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What we eat has a powerful impact on the way our body functions - it affects everything from our weight and our heart and bone health to our skin, hair and even our mood.

Since almost all of our products are made fresh each day, the nutritional values provided are only averages. Please be aware that we cannot guarantee that the products are completely nut-free. We only use extra virgin olive oil in our salad dressings. Olive oil is regarded as a healthy dietary oil because of its high content of monounsaturated fat (mainly oleic acid) and polyphenols. For literally centuries, the juice of the olive has proved to be a key dietary ingredient promoting good health. The olive is a fruit rich in goodness and its oil has always been highly sought after. Described as "liquid gold" by Homer, olive oil remains symbolic of "longevity, strength and fertility".

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables bring variety in flavour, texture, colour and appearance to your meals and snacks. Not only that, they are bulky and satisfying without adding a lot of kilojoules. As a group they make an extremely valuable contribution to your diet because they are low in fat, rich in fibre, an important source of folate and packed with nutrients including vitamin C and a range of protective antioxidants including the colourful carotenoids.

Although we all know that fruit and vegetables are good for us, we actually have very little scientific information about why this is so. What we do know is that when scientists have looked at disease patterns and diet among different groups of people, they have found that where people eat more fruit and vegetables the prevalence of disease is lower.

Protein- rich foods provide us with many important nutrients

Lean red meat, poultry, fish, dairy foods and eggs are excellent sources of a wide range of nutrients essential for long-term health and vitality. Lean red meat (beef, lamb and veal) is the richest source of well-absorbed iron, which helps move oxygen around our bodies and is essential for normal brain development and function. Red meats are also a useful source of omega-3 fats and are rich in zinc, which helps boost our immune system. Fish and seafood are important sources of omega-3 fats, which help protect the heart.

Dairy foods such as low-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese are also rich in protein, riboflavin, (vitamin B2) and calcium (in fact, 2-3 units ensure you will achieve your daily calcium requirements, vital for strong bones). Eggs contain protein, vitamins A,D and E and B-group vitamins, as well as the minerals iron, phosphorus and zinc. They are relatively low in saturated fat, and are also an import source of antioxidants.

Lean red meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs are all excellent sources of vitamin B12, a micronutrient that plays a key role in protecting our DNA and nervous system.

To grow and develop you need protein. This vital nutrient helps to create, maintain and renew the tissues in your body. In fact, every living cell, fluid or process in your body contains or needs proteins. Enzymes and some hormones such as insulin are proteins and play vital roles in the body's day-to-day processes. Your muscles and vital organs are made up of protein. Proteins are also important in making antibodies, which help you fight infection and disease.

Protein-rich foods help you feel satisfied for longer. Protein-rich foods such as lean red meat, poultry and fish will keep the hunger pangs at bay for much longer. Their high satiety value means that you feel fuller longer.

Iron - giving you energy

Iron is an essential mineral in your diet. You need it to form haemoglobin, which helps transport oxygen to every part of your body. Iron deficiency, the most common nutrient deficiency in the world, leads to tiredness, lack of energy and poor stamina. It's a common problem for women of reproductive age. Women need much more iron than men (about twice as much) due to blood loss through menstruation and the demands of a developing baby during pregnancy. On top of this many women in Australia do not obtain the recommended daily amounts of iron for a variety of reasons - they don't eat much red meat, they skip meals and they go on very restrictive diets that eliminate whole food groups. Vegetarians can also be at risk of iron deficiency. However, legumes, leafy greens, iron-enriched products (such as cereals), brewer's yeast and dried fruits are all useful plant sources of iron, especially when combined with vitamin C-rich foods.

There are two types of iron - haem iron (from animal sources) and non-haem iron from plant sources. Your body can absorb haem iron much more readily than non-haem iron. So although certain plant foods contain significant amounts of iron, the amount your body absorbs is only 2-5 per cent of it. On the other hand, your body will absorb 15-25 per cent of iron from an animal source.

Good sources of iron include the following:

Haem iron - Lean read meat, chicken, fish and seafood are good sources of haem iron. The best are lean red meat, liver, kidney and heart, which have around twice as much iron as chicken and three times as much as fish. Oysters are a good source.

Non-haem iron - Legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas) *Eggs (the yolk) *Cereal grains, wholegrain and wholemeal breads, iron-fortified breakfast cereals *Dark green leafy vegetables, including cabbage, broccoli *Dried fruits *Nuts and seeds

Zinc - life would not be the same without it

Zinc plays a crucial role in growth and cell division, where it is required for DNA and protein synthesis (important in the building and repair of muscle and tissue, which is why zinc helps cuts and wounds heal). It's a component of many enzymes, which is why you need it for carbohydrate and protein metabolism. Zinc also helps us fight infections, as it is essential for a strong immune system - have you noticed how many cold and flu preparations contain zinc? Life would simply not be the same without zinc, as it is vital for your ability to taste, smell and see.

Men need more than women because male semen contains 100 times more zinc than is found in the blood. The more sexually active a man, the more zinc he needs to produce healthy sperm.

As with iron, the adequacy of dietary zinc depends not only on your overall intake, but on how much you actually absorb. Animal sources of zinc enhance absorption. Phytic acid, however, found in plant sources such as whole grains, legumes and some other vegetables, is an inhibitor.

The best sources for zinc are as follows:

Animal sources - lean red meat, lean white meat, fish and seafood (oysters are the richest by far - 10 times greater than lean red meat, which is number 2), dairy foods and eggs Plant sources - legumes, nuts (particularly cashews and peanuts) and seeds (pumpkin seeds provide one of the most concentrated food sources of zinc, which is useful for vegetarians) whole grains (the outer husk of cereal whole grains contains zinc, but it's lost when those products are
refined)

Omega-3 – one of the “good” fats of life

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to healthy growth and development, playing a vital role in every cell, tissue and organ in your body. For example in the heart, the cells are more regulated and beat on time when you have enough omega-3s. They are useful in the treatment of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and can protect the body against heart disease.

There are two types of omega-3s
1. Short-chain omega-3 fatty acids come from plant sources, such as green leafy vegetables, canola oil, linseed oil, soybean oil and mustard seed oil.

2. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids come from fish and seafood, especially oily fish, such as sardines, ocean trout, Atlantic salmon, smoked salmon, tinned salmon, Australian salmon, fresh tuna, tinned mackerel, mullet, Australian herring, blue-eyed cod, tailor and calamari. The second largest source in the Australian diet after fish and seafood is red meat.
As your body doesn't produce omega-3s, it relies on the food you eat to obtain them. Oily fish will give your omega-3s a real boost. White fish have much smaller amounts of omega-3s, but they will help you reduce the total amount of fat in your diet. In fact, eating fish of any kind, even in small amounts, reduces your risk of heart disease.

Remember, a balanced diet of nutritious, natural food is a big part in keeping healthy and staying active.

This information has been sourced from the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia's national science agency, has been dedicated to the practical application of knowledge and science for society and industry since 1928 and today ranks in the top one per cent of world scientific institutions in twelve of twenty-two research fields. CSIRO Health Sciences and Nutrition conducts research into human health. For further information www.csiro.au

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