Monthly Archives: August 2015

Foods that Cause Gas

Though presence of some amount of intestinal gas is normal, there are certain eatables that can lead to its excess formation. Passing of gas is a normal physiological process. On an average, a healthy individual produces about 1-4 pints gas daily, and at the same time, passes gas about 10-14 times per day. Its unpleasant smell released through the rectum (flatulence) is due to presence of sulfur, in addition to hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and at times, methane. Even though this process is normal, it can create an embarrassing situation when other people are present. Hence, understanding its sources and causes will help in minimizing the frequency of flatulence. On that note, read the following paragraphs, which give a list of the foods that cause gas.

Basics

There are two major sources of intestinal gas, such as air swallowed through mouth and gas formed by bacteria that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract. Usually, a small amount of gas is swallowed during ingestion of food and drinking of water, which is then passed out either as burping or though rectum. Maximum amount is released by the intestinal bacteria while breaking down the undigested food particles that contain complex carbohydrates and fiber.

Food Products that Cause Gas

Food bloating in an individual may not be the source of gas for other people. On a general note, carbohydrate rich foods trigger the production of gas in the body. On the contrary, foods that contain high amounts of proteins, fats, and insoluble fiber produce less amount of gas. Following is a list of the food items that are known to cause excessive gas formation.

Milk and Dairy Products: Lactose, a natural sugar present in milk, is one of the most common causes. Gas formation due to consumption of dairy products is higher among people who have lactose intolerance symptoms. If such is the case, one can include yogurt and cheese in the diet, rather than consuming milk and other dairy products.

Vegetables: Certain vegetables, such as beans, potatoes, artichokes, asparagus, carrots, corn, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, onion, peas, celery, and other legumes are found to cause gas in many individuals. Hence, for combating the symptoms of this condition, one can minimize the amount of these vegetables in the diet.

Some Fruits: Sorbitol is another triggering factor. It is a natural sugar found in many fruits, such as apples, peaches, plums, and prunes. Other fruits include bananas, apricots, melons, grapes, and raisins. One can substitute such fruits with other alternatives for managing the symptoms of frequent passing of gas.

Fiber-rich Foods: High fiber diet that contain foods rich in soluble fiber (e.g., oat bran, beans, and some fruits) can also be a cause. In order to identify the causes, one can avoid intake of high amount fiber rich foods at a time. Instead, increase the amount of fiber in the diet plan subsequently.

Other Foods: Other eatables are sweeteners, fatty foods, and carbonated beverages. Artificial sweeteners, like mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol may aggravate gas production in some people.

It is to be noted that the amount of gas released due to a particular item is not the same for everyone. Also, limiting gas-inducing food may result in cutting down the consumption of healthy food. In order to avoid such circumstances, it is always advisable to consult a qualified dietitian while making a healthy diet plan that will reduce gas formation.

Healthy Eating Tips for Children

Children have a large appetite in their growing years and require a lot of energy as they are involved in a lot of physical activity. Nearly all the essential nutrients are obtained from dietary sources.

Nutrition Guide for Children
The required nutrients and their sources are as follows:

Carbohydrates: They provide energy required by our body to perform any physical activity. Staples like grains and cereals, starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, beans, bread, pasta, etc., contain high amount of carbohydrates. They should be included in the meals every day, as our body constantly requires energy.

Proteins: Proteins build and repair body tissues, and also regulate body processes. They are also known as building blocks of the body. As they are the most essential nutrients, one must have a regular intake of protein-rich foods like milk, cheese, tofu, poultry, meat, beans, lentils, peanut butter, nuts, and seeds.

Vitamins: Every vitamin has a specific function. Deficiency of any of the vitamins can cause serious disorders. Therefore, vitamins-rich foods must be regularly consumed. Spinach, carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, apricots, peaches, etc., contain vitamin A. Vitamin B is found in whole grains, bread, cereals, poultry, meat, and eggs. Citrus fruits, dark green vegetables, mangoes, etc., contain vitamin C. Milk, eggs, fish, margarine, and sunlight provide vitamin D. Vegetable oils, butter, egg yolk, milk contain vitamin E, whereas, green, leafy vegetables, and milk contain vitamin K.

Minerals: Calcium is an important mineral required by our body for normal growth and development. Along with it, other minerals like potassium, iron, magnesium, and sodium are also needed in lesser quantity. Most of the minerals are found in milk, vegetables, and poultry.

The Food Pyramid

The food pyramid concept is suggested by most of the nutritionists. (Take a look at the picture given alongside) It gives us an insight about the amount of various foods to be consumed for a healthy life. The pyramid is divided into four parts horizontally. Grains and cereals are placed at the lowermost part (largest part) of the pyramid. Hence, they must be consumed in a large quantity. The second part consists of vegetables and fruits which must be consumed in equal amount. The third part contains dairy products and proteins, also to be taken in considerable amounts. The topmost (smallest) part consists of foods containing oils, fats, and sugars. They must be consumed minimally.

Tips on Healthy Eating

☞ Parents must schedule family meals regularly at a specific time. This will help children learn to have complete meals, rather than having quick mini-snacks. As it is observed from the above nutrition guide that vegetables, fruits, grains, and milk contain nearly all the required nutrients, they must be included in meals regularly.

☞ Parents should make a variety of healthy options available for children to choose from. They should also encourage children to try new foodstuffs. Do not provide sweets, candy, popcorn, and chips during meals. Also, aerated or sweet drinks must be completely avoided during meal times.

☞ It is a universal complaint that children do not opt for vegetables and fruits. Parents must make vegetable dishes look attractive and tempting. They can include more vegetables in sandwiches or even make vegetable soups, pies, etc. Children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits instead of fruit juices. Meat dishes should be prepared on alternate days. Parents can also opt for low-fat food alternatives.

☞ Parents must set a good example before their children by themselves opting for healthy meals. Children usually imitate their parents. If parents try different foodstuffs, children will be eager to follow. Parents can involve children in planning and preparation of meals. They can be encouraged to provide ideas about the daily menu. They can be involved in buying foodstuffs for meals or their lunch boxes. This will make them feel concerned and connected.

☞ The most important thing that parents should keep in mind, is not to force their children to eat. Forcing anything will make children dislike the food altogether. Instead, help them realize the nutritional value of foodstuffs. Parents should let children decide when they are full, and not force them to eat.

☞ Also, parents must not completely deprive children of sweets and junk food. This will only make them crave for more. Just cut down the amounts gradually, and make it ‘once-in-a-while’ dish. Healthy foods like salads, soups, veggies, etc., should be chosen when eating out. Parents must try to avoid processed and junk food for children.

Lastly, as a quick tip, make meal time a tension-free and conflict-free zone. Children will definitely look forward to healthy meals, and that will ease your worries.

How to Eliminate Pantry Pests

Almost all dry, stored food products for people and pets, such as flour, crackers, pasta, dry dog food, and even birdseed are susceptible to being invaded by a host of different six-legged vermin who can make your life, or at least your cooking, quite unpleasant. These food invaders are commonly called ‘pantry pests’ by those in the know, and their specialty is rendering food unfit for consumption. Anyone who’s encountered them can attest to the fact that it can take a full-fledged war, sometimes a lengthy one, to get rid of them for good.

To get rid of pantry pests and prevent them from coming back, the first step is a thorough and detailed examination of all materials in your house to determine what pests you’re dealing with, and how extensive the infestation is. Often there is more than one type of pest doing damage, or different life stages of the same pest. To wage the most successful war, you need to know your opponent and use the most appropriate weaponry. The most prevalent pantry pests fall into one of 3 major categories: beetles, moths, and worms.

Flour and Grain Beetles

If you see small reddish-brown colored beetles around your cereals or other grain products, you can bet that you have an infestation of ‘bran bugs’, a common name that can refer to any of the several types of beetles. The saw-toothed grain beetle gets its name from the 6 ‘teeth’ located on each side of its throat. It’s very tiny, only about 1/10 of an inch long, and is thin, flat, and dark red or brown in color. This type of beetle is commonly found in packaged grains and cereal products, seeds, nuts, dried meats, dried fruits, and candy. It lays its eggs on or near the food, often inside plastic wrappings. The eggs hatch into small buff-colored, worm-like larvae which eat for a few weeks and then pupate for a week before hatching into the adult form of the beetle, which can live in your pantry for 2-3 years.

2 other common beetles are the red flour beetle and the amusingly-named confused flour beetle, both of which are reddish-brown and about 1/7 of an inch long. They feed on grains, cereals, dried peas, beans, some drugs, and even cayenne pepper. Hundreds of them can live and reproduce in a single box or bag of food, and if that box or bag is in a pantry, the adults can migrate throughout everything else in the pantry and infest everything they find attractive. Foods in open containers that are untouched for long periods are particularly susceptible. Because the female beetle deposits sticky eggs that are concealed by the food, it can be easy to miss them before they hatch and come to the surface.

There are dozens of other beetles that can take up residence in your food and make life miserable, including the cigarette beetle, cabinet beetle, larder beetle, and spider beetles. All of them are fond of infesting grain products or dried foods, and some have particular interesting proclivities. For example, the drugstore beetle has an extremely varied diet that can include even inedible items such as cosmetics, drugs, and even strychnine. Drugstore beetles have been known to bore through a whole shelf of books, or chew through rolls of aluminum foil or sheets of lead! Some species of beetle pests can produce up to 5 generations in just one year, so a severe infestation can develop in just a few months if you don’t try to prevent it.

Worms and the Moths They Turn Into

Most people who see tiny worms in their flour or cereal call them ‘mealworms’. That term can be applied to a whole host of pantry pests, all of which are associated with grain products, usually ones that are damp, not regularly used, and stored in undisturbed out-of-the way places such as basements. The yellow mealworm is one of the largest insects that infest cereal products with its adult form being a black beetle about ½” long. Full-grown yellow mealworm larvae are about an inch long, tubular, and rather hard-shelled. It generally takes about a year for the worms to develop into adult beetles. Dark mealworms are very similar except for their color. Both species are often reared by the hundreds in pet foods kept in pet stores. And when you bring an infested bag home for your pet, you may have unknowingly infested the rest of your pantry as well.

Flour moths are among the most common of all pantry pests. Adults have a wingspan of about ¾ inch, and they are often seen flying around the infested area. The larvae damage stored food products and take about 7 weeks to develop into adult moths. The Indianmeal moth is the king of flour moths, being strikingly marked by coppery-colored wings that are about ½ inch long. The larvae are beige or pinkish, and they form webs across the surface of infested material. Its slightly smaller cousin, the Angoumois grain moth, is often confused with moths that attack clothing. Their favorite diet is popcorn, and they develop into their adult stage in 5 weeks or less.

How to Control Pantry Pests

The only way to completely eliminate and control pantry pest infestations is to follow a systematic, complete control program and maintain a good prevention program afterward. Taking any shortcuts or eliminating any steps may result in total failure and a re-infestation.

Carefully examine all susceptible foods. Look for signs of infestation, such as webs, dead beetles, pupae, living beetles, or larvae. Throw away any foods that are heavily infested, or that have signs of previous infestations.

To keep infested food, heat it or chill it. If the food that’s been infested is valuable to you and you want to keep it, you can either heat the food at 130 °F for at least 30 minutes, or you can place it in a deep freezer at 32 °F for at least 4 days.

Clean up. Empty all shelves and vacuum the entire area, paying close attention to the edges and corners of cabinets. Wash the shelves and cabinets with warm soap and water.

Spray shelves lightly with insecticide. Particularly in the cracks where the shelves and the wall come together, spray an insecticide labeled for use in kitchen cabinets. If a sprayer is not available, use a paint brush to apply the insecticide. You can use 1% proposur (Baygon), 0.5% diazinon, 0.5% chlorpyrifos (Dursban), or 0.25% resmethrin.

Cover clean shelves. After the insecticide spray has dried, cover the shelves with clean, untreated shelf paper before you replace the food and dishes. Be sure not to use insecticide-treated shelf paper, since you’ve already sprayed the shelves.

Use secure containers. Now that your pantry is pest-free, be sure to store your food in clean, airtight containers that new pests will not be able to invade. Be sure to check your stored, dried products from time to time, especially if you don’t use them very often. At the first sign of an infestation, remove the container from your pantry and either throw it away, cook it, or freeze it.

With planning and foresight you can prevent dealing with a pantry infestation. But even if one occurs, you can take care of it fairly easily by following the plan outlined above. Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can take whatever steps are necessary to prevent a re-infestation. Keeping your pantry free and clear of all invaders can protect not only your food, but also your health. Hence, do whatever you can to keep those insect marauders from bugging you.