Millions of well-intentioned American parents, unbeknownst to them, are over-fortifying their kids with too many nutrients. That’s according to a report published earlier this year by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
EWG, an American-based health and research organization, analyzed the nutrition facts labels for 1,550 breakfast cereals and found that 114 cereals were fortified by the manufacturer with 30 percent or more of the adult Daily Value of vitamin A, zinc, and/or niacin. They also looked at 1,000 snack bars and found that 27 common brands were fortified with 50 percent or more of the Daily Value of at least one of those nutrients.
Among the most fortified cereals were:
The most fortified snack bars included
When foods are fortified, vitamins and minerals that aren’t originally in a food are added by the manufacturer. Classic examples include adding vitamin D to milk, iron to flour, fiber to cereal, and iodine to salt. Since 1998, folic acid has been added to breads, cereals, and other products that use enriched flour in an effort to reduce Spina Bifida and other serious birth defects. The idea of fortification was developed almost 100 years ago to treat common nutrition-deficiency diseases.
But it is possible to consume too many fortified foods, especially by children, because the Daily Values are set for the needs of adults not kids. Furthermore, the Daily Value standards were set in 1968 and so some are higher than levels currently deemed to be safe. (more…)
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Missing the trace mineral magnesium in your diet can lead to a host of chronic health disorders that are often misdiagnosed. Magnesium is required in over 350 different enzymes, plus hundreds of essential functions in the body. In her informative book, The Miracle of Magnesium, Dr. Carolyn Dean writes that there has been a gradual decline of dietary magnesium in the United States, from a high of 500 mg/day at the turn of the century to barely 175-225 mg/day in 2010. Recommended dose for women over 30 years of age can be 320 mg per day.
Much of the cause for this decline has been linked to industrial farming and food processing. If the soil we grow our food in is lacking essential minerals, than the vegetables, grains, fruits, beans, legumes, seeds, and nuts are lacking those minerals as well. A hefty percentage of magnesium is also lost when removing the bran from grains in the refining process.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, Americans are critically lacking in adequate amounts of magnesium with men receiving only 80 percent of the recommended daily allowance and women receiving only 70 percent. This lack of magnesium can lead to a list of common health disorders. The irony is that many of the pharmaceutical drugs used to treat these conditions only deplete magnesium and other essential minerals further. If you suffer from any of these health conditions or know of someone who does, consult your doctor and have your levels of magnesium checked. Taking supplemental magnesium and eating foods high in the mineral can help to reverse these conditions.
Phosphorus is best known for the role it plays in bone and teeth development; however, getting enough is also important for many other things. It plays a crucial role in the body’s utilization of protein, fat, and carbohydrates so they can be used for overall growth, maintenance, and repair of the body’s cells and tissues. This mineral also helps with the production of ATP, adenosine triphosphate, which is an important molecule the body uses to store energy.
Most phosphorus can be found in protein-rich foods like meat, milk, and eggs. If you consume a diet that is rich in calcium and protein, you’re probably getting enough. In fact, most Americans have no problem getting enough of this micronutrient. Additionally, breads and cereals are often fortified with it; however, the form of phosphorus found in these products is typically not as absorbable by the body.
According to the Institute of Medicine, the average adult needs 700 milligrams of phosphorus each day. Requirements are based on age and vary for each age group. Children between the ages of 0-12 months need 100 – 275 milligrams per day, 1-3 year olds require 460 milligrams per day, 4 – 8 year olds need 500 milligrams per day, and those between the ages of 9 and 18 require 1250 milligrams per day.
By Michelle Schoffro Cook for Care2.com
Minerals are essential in cancer prevention. Here are 5 of the top cancer-prevention minerals:
1. Calcium: A proven protector against colon cancer, this mineral is integral for maintaining the health of bones and teeth, blood clotting, and cellular metabolism. Excellent sources of calcium include: nuts and seeds, carrot juice, dark green vegetables, salmon and sardines.
2. Iodine: This mineral is found in sea vegetables like kelp, dulse, and Celtic sea salt. It helps protect the body from breast cancer and is required for energy and the growth and repair of healthy tissues.
3. Magnesium: This mineral protects against cancer in general, maintains the pH balance of the blood, as well as aids the formation of your body’s genetic material RNA and DNA. While damaged genetic material can put you at risk for cancer, magnesium helps with the repair work. It is found in many foods, including: nuts, fish, brown rice, whole grains, and green vegetables.