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It may shock you to know that
the hole-filled rock-like substance,
known as coral, is actually an animal
and a vital part of the marine world.
Coral is a similar animal species to
the sea anemone and almost ap-
pears to be half animal and half
plant when you look into what coral
There are thought to be around
70,000 different species of coral
that are found throughout the
oceans of the world but are in abun-
dance in the southern hemisphere
due to the warm and tropical cli-
Coral species are generally divided
into two subspecies, depending on
how many tentacles the coral indi-
Those coral species with eight
tentacles are known as Alcyonaria,
which includes soft coral, sea fans
and sea pens. Those coral species
with more than eight tentacles are
known as Zoantharia, which in-
cludes the coral species that are
found in coral reefs.
The coral catches small fish and
animals such as plankton using
stinging cells on their tentacles, al-
though these animals obtain most
of their nutrients from algae. This
means that most corals depend on
sunlight and grow in clear and shal-
Coral reefs in particular play an
enormous part on maintaining such
a high diversity of life in the worlds
oceans as they not only provide ex-
cellent places for marine animals to
hide from oncoming predators, but
also act as a meeting and breeding
ground for thousands of species of
Many species of coral, such as the
staghorn coral (a hard species of
coral that branches out to look like
deer antlers), are today classed as
an endangered species due to the
severe decrease in the corals range.
Creature Feature Caribbean's coral
A big bowl of milk and cereal can
be a great way to start the day.
Many breakfast cereals and snack
bars contain nutrients that help
our bodies stay strong and
healthy. But some of these foods
are packed with too many vita-
mins and minerals.
According to a study by the En-
vironmental Working Group
(EWG), this extra fortification
may be more harmful than helpful.
The EWG is a non-profit group
that promotes public health.
Many kids' food makers adver-
tise products that are rich in vita-
mins and minerals. This appeals to
families who want to eat healthy.
But more isn't always better when
it comes to certain nutrients.
The EWG studied 1,556 break-
fast cereals and 1,025 snack bars
and found large amounts of vita-
min A, niacin, and zinc.
Among the products the group
tested, 114 cereals contained 30
per cent more of these three nu-
trients than what is recom-
mended by the Food and Drug Ad-
ministration (FDA). Of the tested
snack bars, 27 have more than 50
per cent of the recommended
amounts of vitamin A, niacin, and
Nutrition facts listed on pack-
ages are based on recommended
daily values for adults, who are
physically larger and require more
vitamins and minerals.
So when kids eat these cereals
and snack bars, they are getting
more nutrients than they need.
Nutrients in action
Vitamin A, niacin, and zinc are
best in fresh and unprocessed
foods that are in their natural
Vitamin A helps you see at
night. It occurs naturally in eggs,
meat, cantaloupe, carrots, and
Niacin is a vitamin that helps
our bodies make energy. It is
found in foods like fish, seeds, and
peanuts, as well as in whole grains
like wheat and brown rice.
Zinc helps our bodies fight off
infection. It is found in many
foods, including wheat-based
products, meats, beans, and nuts.
Children typically eat more than
one serving of cereal or snack bars
a day, in addition to taking vitamin
Eating large amounts of these
nutrients can be dangerous to
kids' health. Too much vitamin A
can cause liver damage, and high
levels of zinc can disrupt the
body's natural immunity, or power
to fight infection.
Vitamins and minerals help our
bodies grow and stay healthy.
That's why it's important to read
labels and think about the foods
we eat every day. If you have
questions about the right amount
of vitamins and minerals for your
body, talk to an adult.
Too much of a good thing!
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