By Dr. Mercola
Have you ever wondered how much vitamin C is in a serving of strawberries or what makes avocados so good for you? Or maybe you're interested to know which has more sugar: raisins or dates? It's questions like these that necessitated the creation of Mercola.com Food Facts.
Nutrition is key to staying healthy and avoiding chronic diseases. That's why I recommend virtually anyone starting out on the path to optimal wellness to adopt my nutrition plan. The plan provides a guide to changing your diet and lifestyle for the better, and it goes hand-in-hand with our Food Facts resource.
Now, when you add fresh vegetable juice to your diet, for instance, you can look up each ingredient and find out how its components, from vitamins and minerals to antioxidants and other phytochemicals, help keep you well.
Did you know, for instance, that blackberries contain impressively high levels of antioxidants or that the leaves and roots of eggplant have been used traditionally to treat stomach troubles and foot pain? This is just a sampling of the valuable information available at your fingertips via Food Facts. You'll also:
Discover nutrition facts, interesting trivia, uses around the world and important scientific studies about the healthy foods you consume
• Gain access to a wealth of delicious, healthy recipes that will surely fit your holistic meal plans
• Debunk common foods myths and misconceptions
• Find out where to shop for safe, naturally healthy foods
• Learn how consuming wholesome, healthy foods can help you stave off diseases and other common health problems
Wondering What to Eat? Check Food Facts First
One of our most popular articles is "The 9 Foods You Should Never Eat," so clearly many people are interested in eating right. However, misinformation abounds about which foods are really good for you and which are not. If in doubt about a particular food, look it up in Food Facts.
You can search alphabetically to quickly find out the types of vitamins and minerals in your food of choice. There's also interesting lore, historical information, relevant research studies, fun facts and recipe ideas (for even more recipe options, check out Mercola Healthy Recipes).
Mercola Food Facts is continuously expanding, so if a food you're interested in isn't there today, check back soon. We're adding new foods all the time. Here are more examples of the valuable insights you can find via Food Facts:
• One tablespoon of dill seed contains more calcium than one-third cup of milk
• Garbanzo beans contain high amounts of folate (71 percent of the daily value) and manganese (84 percent)
• Kiwi provides 273 percent of the daily-recommended amount of vitamin C in every 1-cup serving
• With about 60 percent monounsaturated fat oleic acid — the same amount as in olives — macadamia nuts provide a high amount of healthy fat while being on the low end of the carb spectrum
• The herb sage has been used to make a drink called the "thinker's tea" and may even help boost your mood
Why Is It so Important to Know What's in Your Food?
Satisfying your curiosity aside, knowing what's in your food is integral to taking control of your health. You may even be eating foods that are banned in other countries as shown in the video above.
If you eat a balanced, whole-food diet like the one described in my nutrition plan, you're probably getting adequate amounts of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function.
If not (and this applies to the majority of the U.S. population), there's a good chance you may be lacking important nutrients. Your age and certain health conditions (digestive issues and others) can also impact your body's ability to absorb the nutrients in your food.
For example, magnesium is among the most common nutrient deficiencies. Insufficient cellular magnesium levels set the stage for deterioration of proper metabolic function that typically snowballs into more significant health problems.
Most people can keep their magnesium levels in the therapeutic range without resorting to supplements by eating a varied diet, including plenty of dark-green leafy vegetables.
Seaweed and green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard can be excellent sources of magnesium, as are some beans, nuts and seeds, like pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds. This is precisely the type of information you can find using Mercola Food Facts.
If you know you need more of a certain vitamin or mineral in your diet, or you're interested in consuming more antioxidants, you can peruse the food options, find those that best meet your nutritional needs and plan your meals accordingly. As Hippocrates said, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food"!