Why is it important to eat a balanced diet?
Eating a balanced diet is vital for overall health and wellbeing. The food we eat provides our body with all of the energy, protein, essential fats, vitamins and minerals to live, grow and function properly – this is why it is so important to eat a balanced diet that is filled with those very things. Similarly, regular exercise is also an important part of a healthy lifestyle as it will improve general wellbeing and mobility as well as assisting and improving your body’s digestive flow
There is good evidence that eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly reduces your risk of obesity and illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and some types of cancer.
A healthy diet is always important, regardless of your age. As we go through life, our specific nutritional needs may change – especially if we are affected by a condition or disease which has specific dietary needs or if we choose to make a lifestyle choice which affects the food we eat. Explore some of these dietary needs and health conditions below and find out more about the dietary changes that are required.
- Coeliac Disease
What is Coeliac Disease?
Coeliac Disease is an autoimmune disease where the immune system of an affected person reacts abnormally to gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, triticale, spelt and oats), causing damage to the small intestine (also known as your small bowel).
The lining of our small intestine is made up of tiny, finger-like projections called villi that increase the surface area of the lining of your intestine so that your body can fully absorb nutrients from the food you eat. When someone with Coeliac Disease eats gluten it triggers a reaction which damages those villi, flattening them and causing inflammation which stops and/or limits the absorption of nutrients.
Gluten is harmless to people who don’t have Coeliac Disease, however, for someone with the condition it can cause them a world of pain. Symptoms of Coeliac Disease vary from person to person, however, the damage still occurs even if a person has no external symptoms. Symptoms tend to include;
- diarrhoea or constipation
- vomiting or nausea
- a bloated abdomen (tummy)
- excessive wind, pain or cramping
- sudden or unexplained weight loss
- fatigue, weakness or lethargy
- iron deficiency, anaemia or other vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- bone or joint pains
- recurrent mouth ulcers and/or swelling of the mouth or tongue
- easy bruising or skin rashes
- confusion or irritability
- failure to thrive or delayed puberty in children
- hair loss
For those with Coeliac Disease there is no cure or medication you can take to stop the damage, however, there is a treatment. People living with coeliac disease must not eat any form or gluten – whether it be in food, drinks or even medication.
A person with coeliac disease needs to eat a completely gluten free diet; that is, a diet that is free from gluten from sources such as wheat, barley, rye, triticale, spelt and oats. Eliminating gluten from the diet improves the condition and eventually ends all symptoms of the disease. In order for individuals with coeliac disease to maintain optimum health, they need to continue eating a strict gluten free diet throughout their life.
But whilst a gluten free diet is critical for someone living with Coeliac Disease, it’s also important that people living with Coeliac Disease also maintain a healthy lifestyle; eating a balanced gluten free diet filled with the nutrients their body needs and exercising regularly in order to achieve optimum health and avoid other dietary related diseases and conditions in the future.
What Kuranda Wholefoods Products can I eat if I have Coeliac Disease?
The good news is, the entire range of Kuranda Wholefoods snacks and mueslis are endorsed by the Coeliac Society of Australia and made in an entirely gluten free factory. This means that you can have peace of mind with every single bite, knowing you are enjoying a healthy treat that is not only gluten free, but also packed with nutrition! Enjoy products such as our Kuranda Wholefoods Chia Bars (gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, low GI and low-fructose) or Kuranda Wholefoods Natural Muesli Blends as well as every single product in our range!
- Low FODMAP Diets
- What is the FODMAP Diet? What are FODMAPS?
The low FODMAP Diet was developed by Dr Sue Shepherd in 1999. She had found, through her PhD research, that limiting FODMAP containing foods was an effective treatment for people living with symptoms of IBS.
FODMAP is an acronym referring to the complex names for a collection of molecules found in food that can be poorly absorbed by some people;
Oligosaccharides (eg. Fructans and Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS))
When these molecules are poorly absorbed by the digestive system, they then continue their journey along the digestive tract, arriving at the large intestine where they become a food source for the bacteria that live there. The bacteria of the large intestine then digest/ferment these FODMAP’s, causing symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) such as abdominal bloating, excess wind, pain and cramping, nausea, changes in bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation or both) as well as other gastro-intestinal symptoms.
What foods can I eat on a Low FODMAP diet? What foods should I avoid on a Low FODMAP diet?
People on a low FODMAP diet should avoid foods such as;
High Fructose Foods: honey, apples, mango, pear, watermelon etc
Foods High in Fructans: wheat, barley, rye, leek, onion, artichokes etc
Lactose Containing Foods: Milk, icecream, custard, yogurt and other dairy products
Foods High In Galacto- Oligosaccharides: legumes, lentils, chickpeas etc
Foods High in Polyols: Apples, apricots, avocadoes, pears, plums, mushrooms, additives such as sorbitol (420), xylitol (967) etc.
For those on a FODMAP diet, there are two phases. The first phase is generally quite strict and involves the avoidance of all High FODMAP foods. This is only followed for a period of 6-8 weeks and then you enter the second stage where the diet is then tailored to suit each individual. As this is a diet that varies from person to person, it is recommended that you see an experienced dietitian who will advise you on both phases of the low FODMAP diet and will come up with a plan that works best for you.
What Kuranda Wholefoods Products Suit a Low-FODMAP Diet?
If you’re currently following a low-FODMAP’s diet, you don’t have to miss out on delicious treats! A number of Kuranda Wholefoods Products are perfect for anyone on a Low-FODMAP’s Diet (either stage one or two), including our Chia Health Bars and Organic Quinoa Blend Muesli.
What is the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo Diet is based off the diet of people living in the Paleolithic era (over 10,000 years ago). During this time, people ate a very basic diet; focusing on whole foods with no processed or refined foods.
The Paleo Diet focuses on:
- an increased protein intake
- lower carbohydrate intake
- high fibre intake
- reduced intake of trans fats and polyunsaturated fats
- increased potassium intake
- lower sodium intake
People following a paleo diet don’t eat any processed or refined products, including all grains and dairy products. There are a number of paleo-subtypes such as the primal diet which is similar to the paleo diet, however, includes the addition of whole dairy products. For people following a paleo diet, variety is essential and it’s recommended that they enjoy a diet with plenty of fish, fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, seeds, nuts and heart healthy oils such as flaxseed, walnuts, almonds, avocado, coconut and olive oil. As the diet is often high in energy and fat, regular exercise is important to maintain a healthy weight and improve overall health. What Kuranda Wholefoods Products are suitable for a Paleo Diet? We are always looking to develop products that suit a range of dietary needs and choices. If you’re currently following a paleo or grain-free diet, try starting your day with our Blueberries and Coconut Paleo Blend Muesli.
- Blood Sugar level
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a complex condition, often described as a ‘chronic’ condition, which can affect the entire body. It requires daily self-care and protection against complications. There are several different types of diabetes; however, all are complex and serious. The three main types of diabetes are type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes (which can occur during pregnancy).
In order for our bodies to work properly, we need our bodies to convert glucose (sugar) from food into energy. This is achieved by the use of a hormone called insulin which is responsible for this conversion. For someone with diabetes, their body can’t maintain healthy levels of glucose in the blood as their body doesn’t produce sufficient amounts of insulin. When we have too glucose much in our blood stream it can lead to health complications – both long and short term
When someone with diabetes eats glucose through foods such as bread, cereals, fruit and starchy vegetables, legumes, dairy products and sweets, that glucose cannot be converted into energy. This then causes the glucose levels in the blood to rise, potentially causing complications, however, these blood glucose levels can be monitored and managed through self-care and treatment.
How does Diet Affect Diabetes?
People living with diabetes need to be aware of what they’re putting into their body in order to maintain optimal health. It is recommended that people with diabetes;
- Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day instead of three large standard meals
- Reduce their fat intake, particularly saturated fat /li>
- Eat snacks between meals if taking insulin or diabetes tablets to manage blood glucose levels.
- Match their food intake with their energy needs to ensure they avoid weight gain or weight loss
- Exercise regularly to help with the management of blood glucose levels, reduce cholesterol and maintain a healthy weight
- Eat heart healthy fats (from sources like nuts and seeds, avocado and oily fish) to ensure a good intake of essential fatty acids and vitamins
- Choose low GI foods wherever possible
- Limit sugar consumption
- Crohn’s Disease
- What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s Disease is a bowel disease which causes inflammation and ulcers in the digestive system. It typically affects the wall of your lower small intestine (ileum) and large intestine (colon), however, it can affect any part of your digestive tract; from the mouth to the anus.
The inflammation caused by Crohn’s Disease extends through the entire thickness of the bowel wall and can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, weight loss and many more. The symptoms of the disease range from mild to severe and sufferers will often experiences times where they are symptom free and then experience a “flare up” where the symptoms either intensify or appear suddenly.
How does Crohn’s Disease affect your Diet and Lifestyle?
There is no cure for Crohn’s Disease, however, there are treatments to help ease symptoms and prevent complications. Treatment of the condition will vary from person to person and will vary depending on the severity of your condition and symptoms.
If you have Crohn’s Disease, it’s essential that you eat a healthy, balanced diet to achieve optimum health. You may also find that certain foods intensify your symptoms (such as high fibre foods) so it’s important to get some advice from an experienced dietitian. As with any person looking to achieve optimal health, it’s important that you exercise regularly and keep active to minimise your risk of developing other health conditions.
What Kuranda Wholefoods Products are suitable for people with Crohn’s Disease?
A healthy, balanced diet is essential for anyone suffering from Crohn’s Disease. All of our Kuranda Wholefoods Products have been developed to be both nutritious and delicious. Why not try our Organic Natural Muesli Range or Quinoa Bars for a healthy, goodness packed addition to your daily diet. Nutritious, high energy foods such as our Kuranda Premium Nut & Honey Bars are also perfect for anyone who has dealt with nutritional deficiencies or weight loss due to Crohn’s Disease.
What is Obesity?
Obesity is a condition where excess body fat affects your health. It generally happens as a result of eating more energy than you need (eating more kilojoules than you burn through daily activities/exercise and bodily functions), however, there are also many other causes. Being obese increases your risk of a number of health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and some types of cancer.
How can a Healthy, Balanced Diet Treat Obesity?
The only treatment for obesity is weight loss, however, effective weight loss takes time and effort and it’s important that it is done in a healthy way. Weight loss is more successful and sustainable if you improve your diet and eating habits whilst also increasing the amount of physical activity you do. This will allow for new, healthier habits to become a part of your daily life.
It’s important that all people follow a healthy, balanced diet, however, it is essential for those who are looking to lose weight. The following strategies are helpful for both healthy weight loss and weight maintenance;
- Eat a moderate amount of protein
- Reduce your fat and sugar intake
- Enjoy heart healthy fats in moderation (from sources such as nuts and seeds, avocadoes, olive oil, oily fish etc)
- Incorporate plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet
- Drink plenty of water
- Choose healthy snack options
- Be wary of your portion sizes
What Kuranda Wholefoods Products are suitable for a Healthy Lifestyle?
All of our Kuranda Wholefoods Products have been developed to be both nutritious and delicious. With gluten free, low fat, low GI, high protein and refined sugar free options, there is something for everyone! Try adding in a Kuranda Health Bar to increase your intake of heart healthy fats or try our Nut Free & Organic Tropical Muesli Blend for a nutritious breakfast option that will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
- High Blood Pressure
What is High Blood Pressure?
High Blood Pressure (also known as hypertension) means that your blood is pumping at a higher pressure than normal through your arteries. This can result in a number of complications, including heart attack, kidney failure or stroke. More often than not, those with high blood pressure do not have any noticeable symptoms until complications occur.
Our heart is responsible for pumping blood around our body through the blood vessels. Blood pressure is the amount of force exerted on the artery walls by pumping blood and it can be both high and low. High blood pressure means that your blood is pumping harder than normal through your arteries. The added stress on your arteries from this can speed up the clogging of arteries with fatty plaques (atherosclerosis) which can then contribute to many illnesses, including heart attack and stroke.
How Can Diet Affect Blood Pressure Levels?
One of the biggest contributing factors for hypertension is an unhealthy lifestyle. Factors that may contribute to high blood pressure include;
- Hereditary factors (family history)
- Lack of exercise
- High sodium intake
- Heavy drinking
- Kidney disease
- Cigarette smoking
- High levels of saturated fat in the diet
- High blood cholesterol
- Maintaining a healthy BMI
- Limiting your intake of saturated fat
- Limiting your salt intake
- Eating a high fibre diet
- Quitting smoking
- Exercising regularly
- Eating food which naturally lowers your blood pressure such as berries and quinoa
- All Kuranda Wholefoods Products are perfect for including in a healthy lifestyle. Foods rich in magnesium, such as almonds which are found in our Chia and Almond Bars or Quinoa which is found in our Organic Quinoa Blend Muesli, also help to naturally lower blood pressure levels.
- High Cholesterol
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance which is naturally produced by the body and found in the blood. Cholesterol can also be found in food and is used for many different things in the body; however, having too much cholesterol in your blood can lead to a number of health problems.
When you have too much cholesterol in your blood stream, fatty deposits gradually build up in your blood vessels, making it harder for the blood to flow through. If the fatty deposits build up too much it may block the blood flow completely, causing a heart attack or stroke.
How Can Diet Affect Cholesterol Levels?
A healthy diet is fantastic for both reducing cholesterol levels and minimising the risk of developing high cholesterol. It is recommended that you;
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Participate in regular physical activity
- Manage your blood pressure
- Quit or avoid smoking
- Achieve and/or maintain a healthy body weight
- Reduce your intake of saturated fats
- Enjoy eating heart healthy fats in moderation
All Kuranda Wholefoods Products have been developed to be the perfect addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle; however, the nutrient packed nuts and seeds which many of our products contain are particularly helpful in the management of blood cholesterol.
Macadamia Nuts, which are found in our Choc Macadamia Bites and Macadamia & Apricot Seed Bars, actually contain plant sterols that limit cholesterol absorption. Enjoy heart healthy nuts in seeds in our Nut & Honey Bar Range, Wholefood Seed Bar Range, All Natural Muesli Range or Choc Bites today!
- Iron Deficiency
Why Do We Need Iron in Our Diet? What is Iron Deficiency?
Iron is an important mineral that is vital for various bodily functions, including the transportation of oxygen in the blood. Iron plays an essential part in providing energy for everyday life and helping our body to perform at its best.
Iron deficiency occurs when we don’t have enough iron stored in our body, causing fatigue, tiredness and decreased immunity, among other symptoms. Keeping our iron levels within healthy limits is vital for optimal health.
How Can I Make Sure I Eat Enough Iron?
Iron is found in a variety of different foods, including:
- Wholegrain cereals, meat, poultry and fish
- Dark leafy green vegetables such as broccoli or spinach
- Dried fruits like apricots, raisins and prunes
- Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are a good source of dietary iron, as well as whole grains such as quinoa and amaranth. Increase your iron intake by enjoying a Kuranda Premium Health Bar every day or try starting each day with our iron rich Tropical Blend Muesli with Organic Quinoa or our Organic Quinoa Blend Muesli.