Thursday, October 11, 2012

Snack Attack

Are your snacks and other foods “living” or from the “dead zone”—attacking your health with their life- sapping ingredients?

You must eat to live, but if your snacks and foods aren’t life-giving, then they’re probably life-taking, especially if they’re packed with empty calories and made with typical ingredients  such as unhealthy fats, sugars, carbs and more.

In fact, most Americans have a serious problem with what they’re eating—starting at a young age. For example, most kids don’t know what foods give life or take it away, including the 70 percent of polled six-to-eight-year-olds who think fast foods are more nutritious than healthy, home-cooked foods. Maybe that’s why high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and snacks contribute more than one-third of kids’ daily calories.

Even back in 1997, kids aged 7 to 12 spent $2.3 billion—while teens spent $58 billion—on unhealthy snacks and beverages. They have a lot to choose from, too, because there are over 320,000 processed foods, snacks and beverages on the market—“killer foods” that are harming their health.

Unfortunately, due to their diet, kids and teens now have serious health problems, including heart, liver, blood pressure, blood fat unhealth and other weight-related health risks. For instance, high blood pressure in children has tripled in the last 10 years, and one in eight kids has two or more heart disease risk factors, while more than one-third of kids and teens is overweight or obese. Shockingly, The American Academy of Pediatrics now requires pediatricians to monitor calcium and blood pressure at age two and complete a lipid profile between the ages of two and eight.

So, how’d we get in this mess? Our diet.  It’s killing us—and here’s one of the newest studies released on the topic.

Interestingly, what killer foods don’t have in them makes them unhealthy, too—no notable nutritional value as far as healthy proteins, carbs or fats, and the lack of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other important nutrients.  Speaking of enzymes. . . processed foods and snacks few or no enzymes, but without enzymes, the body suffers. In short, your life, health and vitality rely on adequate amounts of enzymes in the diet, but conventional foods can’t supply the enzymes you need.

Some foods do provide the nutrients and life-giving enzymes you need, however, and a few of my favorites are enzyme-activated foods whose nutrition is “unlocked,” resulting in increased levels of vitamin C; carotenoids; B vitamins, including B2, B5 and B6; and other important vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Enzyme- packed foods are also easier to digest, while neutralizing phytic acid, a substance which inhibits the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc—all important minerals for health.

Examples of enzyme-activated foods to enjoy for their protein, healthy fats, enzymes and other nutrients include almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds—among others—which, fortunately, can also be the basis for other healthy snacks, including crackers, cookies and even cereal.

Don’t let yourself or others fall victim to killer foods. Reach for life-giving, “living” foods instead.