is no magic number. Don’t force yourself to eat when you’re not hungry. If you are trying to eat many small meals, avoid eating when you are full. It doesn’t really matter whether you eat 3 or 6 times a day. You should choose a meal plan based on your own nutrition requirements and lifestyle.