High-Fiber Foods Can Provide Long-Lasting Health Benefits

SaladBy Dr. Joseph Mercola, a physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine
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Shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs,
maker of the effective calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II
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Story At-A-Glance:

* National fiber recommendations call for a daily fiber intake of 30 to 38 grams a day for men, 25 grams a day for women between 18 to 50, and 21 grams a day for women 51 years and older. (Here’s a quick fiber reference from Nutrition Breakthroughs – One cup of cooked peas has 9 grams of fiber, an artichoke has 10, a cup of raspberries has 8 and half an avocado has 7).

* Epidemiology is the scientific study of the causes, spread, and containment of diseases within a population. A 2015 American Journal of Epidemiology study revealed that all-cause mortality was reduced by 10 percent for every 10 grams of fiber that a person added to their overall fiber intake.

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The body needs a combination of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to sustain its overall function, improve and support organs and systems, and prevent infections and diseases. Fiber is one of the most recommended nutrients, which is not at all surprising, since research has linked it with positive impacts towards different body parts, such as the gut, digestive system, brain and heart.

Unfortunately, many people around the world are consuming inadequate amounts of fiber, unaware of the potential health consequences if their body’s levels are too low.

What Is Fiber?

Dietary fiber is a plant-based nutrient that provides crucial health benefits. Sometimes called roughage or bulk, fiber is a carbohydrate that cannot be broken down into digestible sugar molecules. It usually passes through the body’s intestinal tract relatively intact, and can be categorized into:

Soluble fiber: This dissolves in water and then becomes a gel-like substance. Examples include gum, pectins, beta-glucans and mucilage.

Insoluble fiber:When it enters the body, this type of fiber retains its shape and doesn’t dissolve. Known insoluble fibers include hemicellulose, cellulose and lignin.

Why a High-Fiber Diet Matters

Both soluble and insoluble fiber are linked to valuable health benefits:

Helps optimize cholesterol levels by preventing some dietary cholesterol from being broken down and digested Slows down the rate at which nutrients are digested Aids in stabilizing blood sugar levels and preventing spikes in blood sugar levels
Helps diabetes patients by altering hormonal signals, slowing down nutrient absorption and altering fermentation that occurs in the large intestine Helps feed good bacteria in your gut Lessens the amount of time food spends in your colon and assists with eliminating it
Boosts skin health by moving yeast and fungi out of the body, preventing them from being excreted through the skin where they can cause acne or rashes Promotes satiety and weight loss, since once microbes in your gut digest fiber, a short-chain fatty acid called acetate is released and travels from the gut to the hypothalamus in the brain to signal you to stop eating Improves your sleep-wake cycles,as dietary prebiotics in fiber-rich foods have provided a significant effect on rapid-eye-movement (REM) and non-rapid-eye-movement sleep cycles

A high-fiber diet can also play a role in:

Reducing risk for obesity, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, hypertension, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, gallstones and kidney stones

Helping prevent leaky gut and constipation by absorbing fluid once it reaches the intestinal tract, allowing byproducts to stick to it

Providing relief from irritable bowel syndrome

A 2015 American Journal of Epidemiology study also revealed that a 10 percent reduced risk for all-cause mortality was recorded for every 10 grams of fiber you add to your overall fiber intake.

Some fiber-rich foods can further improve gut health by providing digestive-resistant starch. What makes this type of fiber special is its potential for fermentation in the large intestine. Resistant starches are able to feed healthy bacteria, act as prebiotics and bulk up bowel movements for easier elimination without making you feel bloated or gassy.

On the other hand, there are consequences linked to a low-fiber diet. Animal studies discovered that low-fiber diets trigger “waves of extinction” in the gut of mice, with the unhealthy gut potentially being passed on to the offspring. Each successive generation of offspring from the low-fiber group ended up with less bacterial diversity compared to their parents.

Plus, even after the mice were given high-fiber meals, the amount of good bacteria still remained low. This suggests a difficulty in repopulating certain good gut bacteria strains once they have been negatively impacted. Aside from depletion of healthy bacteria, consuming little to no fiber-rich foods can lead to:

Higher risk for constipation, hemorrhoids, and chronic and cardiovascular diseases

Weight gain

Increased cholesterol levels

How Many Grams of Fiber Should You Consume Per Day?

National fiber recommendations call for a daily fiber intake of 30 to 38 grams a day for men, 25 grams a day for women between 18 to 50 years old, and 21 grams a day for women 51 years old and above. However, my recommendation for an ideal fiber intake stands at 25 to 50 grams per 1,000 calories consumed, usually from fiber-rich foods. This amount may help boost your overall health and well-being.

Eat More of These High-Fiber Foods

To significantly raise your fiber intake, incorporate these high-fiber fruits and high-fiber vegetables into your meals. These can also double as high-fiber snacks you and your loved ones can munch on. Ten of the most notable fiber-rich foods to try include:

1. Split peas and green peas: Despite their small size, peas are a very good fiber source. Cooked split peas roughly contain 16.3 grams of fiber per cup, while cooked green peas have 8.8 grams of fiber per cup.

2. Artichokes: Fiber is one of the main nutrients in artichokes. A medium-sized cooked artichoke may deliver 10.3 grams of fiber.

3. Raspberries: A cup of these sweet antioxidant-rich berries has 8 grams of fiber.

4. Collard greens: Eating these low-calorie leafy greens can help raise your fiber intake, since a cup contains around 7.6 grams of fiber.

5. Blackberries: Another type of berries that contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, a cup of blackberries has 7.6 grams of this nutrient.

6. Avocados: Avocados aren’t just a source of healthy fats that are vital for overall health. Half an avocado typically contains 6.7 grams of fiber.

7. Pears: A medium-sized pear has 5.5 grams of fiber, alongside phytonutrients like beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

8. Spinach (with the leaves intact): Spinach is another fiber-rich leafy green – just one cup may provide you with 4.32 grams of the said nutrient.

9. Brussels sprouts: One cup of boiled Brussels sprouts can deliver around 4.1 grams of fiber.

10. Flaxseeds: These seeds have an impressive fiber content, with 2 tablespoons having roughly 3.82 grams of fiber.

You can also count on these high-fiber fruits and vegetables to deliver some amounts of this nutrient:

High-Fiber Fruits

Berries like strawberries, elderberries,cranberries and loganberries Stewed prunes
Dried figs or dates Apples with the skin intact
Bananas Oranges
Nectarines Grapefruits
Persimmons Tamarillos
Pomegranates Tomatoes
Kiwis

High-Fiber Vegetables

Broccoli Cauliflower
Pumpkins Onions
Sweet potatoes Jicama
Green beans Chicory root
Beetroot Fennel bulb
Shallots Savoy cabbage
Turnip greens, beet greens and mustard greens Summer and winter squash
Swiss chard Asparagus
Kale Fennel
Eggplant Chili peppers
Bell peppers Bok choy

Other fiber-rich foods include burdock root, tempeh, seaweed, couscous, cinnamon, cloves, hemp and chia seeds, and nuts like almonds, pistachios and walnuts. When buying fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, pick those that are fresh, organically grown and GMO-free, so you may be able to reap other nutrients and benefits these foods have to offer and avoid side effects linked to substances like pesticides and herbicides sprayed on conventionally grown crops.

Organic whole psyllium husk is also a good fiber source. When it interacts with water in your body, it swells and develops into a gelatin-like mass that helps move waste throughout the intestinal tract.  However, since some psyllium crops are sprayed with the mentioned substances, it’s best to purchase this fiber source organic, so you can avoid health risks.

Lastly, when eating fiber-rich fruits, do so in moderation because these may contain a type of sugar called fructose, which can negatively impact your health when consumed in excess.

Take Note of These Low-Fiber Foods

Some foods have been promoted to be a notable fiber source, when in reality, they actually contain low amounts of this nutrient. As much as possible, limit or entirely avoid your consumption of these low-fiber foods:

White bread without nuts and seeds White rice, plain white pasta and crackers Refined hot cereals or cold cereals with less than a gram of fiber per serving
Pancakes or waffles made from white refined flour Fruit and vegetable juice with little or no pulp Fruit-flavored drinks and flavored waters

Meanwhile, there are foods that are low in fiber, but provide other exceptional nutrients. These include grass fed meat, free range poultry, raw dairy, eggs and wild-caught seafood. Take note of these nutrient-rich but low-fiber fruits and vegetables too:

Low-Fiber Fruits Low-Fiber Vegetables
Cantaloupe Carrots
Honeydew melon String beans
Watermelon Lettuce
Papaya (if ripe) Acorn squash without seeds
Peaches
Plums

These low-fiber foods contain other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your body may benefit from, so make sure to still add them to your meals. Eating various fruits and vegetables greatly helps with balancing the amount of various nutrients (fiber included) in the body.

The Drawbacks of Eating Too Much Fiber

Believe it or not, there may be negative impacts linked to consuming too much fiber. Some side effects can occur if you increase your fiber intake very quickly, namely:

Bloating Abdominal pain
Flatulence Loose stools or diarrhea
Constipation Temporary weight gain
Intestinal blockage in people with Crohn’s disease Reduced blood sugar levels

If you or someone you know experiences nausea, vomiting, high-temperature fever or a complete inability to pass gas or stool after consuming fiber-rich foods or fiber supplements, contact a doctor immediately.

Are Fiber Supplements Worth It?

Fiber supplements may sometimes be recommended to help you add more fiber to your system. However, if you’re consuming a well-balanced, fiber-rich diet, then there may be little need for you to rely on these supplements. In fact, fiber supplements shouldn’t be considered alternatives to high-fiber foods.

Ideally, before taking fiber supplements, talk to your doctor first. If you have been given the go signal, drink at least 8 ounces of high-quality filtered water alongside the supplements. Generally, you can take these on a full or empty stomach. Don’t forget to drink more water during the day to prevent constipation, and avoid taking supplements before bedtime.

For people who were prescribed medicines because of certain conditions, it’s recommended that you take these at least an hour before taking fiber supplements, or between two to four hours after taking a fiber supplement. Fiber pills like psyllium husk supplements should be avoided altogether by people taking these medicines because of possible side effects:

Tricyclic antidepressants

Cholesterol-lowering medicines called bile acid sequestrants

Diabetes medications

Digoxin

Lithium

For Optimal Health and Well-Being, Consume Fiber-Rich Foods Today

Unless you consume more fiber than what your body actually needs, a high-fiber diet can be a win-win situation because of its well-researched links towards health improvement and against certain diseases. Purchasing fruits and vegetables high in fiber is a simple but potent way to improve your health at a fraction of the cost, without burning a hole in your pocket. Take note of the strategies above and strive to meet your recommended daily intake of fiber.

This article is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, maker of the effective calcium,
magnesium and vitamin D based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II.

How to Read Food Labels Without Being Tricked

By Adda Bjarnadottir, MS (Master of Science Degree in Human Nutrition |
Article Courtesy of Authority Nutrition

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Shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, maker of the effective
calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II
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how to read food labelsReading labels is a tricky business.

Consumers are more health-conscious than ever, so food manufacturers use misleading tricks to convince people to buy their products.

They often do this even when the food is highly processed and unhealthy.

The regulations behind food labeling are complex, so it’s not surprising that the average consumer has a hard time understanding them.

This article briefly explains how to read food labels, and how to sort out the junk from the truly healthy foods.

Don’t Be Duped By The Claims on The Front

One of the best tips may be to completely ignore the labels on front of the packaging.

Front labels try to lure you into purchasing products by making health claims. Manufacturers want to make you believe that their product is healthier than other, similar options.

This has actually been studied. Research shows that adding health claims to front labels affects people’s choices. It makes them believe a product is healthier than the same product that doesn’t list health claims (1, 2, 3, 4).

Manufacturers are often dishonest in the way they use these labels. They tend to use health claims that are misleading, and in some cases downright false.

Examples include many high-sugar breakfast cereals, like “whole grain” Cocoa Puffs. Despite the label, these products are not healthy.

This makes it hard for consumers to choose healthy options without a thorough inspection of the ingredients list.

Bottom Line: Front labels are often used to lure people into buying products. However, most of these labels are highly misleading or downright false.

Look At The Ingredients List

Peanut Butter Ingredients

Product ingredients are listed by quantity, from highest (first) to lowest amount.

That means that the first listed ingredient is what the manufacturer used the most of.

A good rule of thumb is to scan the first three ingredients, because they are the largest part of what you’re eating.

If the first ingredients include refined grains, some sort of sugar or hydrogenated oils, you can be pretty sure that the product is unhealthy.

Instead, try to choose items that have whole foods listed as the first three ingredients.

Another good rule of thumb is if the ingredients list is longer than 2–3 lines, you can assume that the product is highly processed.

Bottom Line: Ingredients are listed by quantity, from highest to lowest. Try looking for products that list whole foods as the first three ingredients, and be skeptical of foods with long lists of ingredients.

Watch Out For Serving Sizes

Nutrition Facts Back Label

The backs of nutrition labels state how many calories and nutrients are in a single serving of the product.

However, these serving sizes are often much smaller portions than people generally eat in one sitting.

For example, one serving may be half a can of soda, a quarter of a cookie, half a chocolate bar or a single biscuit.

In this way, manufacturers try to deceive consumers into thinking that the food has fewer calories and less sugar than it actually does.

Many people are completely unaware of this serving size scheme. They often assume that the entire container is a single serving, while it may actually consist of two, three or more servings.

If you’re interested in knowing the nutritional value of what you’re eating, you have to multiply the serving given on the back by the number of servings you consumed.

Bottom Line: Serving sizes listed on packaging may be misleading and unrealistic. Manufacturers often list a much smaller amount than most people eat as a single serving.

The Most Misleading Labeling Claims – and What They Actually Mean

Health claims on packaged food are designed to catch your attention and convince you that the product is healthy.

Organic Natural and Farm Fresh Product Labels

Here are some of the most common ones, and what they actually mean:

  • Light: Light products are processed to reduce either calories or fat, and some products are simply watered down. Check carefully to see if anything has been added instead, like sugar.
  • Multigrain: This sounds very healthy, but basically just means that there is more than one type of grain in the product. These are most likely refined grains, unless the product is marked as whole grain.
  • Natural: This does not necessarily mean that the product resembles anything natural. It simply means that at some point the manufacturer had a natural source (for example, apples or rice) to work with.
  • Organic: This label says very little about whether the product is healthy or not. For example, organic sugar is still sugar. Only certified organically grown products can be guaranteed to be organic.
  • No added sugar: Some products are naturally high in sugar. The fact that they don’t have added sugar doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Unhealthy sugar substitutes may also have been added.
  • Low-calorie: Low-calorie products have to contain 1/3 fewer calories than thesame brand’s original product. However, one brand’s low-calorie version may contain similar calories as the original of another product.
  • Low-fat: This label almost always means that the fat has been reduced at the cost of adding more sugar. Be very careful and read the ingredients listed on the back.
  • Low-carb: Recently, low-carb diets have been linked with improved health. However, processed foods that are labeled low-carb are usually just processed junk foods, similar to processed low-fat junk foods.
  • Made with whole grain: There is probably very little whole grain in the product. Check the ingredients list and see where the whole grain is placed. If it is not in the first 3 ingredients, then the amount is negligible.
  • Fortified or enriched: This basically means that some nutrients have been added to the product. For example, vitamin D is often added to milk.
  • Gluten-free: Gluten-free does not equal healthy. It simply means that the product doesn’t contain wheat, spelt, rye or barley. Many foods are gluten-free, but can be highly processed and loaded with unhealthy fats and sugar.
  • Fruit-flavored: Many processed foods have a name that refers to a natural flavor, such as strawberry yogurt. However, there may not be any fruit in the product, only chemicals designed to taste like fruit.
  • Zero trans fat: Trans fats are made during partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils, which means infusing them with hydrogen. “Zero trans fat” actually means “less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.” So if serving sizes are misleadingly small, the product can actually contain a lot of trans fat (5).

All of this being said, there are many truly healthy foods out there that actually are organic, whole grain, natural, etc. However, just having these labels does not guarantee that the product is healthy.

Bottom Line: There are many words that people link with improved health. These are often used to mislead consumers into thinking that unhealthy processed food is actually good for you.

Different Names for Sugar

Sugar goes by countless names, many of which you may not recognize.

Woman is Closely Examining Food Label

Food manufacturers use this to their advantage. They purposely add many different kinds of sugar to their products so they can hide the actual amount.

By doing this, they can list a “healthier” ingredient at the top, and mention sugar further down. So even though a product may be loaded with sugar, it doesn’t necessarily appear as one of the top 3 ingredients.

To avoid accidentally consuming a lot of sugar, it may be wise to look out for the following names of sugar in ingredient lists:

  • Types of sugar: beet sugar, brown sugar, buttered sugar, cane sugar, caster sugar, coconut sugar, date sugar, golden sugar, invert sugar, muscovado sugar, organic raw sugar, raspadura sugar, evaporated cane juice and confectioner’s sugar.
  • Types of syrup: carob syrup, golden syrup, high fructose corn syrup, honey,agave nectar, malt syrup, maple syrup, oat syrup, rice bran syrup and rice syrup.
  • Other added sugars: barley malt, molasses, cane juice crystals, lactose, corn sweetener, crystalline fructose, dextran, malt powder, ethyl maltol, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, galactose, glucose, disaccharides, maltodextrin and maltose.

There are many more names for sugar, but these are the most common.

If you see any of these in the top spots on the ingredients lists, or several kinds throughout the list, then you can be sure that the product is high in added sugar.

Bottom Line: Sugar goes by many names in ingredient lists, many of which you may not recognize. These include cane sugar, invert sugar, corn sweetener, dextran, molasses, malt syrup, maltose and evaporated cane juice.

Always Choose Whole Foods Whenever Possible

Obviously, the best way to avoid being misled by these labels is to avoid processed foods altogether.

However, if you decide to buy packaged foods, it is necessary to sort out the junk from the higher quality products.

Keep in mind that whole food doesn’t need an ingredients list, because the whole food IS the ingredient.

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This health news is shared 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 sleep aid Sleep Minerals II.

Article Source: https://authoritynutrition.com/how-to-read-food-labels/

Related Article: The Top Ten Nutrition Facts Everyone Agrees On — https://www.nutritionbreakthroughs.com/2016/05/10/top-10-nutrition-facts-everyone-agrees-on-nutrition-breakthroughs/

The Top High Fiber Foods and Studies on its Health Benefits

high fiber foods
Eating a high fiber diet is highly encouraged  by nutritionists and doctors, but what exactly is fiber and what are its benefits? Fiber or roughage is derived from the cell walls of plant foods. It cannot be digested or absorbed by the body.

Because fiber passes through the body undigested, it helps to keep the intestines clean, detoxifies the body and keeps the organs healthy.

Fiber foods like split peas, avocados, beans, oats, carrots, whole grains and nuts are good sources. Studies are showing health benefits for cholesterol, blood sugar, weight loss, digestive health and brain health.

Weight loss and fiber rich foods go together well. Researchers from the University of Massachusetts set out to show that simply eating more high fiber foods each day can be more effective than restricting foods in order to lose weight.

The participants were split into two groups — one that followed the eating plan suggested by the American Heart Association (including limiting calories, increasing fiber, and balancing fats, carbohydrates and proteins) and the other group which increased their fiber intake by 30 grams per day and changed nothing else.

The group that increased their fiber lost almost as much weight as the other group, with a simpler diet that’s easier to follow. The chart below provides some excellent examples of how to easily increase fiber in your diet.

According to WebMD, the fiber found in whole grains such as brown rice, nuts and vegetables are “Nature’s Laxatives”. For digestive and colon health, studies have shown that increasing dietary fiber can reduce the risk of colon cancer. Fiber acts to speed up the travel of food through the intestines and reduces the time that any toxic waste is in the body.

One research study published in an American health journal examined the relationship between a high-vegetable, high-fruit, low-fat diet and the occurrence of colon cancer. It found that the better the participants followed the high fiber plan, the lower their risk. In fact, the “super followers” had a thirty-five percent reduction in odds of the occurrence of colon cancer over the seven year trial.

Fiber can be a healthy component of brain health. One study on brain health was reported in the journal “Stroke”. A stroke is something that can occur if there is reduced oxygen-rich blood flow to the brain. Researchers in the United Kingdom analyzed seven studies having to do with fiber-rich diets and the effect on brain health. They discovered that for every seven grams more fiber a person eats each day, their first time risk of stroke goes down seven percent.

Seven grams of fiber can be found in three servings of fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, vegetables or fruits, and the study suggests that even just switching from white bread or pasta to whole grain versions of these can be of benefit.

Today is a great day to start adding as many high fiber foods as possible to each meal, for their delicious and healthful benefits.

This health news is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a provider of nutrition articles and effective natural remedies since 2001. 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.

Fiber foods This health news is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs

A Chart on Carbohydrates – Which are Healthiest?

Greetings to you,

Here is a great educational chart about carbohydrates including which ones are the healthiest, those that are not as healthy, and why. It’s almost a complete overview of carbohydrates contained in a picture.

One might think that carbohydrates are just things like cookies, cakes and bread.  Actually the healthiest carbs come from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.  The plant chemicals found in veggies and fruits are natures best remedies for many parts of the body including the eyes, brain, heart, glands and bones.  See some more interesting facts about carbs below.

To your good health,

Jobee Knight
Nutrition Breakthroughs
Maker of Natural Sleep Aids and Joint and Pain Remedies
Toll free: (888) 861-0326

Carbohydrates - good and badProvided by www.NutritionBreakthroughs.com