How Does Food Impact Health?

The food we eat gives our bodies the "information" and materials they need to function properly. If our body don't get the right information through the food that we take, our metabolic processes suffer and our health declines.

If we get too much food, or food that gives our bodies the wrong

instructions, we can become overweight, undernourished, and

at risk for the development of diseases and conditions, such as

arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.

In short, what we eat is central to our health.  Consider that in light of Webster's definition of medicine: "The science and art dealing with the maintenance of health and the prevention, alleviation, or cure of disease."

Food acts as medicine--to maintain, prevent, and treat disease.

What does food do in our bodies?

The nutrients in food enable the cells in our bodies to perform their necessary functions. This quote from a popular textbook describes how the nutrients in food are essential for our physical functioning.

"Nutrients are the nourishing substances in food that are essential for the growth, development and maintenance of body functions. Essential meaning that if a nutrient is not present, aspects of function and therefore human health decline.

When nutrient intake does not regularly meet the nutrient needs dictated by the cell activity, the metabolic processes slow down or even stop." - Perspectives in Nutrition, Wardlow and Insel 

Get examples of food as information

In other words, nutrients give our bodies instructions about how to function. In this sense, food can be seen as a source of "information" for the body. 

Thinking about food in this way gives us a view of nutrition that goes beyond calories or grams, good foods or bad foods. This view leads us to focus on foods we should include rather than foods to exclude.

Instead of viewing food as the enemy, we look to food as a way to create health and reduce disease by helping the body maintain function.

The Salty Details

I have to admit it, I crave salty foods far more often than sweet ones.  And while salt did not work out so well for Lot's wife (see Genesis 19:26), it has always put a smile on my face!

Growing up, the only salt option was table salt, which was typically iodized to prevent goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland in front of the neck), which was a problematic issue back in the day. Today, as with most edible items for sale, there are numerous salt varieties to choose from.

But is there really much difference - apart from taste? Is one salt healthier than another?

The answer to both (of my own) questions is "No". Table salt and sea salt are both comprised of sodium and chloride. That said; because sea salt's particles are larger, you may find you experience a better "salt lick" effect when you use this salt variety because the grains can linger on your tongue a bit longer.


In terms of health, regardless of the type of salt you ingest, sodium needs to be reined in to protect against rising blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to 2,300 mg/day (=1 tsp/day) for healthy individuals and 1,500 mg/day (approximately 2/3 tsp) for those who have high blood pressure--even if their blood pressure is controlled with medications. 


Whether you have high blood pressure or not, you likely need to cut back on your salt intake as it's been found that most Americans actually eat twice the recommended amount each day!


Here are three ways to scale back on the sodium you ingest:

  1. Significantly limit your consumption of fast foods, canned soups, and pre-packaged meals. These each contain a mother lode of salt!
  2. When dining out, ask for low sodium options or meal preparation.

     3. Pump up the flavors of the foods you do prepare. Adding the zest of    

         citrus fruit, chopped fresh herbs, and dried seasonings such as    

         cumin,  curry, and black or red pepper can give your taste buds the

         thrill they seek - without all that harmful sodium.


Lisa Morrone @

Fruit Jams: Make Your Body Healthier

Knowledge is power. By knowing the truth about fruit jams you will be able to make positive, healthy decisions, and choices when it comes to your diet. The choices you make today for yourself and your family will define their eating habits for generations.

How can Jam make my body healthier? It’s loaded with sugar, and corn syrup and HFCS, and stuff I can’t even pronounce. All Jams are not created the same. Not all jams have the same amount of sugar, some don’t have corn syrup in them, nor do they all have HFCS.

Higher quality jam is not made with HFCS most use real Pure Cane Sugar. Many high-quality jams are GMO-free, gluten-free, loaded with fiber and may contain less sugar than conventional jams, jellies, and preserves.

Of course, there is the common sense approach that everything in moderation is the best way to go. Fresh fruit is always a healthy choice for you but trying to spread a whole apple across a piece of toast just isn’t the same as a nice teaspoon of fresh jam.

There are many health benefits provided by fruit jams.

  1. Unlike butter, margarine, Nutella, and cheese, Jams do not contribute to the cholesterol and fat content of your body. Jam helps maintain a healthy weight when following recommended serving sizes.
  2. Pectin is a substance contained in all fruits. During the heating process of making jams, this substance gets modified. The modified pectin can help reduce your chance of developing cancer, as well as: Improve the health of hair, skin, and fingernails, decrease bone loss, reduce constipation and diverticulitis and help the body form red blood cells. (caution to those suffering from diverticulitis, seeds in jams may irritate this condition, please consult your doctor before consuming jams containing seeds.)
  3. Jams are rich in sugar and a great source of Energy and Fiber. They curb hunger, helping us to eat less and be satisfied without cravings (please note this is not the case when consuming Jam made with High Fructose Corn Syrup). By doing so they also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  4. Since they are high in calories, the weight loss seekers and those diagnosed with diabetes should use jams sparingly. For more information about Diabetes and your Diet please read Eating Well With Diabetes.  It is important that we know the Truths and the Myths regarding Sugar and how it affects our bodies.
  5. Jam made with chunks of healthy fruit can help reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack and all other potential cardiovascular diseases.
  6. Jam has most of the health benefits of fruit, most notably, heart-healthy, cancer fighting antioxidant power. It can help reduce the risk of developing various cancers, particularly mouth, stomach, and colon-rectum cancer. In pregnant women, reduce risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.
  7. Jam is a concentrated source of nutrition when made with fully ripened fruits.


Preparation of mixed fruit preserves generally involves the use of added pectin as a gelling agent, although most fruits contain a degree of pectin, added pectin helps ensure a nice gel and healthy shelf life.

There are various types of mixed fruit jams made globally. Fruit jam can be made from sweet or savory ingredients. Properly, the term mixed fruit jam refers to a product made with a blend of whole fruit, cut into pieces or crushed. The different fruits used in mixed fruit jam usually vary. Fruits are heated with water and sugar to activate the pectin in the fruit. The mixture is then put into containers. It comes in myriad varieties.

The nutritional value of today’s Jams is not 100% lost as they were when our grandmothers stood over a stove cooking down fruit for hours and inadvertently cooking out all the wonderful nutrients.

By adding sugar and pectin (depending on the type of pectin) some jams only have to cook at boiling for as little as ten minutes instead of two and a half hours. This helps retain the natural nutritional value of the fruit while ensuring shelf stability. This is why choosing a jam that utilizes fresh fruits, healthy ingredients and proper production is an important health decision.

Knowing that choosing the right fruit jam as a main staple in your life, and indulging in a health-conscious lifestyle will not only give you great peace of mind, but also a healthy happy future to embrace.

Jam’s first benefit is the mere fact that eating it instead of butter or margarine on your toast is a huge upgrade in healthy eating.  It also has benefits that are a direct result of the antioxidants, amino acids, minerals and vitamins inherent in the fruits jam is made of.

Health benefits range from helping to heal cuts and wounds, to providing energy, to lowering blood pressure. (These benefits are more prevalent with jams as compared to jellies & preserves but all three have potential.)

Before we get into some fun recipes let’s just briefly define the difference between jam, jelly, and preserves.

  • Jelly: Jelly is made from fruit juice.
  • Jam: Jam is made from whole fruit pulp and tends to be thicker than Jelly.
  • Preserves: Preserves are made from whole fruit and tend to be chunkier than Jam or Jelly.

Jam is the jelled puree which is made with the flesh and juice of both vegetable and fruit. Along with sugar and water it is heated which helps to activate pectin. It is also made with the combination of various fruits such as peaches and plums. As it has no free liquid, it is easy to spread. The fruits such as blueberries, apricots, peaches, cherries, raspberries, pineapple, strawberries and rhubarb should be mixed with the high pectin fruits to set or gel. It is also known as conserves.


It has a very long history. Culinary matters of cookbook of 1st century Rome has the recipes to make jam. It was used as a diet in Middle East where there is ample amounts of sugar. In Britain, it was brought by Crusaders. It reached to West Indies by Spanish where the fruit was found in abundance and this method was used to preserve fruits.

The US immigrants have their own recipes of making jam but the book was prepared on 17th century. In New England, honey, molasses and maple sugar was used to provide the sweet taste.

Nutritional value

One tablespoon of jam contains:

6.09 g of moisture

569 calories

0.07 g of protein

0.01 g of total lipid fat

0.05 g of ash

13.77 g of carbohydrate

0.2 g of dietary fiber

9.7 g of total sugars

It also provides:

0.02 mg of copper

1.8 mg of vitamin C

0.1 mg of iron

0.015 mg of vitamin B2.

   How to make:   


  • Fruits 2 ½ cups diced
  • One lemon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons (metal)
  • Measuring cups
  • Knife, cutting board
  • Spatula
  • Jar with lid


  1. The fruit should be cut into large chunks.
  2. The sugar and fruit should be mixed with a pinch of salt using a pot. Heat it to the medium till it has chunky texture.
  3. Boil the mixture and stir if frequently.
  4. When bubbles become thicker and smaller. Cook till it becomes set.
  5. After turning off the heat, it should be poured to the jar and screw the lid.