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Get the Facts About Healthy Foods and a Proper Diet
Healthy foods are often said to be the biggest piece of the puzzle that makes up a healthy life. However, it is important that people know what it means to eat healthy. There are numerous healthy foods and associated nutrients that you want to get into your daily diet to ensure that your body is properly fueled. Once you have this information, it is much easier to craft a diverse and fulfilling diet.
Fruits are healthy foods that are nutrient dense, but they are also sweet, giving you a healthy choose when you are battling a sweet tooth. These healthy foods are often recommended to ensure the body is getting sufficient nutrients to reduce the risk of deficiencies. Some key nutrients in these include fiber, vitamin C, potassium and B vitamins. This is true whether you opt for fresh or frozen foods in this category.
Fruits are also rich in phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are chemicals that are naturally occurring in plants and they are responsible for providing their smell, color and flavor. Research shows that these play an integral role in health and provide benefits, such as helping to reduce inflammation, regulating hormones and boosting the immune system. Some options that are rich in phytochemicals include blueberries, cherries, citrus fruits and apples.
Getting plenty of fruits in your diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The heart-healthy benefits are due to the fiber, potassium and because these healthy foods are low in unhealthy fats and high levels of sodium. The B vitamins help to promote energy while the fiber also aids with promoting healthy digestive function. The antioxidant vitamin C is commonly found in fruits, especially limes, oranges and other citrus fruits. These healthy foods are also low in calories making them ideal for weight management and loss.
The USDA states that adults should be eating two to four servings daily of fruit. Fruits are ideal for snacks and as part of total healthy meals. Aim to eat a variety each day by varying the colors. You might also consider substituting a traditional dessert for some fruit and frozen yogurt, or similar healthy foods, for an extra boost of nutrition.
When you think about healthy foods, vegetables are certainly at the top of the list. All vegetables have a diverse nutrient profile, ranging from important vitamins and minerals, to fiber to trace minerals, such as manganese and copper. These foods are also low in calories and fat, making them an ideal choice for those seeking healthy foods for weight loss or management.
Those eating enough vegetables are getting vitamin C and A which are important for the immune system and eye health, respectively. You will also get a dose of potassium for healthy blood pressure and bones, and folate to ensure that the body has what it needs for sufficient red blood cell production. The fiber in this food group provides further heart-healthy benefits, including helping to reduce heart disease risk and cholesterol levels.
You should aim to get three to five vegetable servings each day, according to the USDA. Aim to eat at least three different types of vegetables each day to ensure the nutrients you are getting from them is as diverse as possible. For a little extra nutrition and flavor, consider choosing vegetables that are different colors and adding some cheese to them. Frozen foods versions of vegetables are a good option if you cannot find fresh options.
When it comes to cheese and other dairy products, you get a healthy dose of calcium which is critical for bone health and development. These healthy foods also provide a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B12, vitamin A and riboflavin. The diverse array of nutrients in dairy products are important for helping to reduce Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk.
Cultured dairy foods, such as yogurt, are also rich in probiotics. These help to ensure that the gut has sufficient healthy bacteria to enhance overall health.
Two to three servings of dairy foods every day are recommended by the USDA. Dairy includes healthy foods, such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Enjoy yogurt with breakfast and add some cheese to a meal to get the daily recommendation. Some of the healthiest cheese options include feta, mozzarella, Parmesan, Swiss and cottage cheese. Frozen foods in this category or fresh provide similar nutrient benefits.
Meat and Protein
Protein is the macronutrient in meat products and other items in this food group that gets the most focus. This nutrient is the building block of muscles, skin, bones, cartilage and blood, and it is also necessary for repairing tissues, making hormones and producing enzymes. Many meat products and healthy foods in this category are also rich in iron and this mineral is critical for ensuring oxygen is efficiently transported in the blood. The vitamin B 12 found in these foods is necessary for healthy nervous system function and bone development.
Your immune system benefits thanks to the zinc contained in meat products, especially beef. A single serving of beef also ensures that your body is getting the amount of selenium it needs daily. This nutrient is important for a number of reasons, including promoting efficient thyroid function and helping to prevent cell damage.
The USDA recommends two to three servings daily. In addition to meat products, other healthy protein options include beans, nuts, eggs, fish and poultry. Getting a serving of meat products and other healthy foods in this category in two of your three main meals each day is enough to reap the benefits of the nutrients they provide. You can also add fresh meats to healthy frozen foods for a simple and quick meal.
Those not engaging in a low carbohydrate lifestyle want to incorporate whole grains into their daily diet. Whole grains are rich in multiple nutrients that are important, such as B vitamins, fiber and a number of minerals, including magnesium, iron and folate. Fiber is among the most imperative nutrients since it not only helps to keep the digestive system regular, but it also plays a roll in total cardiovascular health. Those seeking to lose weight can also benefit from this nutrient since it helps to satiate your appetite.
B vitamins are known for their helping to promote energy. These vitamins help to ensure the body is able to release energy from fat, protein and carbohydrates. The body needs iron to help ensure oxygen can be efficiently carried in the blood. Magnesium helps to release energy from the muscles and it is needed to build healthy bones. The immune system needs selenium to function optimally.
It is recommended by the USDA that adults get six to 11 servings of whole grains per day. There are numerous healthy sources, such as whole wheat breads, pastas and foods, such as oatmeal and flaxseed. Getting whole grains into your snack choices and in all three of your daily meals is generally sufficient.
Treats and Junk Food
It is okay to have a treat once in a while as long as the rest of your diet is providing the nutrients and calories your body needs. Just remember that moderation is key. For example, if you consume too much sugar, there is a heightened risk of diabetes and tooth decay. Too much sodium may contribute to high blood pressure and getting high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat may enhance your risk of heart disease.
Make sure to read nutrition labels and ensure that what you are eating are truly healthy foods. Whether you invest in fresh options or choose frozen foods, with a little research, you can ensure that you are giving your body the nutrients it requires for optimal functioning. In addition to this information about healthy foods, talk to your doctor to get an annual physical. This can help to ensure that your body has what it needs to be healthy. It also provides insight into any issues that might require dietary changes.