Fiber Chart: Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables

Greetings to you,

I have included a handy chart below that shows some of the best foods high in dietary fiber.  There are many magnificent health benefits available from eating fiber in foods.  According to the Mayo Clinic website, dietary fiber can help control blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, maintain bowel health, relieve constipation, help with a healthy weight, and prevent cardiovascular disease.

Fiber is the bulk or roughage part of plant foods that the body can’t digest or absorb.  When it is eaten in foods, it passes through the body relatively unchanged.  This helps to detoxify the body, keeps it clean inside, and helps its organs function well.  In addition, the vitamins and minerals present in these plant foods contribute to and support all these benefits.

This news is provided to you by Nutrition Breakthroughs.  Since 2001, Nutrition Breakthroughs has supplied nutrition articles and effective natural remedies.  Their mission is to provide nutritional supplements that work well and help people avoid drugs and their side effects.

Since 2009, their natural sleep aid Sleep Minerals II has been keeping that promise — by soothing even the worst insomnia and helping everyone from teenagers, to women with menopause symptoms, to older seniors, to get a good night’s sleep.  For more information, visit the Sleep Minerals II page.

To your good health,

Jobee Knight
Nutrition Breakthroughs
Shared courtesy of Sleep Minerals II

Best Laxative Foods: Studies on Flaxseed, Aloe Vera, Yogurt, Magnesium

laxative foodsIt can make a person feel so healthy and energetic to have smooth digestion and elimination, and it can feel equally as bad to experience an upset stomach, constipation or diarrhea.

With infrequent bowel movements, the digestive tract can retain a large quantity of toxic material that can accumulate over time and contribute to many chronic health problems and conditions. Nature has provided us with some time-tested and research-supported laxative foods that not only relieve constipation but also deliver many additional health benefits.

One of these foods is flaxseed, which has been proven to have a dual effectiveness for both constipation and diarrhea.  The study on flaxseed comes from the Natural Products Research Division of the Aga Khan Medical College in Pakistan.  Flaxseed oil and its gel-like fiber was given orally to people and it caused a dose-dependent increase in looser bowel movements – meaning that the higher the dose, the more effective it was. Flaxseed is also an effective remedy for hot flashes, other menopause symptoms and high cholesterol.

When studied for its anti-diarrheal effect, flaxseed oil reduced diarrhea by 50%, when it was induced by giving castor-oil.  This effect was discovered to be from the ability of flaxseed oil to prevent low potassium levels.  The researchers confirmed the medicinal use of flaxseed for both constipation and diarrhea, with a sound basis for both.

Aloe vera leaves are commonly used as a remedy for constipation and the laxative effect of their plant chemicals is well-proven.  In one study of 28 adults, aloe vera had a laxative response that was stronger than a stimulant called phenolphthalein.  The German Commission E, which is a governmental regulatory agency that has evaluated the usefulness of 300 different herbs, has approved aloe vera laxative preparations for use as a constipation treatment.  Aloe vera is also rich and vitamins and minerals and it enhances dental health when used as a mouthwash, heals canker sores and helps heal burns.

The stomach-friendly bacteria in yogurt known as “probiotics,” have been increasingly researched as a remedy for constipation.  Scientists from the School of Medicine at King’s College in London reviewed 14 studies involving 1,182 participants. The consensus of the studies is that certain strains of probiotics from supplements can speed up the movement of food through the intestines and it increase stool frequency.  Probiotics are widely available in supplements, yogurts (unsweetened is best), and foods such as sauerkraut and pickles. Probiotics are also known to strengthen immunity and encourage healthy skin.

Magnesium is a long-time, traditional and effective cure for constipation. A recent study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirmed this by their study of magnesium in 3,835 women in Japan — 26% of which had constipation.  The researchers found that low magnesium intake was associated with an increase in constipation.

They also discovered that dietary fiber intake, intake of water, or water from other fluids were not associated with constipation. However, low intake of water from foods was definitely related to constipation.  The foods highest in water content include vegetables and fruits, and these are a great assistance for achieving smooth stomach health.

Magnesium is also a proven remedy for insomnia, heart health, bone strength and headaches. In one study from the Romanian Journal of Neurology, researchers conducted biochemical and neurological tests in cases of restless leg syndrome with insomnia. The investigators reported several examples of sleep disorders. They found agitated sleep with frequent periods of night time awakenings and a decrease of the duration and percentage of the deeper rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.  These things are also found in other forms of insomnia that are caused by magnesium deficiency.

This health news is provided by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and supplier of effective natural remedies since 2002.  Nutrition Breakthroughs makes the original calcium and magnesium based natural sleep aid Sleep Minerals II, as well as Joints and More, the natural solution for joint relief, aches and pains, stronger hair and nails, and more energy.

Melatonin Rich Fruits for Sleep: Studies from Nutrition Breakthroughs

fruit melatoninGetting a good night’s sleep is a satisfying, energizing, and vital part of a healthy life.  However, per the National Sleep Foundation, almost six out of ten Americans report having insomnia at least a few nights a week..

Melatonin is a natural hormone made in the brain by the pineal gland that helps regulate the sleep and wake cycles.  Researchers in recent studies have found that eating tropical fruits such as pineapples and bananas, and also certain vegetables, can naturally increase melatonin in the body and help to improve sleep.

Melatonin levels start rising in the evening and go up to a peak level in the early hours of the morning, perhaps around 2:00 or 3:00 a.m, and then it reduces.  Melatonin production also declines with increasing age. This may partially explain why some people can sleep fine for a few hours and then suddenly find themselves wide awake in the night and unable to go back to sleep.

The research study showing how tropical fruits increase melatonin was published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.  Thirty healthy volunteers ate one fruit at a time with a one-week wash-out period between fruits.  Significant increases in melatonin were observed after eating pineapple (a 266% increase), banana (180%) and orange (47%).  The researchers made important discoveries about fruit consumption for those people with age-related melatonin deficiency symptoms such as sleeplessness and insomnia.

Eating more vegetables can increase melatonin levels in the body as well.  Ninety-four Japanese women participated in a recent study.  Half of the women ate high amounts of selected vegetables for 65 days, while the other half were told to avoid the same vegetables.

At the end of the study, the average daily intake of melatonin from eating the vegetables was 1,288 nanograms, while the non-vegetable group had an increase of a mere 5.3 nanograms.  (For reference, a nanogram is a common measurement in research studies and equals one billionth of a gram, and there are 28 grams in an ounce).  Another Japanese study tracked consumption of vegetables such as tomato, pumpkin, spinach, Japanese radish, cabbage, carrot, etc., and discovered there was 16% more melatonin in the women with the highest vegetable intake.

Supplements of synthetic melatonin are made commercially in a lab.  Because they often offer several milligrams per supplement, which is far more than the body makes naturally, common side effects of these supplements can include daytime sleepiness, dizziness, headaches, nightmares, anxiety and irritability.  Melatonin supplements are only recommended for short-term use and are best used under the guidance of a doctor.

In addition to fruits and vegetables, the brain can be assisted in its melatonin production by taking calcium supplements. William Sears, M.D. writes: “Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.”  It’s important to note that a balanced ratio of calcium and magnesium (in a 2 to 1 ratio) is important to overall health, and that these two minerals should be taken together for best results.

Digestibility and absorption are important factors in selecting the best forms of calcium and magnesium to use. For example, Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs is a natural insomnia remedy that contains highly absorbable forms of these minerals and it’s effective for sleeplessness and insomnia, as well as for heart health, restless leg syndrome, bone strength, menopause insomnia and teenage insomnia. Sleep Minerals also contains vitamin D and zinc and is delivered in a softgel form mixed with natural rice bran oil, making it better assimilated than tablets or capsules and providing a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.

Richard P. of Parkville, Maryland says: “The Sleep Minerals are making quite a difference.  I was regularly waking up at around 3:00 a.m. and after a few days of use my sleep improved quite a lot. I wake up once a night to go to the bathroom, but the great thing is, I then fall back asleep and sleep several more hours.  This has been a great improvement.”

Fruits, vegetables and absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium are good remedies to increase melatonin in the body and help with better sleep.  For more information, visit the Sleep Minerals II page.

Sleep Foods Chart: Top Proven Foods for Insomnia

Sleep foods chart
The National Institutes of Health reports that about thirty percent of the population experiences disrupted sleep and insomnia. Because sleeping drugs are addictive and come with side effects, many people are reaching out for natural sleep remedies.

Research studies are confirming that certain foods are high in the natural sleep hormone known as melatonin, and other foods are proving themselves good sources of potassium, calcium and magnesium.

In a study from the University of California San Diego, researchers examined the effects of potassium supplementation on sleep quality. A placebo-controlled study compared one week of potassium chloride supplements to one week of identical placebo capsules. Their results were published in the journal “Sleep”, and showed that potassium significantly increased sleep efficiency due to less awakenings after falling asleep.  Good food sources of potassium include bananas, baked potatoes, baked sweet potatoes and broccoli.

The tart “Montmorency” cherry contains a significant level of melatonIn per a study done at the University Of Texas Health Science Center. Cherries are available in a concentrated supplement form that can be taken in the evening to improve the quality of sleep. Other ways cherries can be eaten include fresh cherries, frozen cherries and cherry juice. Cherry juice should be diluted with water or sparkling water as it is high in natural sugars.

Researchers have measured the effect that different types of rice have as sleep remedies. Mahatma rice (low carbohydrate rice) was compared to Jasmine rice (high in carbohydrates) for their effects on sleep quality. The rice was eaten either four hours before bedtime or one hour before bedtime. The study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found  that a high carbohydrate-based meal resulted in a significant shortening of the time needed to fall asleep when eating it four hours before bed.  Brown rice is also a healthful choice.

Almonds are a very good source magnesium and can help with better sleep.  James F. Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes: “A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.” Eating a handful or two of almonds before bed can be helpful.

A recently released study on magnesium supplements for sleep came from the University of Medical Sciences in Iran. It included 46 older adults, aged 60 to 75, who were experiencing insomnia. However, it’s interesting to note that the researchers recommend their results be extended as a helpful aid to all ages of the general population.

The people were divided into two groups. One group received placebos, while the other received magnesium oxide tablets twice a day (250 milligrams each) for eight weeks. In the group that was given magnesium, the subjects experienced significant increases in sleep time, with less night time interruptions and fewer early morning awakenings. Magnesium can be found in dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains and avocados.

Jobee Knight, a nutritional researcher and founder of Nutrition Breakthroughs in Glendale, CA., is someone who fought her own battle against sleeplessness and insomnia. She decided to put her background to use by searching out effective natural ingredients for relaxation and deeper sleep.

The result was Sleep Minerals II, which contains highly absorbable forms of the best minerals for sleep and relaxation: Calcium and magnesium with Vitamin D. The ingredients are delivered in a softgel form with healthy carrier oils, making them more easily assimilated than capsules or tablets and providing a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.

Doctor P. of Houston, Texas says: “I had developed severe sleeping problems and took two different sleeping medications over the course of several weeks. When I discontinued them the insomnia came back even worse. Sleep Minerals II was just what I needed. I’ve been taking it and getting many hours of sleep a night. As a doctor I would definitely avoid prescribing sleeping drugs — I would recommend Sleep Minerals II.”

Chris M. of the United Kingdom says: “I take one softgel of Sleep Minerals II before bed every night and within 20 minutes I am asleep. The difference in the quality of my sleep and the ease with which I get to sleep using this product is monumental. I have stopped obsessing about sleep or dreading bedtime — I just take a softgel and drift off. If I stop taking them, within a week my sleep starts to lighten in quality, the amount of my sleep diminishes, and my old insomniac patterns reappear.”

For more information, visit the Sleep Sleep Minerals II page.