Change Your Diet To Change Your Life

Balancing your diet and your busy professional life can be a difficult task. Considering how you’re spending most of your time at work, you have little time for your nutrition and diet. But good health is necessary to live; how can you then make time to pay attention on your diet?

Actually you don’t need to, not much anyway as there are a few ways that you can modify your diet. These are very small and it takes almost no time to make these changes. Here are three small but very useful dietary modifications you can make:

Avoid Cooked Breakfasts

First thing in the morning the body is still in cleanse mode. As such it is important to avoid heavy, cooked breakfasts first thing as this is going against what your body naturally wants to do. Eat light breakfasts such as fruit first thing in the morning, which lines your stomach and may result in you eating less.

Alternatively, try eating something like porridge with flaxseeds or pumpkin seeds. Both of these seeds are a good source of omega-3 (another source of which is fish) which is good for the joints and can help prevent depression, and brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. So avoid cooked breakfasts in the mornings and opt for something that’s easier on your digestive system.

Reduce your portion sizes

You tend to lose track of what you eat and how much you eat when your mind is preoccupied. You’re worried about deadlines, presentations and meetings at work, so you don’t pay attention to how much you’re eating. You can, however, easily rectify this by simply reducing your portions sizes. Reducing your food intake means you don’t overeat, and you’ll be consuming only what your body really needs.

Overeating is one of the most common causes of obesity, acidity, high cholesterol and diabetes. By eating smaller portions you reduce the risk exponentially of ending up with one or more these conditions. In addition to reducing your portion sizes, try to eat more slowly so you can more easily recognize when you’re full, as well savouring the flavour of your food.

Drink more water

While caffeine may be beneficial in the short term by keeping you awake and alert, the extra sugar dosage you get from it is not. Avoid coffee if you can as it is an artificial stimulant. If you absolutely need it, try to skip the sugar or reduce the amount. In addition, increase the amount of water you consume throughout the day by keeping a water bottle with you and taking periodic sips from it. The water will keep you hydrated and refreshed throughout the day and reduce the need for coffee and other stimulants.

These small but simple dietary modifications will allow you to live a much healthier and more nutritious lifestyle. Contrary to popular belief, the key to a healthy lifestyle does not require big changes. Small modifications, much like the ones discussed in this article, can make a huge difference to the quality of your health and life. The challenge is to stick with them, not give in to temptation and be consistent.

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Eating Out? Make the Right Choices

Eating out is very common in today’s world. One does not want to be the odd one out by always refusing to eat out with friends, family and colleagues in a bid to eat good home cooked meals and sticking to their health goals. Also, people are travelling more from what they used to once – whether it is for work or for leisure. However, it is possible to have a balanced and healthy lifestyle while still eating outside of home. All that is needed is making sound choices.

While eating food at a restaurant or at a food café or at a buffet, we may not know which food options are loaded with fat and calories. This becomes difficult for people on weight loss programs or those with clinical conditions. But, it does not mean that they do not eat out. Today healthier options are available at restaurants and food cafés and good choices can be made at buffets.

Just following the simple guidelines below will help you make healthy and guilt free food choices:

1. Skip the fancy drinks

Both, alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks add to only calories in a meal. The margaritas, pina coladas and the other fancy drinks are laden with sugar. If a drink is must, a glass of wine or a simple martini can be an option. For those preferring a non alcoholic drink, buttermilk, jal jeera or a light lemonade can keep away the unwanted calories. However, plain water is always the best option.

2. Appetizers and Soups

Avoid fried or breaded appetizers, which are generally high in calories. Of course, you can also save calories by skipping the appetizer altogether. Steamed appetizers like momos, grilled chicken, dimsums, etc are good options. When choosing soups the best choices are broth-based or tomato-based soups. Cream soups, chowders and pureed soups can contain heavy cream or egg yolks.

3. Salad tips

Those opting for salads before the main course tend to eat fewer overall calories. However, avoid creamy cheese, honey based dressings, cheese, potatoes, bacon, fried noodles, croutons etc in salads as they are high in calories. Instead, squeeze a lemon or try rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar. If you want to order a dressing based salad ask for the dressing on the side as then the amount of dressing you put in the salad will be in your control. A salad with just some vegetables, corn, lean meat or beans could be a great filler. Stir fries can also be a great option instead of the salad to help you avoid eating more calories later.

4. Watch the portion sizes

At restaurants, since the dish ordered is usually sufficient for 2-3 people, split the dish with your partner instead of eating the entire portion yourself. If you are at a fast food restaurant, order the small sized meal instead of the large sized one. Let go of the fries and the carbonated beverages.

5. Make your meals low in fat

When you go out at a restaurant to eat always check how the food is prepared. Check whether the food is broiled, poached, grilled, baked, or steamed as it tends to be lower in fat than foods that are fried. Limit foods that come with cream sauce or gravy. Avoid or have butter, sour cream, gravy, and sauces served on the side. This will allow you to control how much you eat as they are high in fat and calories. While ordering for burgers and sandwiches avoid ordering them with cheese, bacon, and other sweet sauces and opt for whole wheat or multigrain bread with added vegetables. With sandwich meals, choose water and fruit or plain yogurt if they’re available, rather than sugary or carbonated drinks, chips, and fries. Choose seafood, chicken, or lean red meat rather than fatty or processed meats.

6. Add fruits, vegetables, and whole grains

At fast food restaurant ask if french fries can be replaced by fruit or salad. Order extra vegetables with pizza, sandwiches etc. Indian, Thai and Japanese restaurants have a lot of vegetarian options available. Always opt for brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat or multigrain bread and tortillas instead of white rice, pasta, or white bread.

7. Be aware of overeating at a buffet

Check the entire buffet before you start filling your plate. Always start with a soup (non-creamy, broth based), fill the plate with veggies; opt for non-fried and less oily options. Instead of sugar sweetened beverages opt for plain water, buttermilk or jal jeera. Avoid butter / oil laden kulchas, puris, parathas, butter nan and ask for plain wheat rotis. Instead of desserts go for fresh cut fruit plate. Always wait for 5 to 10 minutes before going for a second helping.

8. Be conscious of what you eat while travelling

At hotel breakfast buffets do not eat large portions. Have a healthy mix of foods rich in carbohydrates and proteins with some fresh fruits. Make healthier food choices at meal times. Always drink plenty of water during travel as that is one aspect often neglected. Pack healthy snack options like roasted makhanas, nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, dried fruits like dates, anjeer, apricots, raisins etc to avoid unhealthy snacking. Instead of drinking carbonated beverages always check for the availability of coconut water, buttermilk etc. Fresh fruits are also a good option to keep yourself from indulging in fried and other unhealthy foods.

Dining out does not by any means letting go of your health goals. Following the above tips will let you enjoy eating out with lesser guilt and keep you happy and satisfied. Today, healthy options are available when one wants to eat out, however the guidance on how to make right food choices is needed. Besides individuals taking care of their health goals today, we see companies investing in the health of their employees through their corporate wellness programs as their executives and other employees on the field are constantly on the go. Eating out need not be unpleasant – one can make it enjoyable with sound health with the correct choices. Also for some people it become difficult on weight loss programs or those with clinical conditions. But, it does not mean that they do not eat out. Today healthier options are available at restaurants and food cafés and good choices can be made at buffets.

Arati Shah is an expert nutritionist and she runs her own weight loss centre in Mumbai, Café Nutrition. Having earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition along with a Post-Graduation in Sports Sciences and Nutrition from S.N.D.T Juhu, she is one of the top child nutritionist in Mumbai who can also guide the concerned parents about the right nutrition for children with same efficacy. She heads the Nutrition team in Mumbai and takes personal interest in each and every client of Café Nutrition. In addition, her sports nutritionist programs are easy to follow as she works on bringing about a change with our regular food habits.

Health Foods – That May Not Be So Healthy

When it pertains to weight loss, a one-size-fit-all diet plan does not have great results. This is far more important considering that although some could be fine and also wholesome, they can on the other hand be detrimental for several individuals.

However, you will find lots of individuals who assume that since a food item is considered “healthy” and “good” suggests that they are totally free to eat just as much of it as they would like while not having any sort of consequence.

The argument regarding which food is good or not will possibly remain a never-ending one. There seem to be lots of divisive beliefs cropping up now and again. Having said that, there are particular things which just about everyone accept are not ideal whenever you might be looking to reduce weight as well as live a healthy life.

Exactly how bad any particular food item may be thought to be is actually debatable considering that any food item could be eaten in moderation without it having any kind of negative effect upon the individual.

It’s thus essential to take into account the overall quality as well as effects of some of the foodstuffs that you are eating just as much as you like right now while you may be reasoning that they would have zero influence upon your weight loss endeavors.

It is quite astonishing to notice many individuals eat so much highly processed foods thinking that they are truly nutritious for them.

Below are a number of common foods men and women are eating trusting that they’re eating wholesome foods.

Salad Dressings

Whereas the salad by itself is known as a way of consuming a healthy and balanced food, the dressing applied can nevertheless make it totally “harmful.” Plenty of the regular salad dressings contain a whole lot of sugar and used primarily vegetable oils including canola or soy oil. These kinds of toppings easily help to make the salad as harmful as the other foods the individual could be avoiding.

You could as an alternative dress your salads by using olive or vinegar oil. You could also look for a number of the far healthier salad dressings that don’t have added preservatives, vegetable oils and sweeteners.

Conventional Soy

All soy contains high quantities of phytoestrogens which many experts dispute to be either wholesome or unhealthy. At the same time, most conventional soy is mostly genetically improved and therefore raises a whole lot of wellness and safety questions. Try and keep soy intake to a minimum and also opt for the organic and whole food variants.

Yogurt

The majority of classic yogurts tend to be filled with lots of artificial sweeteners and/or sugar. The homemade yogurt or the ones that you are able to get from fresh milk from a local ranch are often very nourishing. Make use of Greek yogurt or get a very good high-quality organic plain yogurt then include your own preferred toppings.

Whole Wheat Bread

Thinking about it, wheat isn’t truly that much of a wholesome meal. So, including the “whole” to it isn’t going to essentially make it any better. Many of these kinds of food items include added quantities of sugar, oils, and also other unnatural ingredients. However, you can minimize the amount of the gluten or wheat which you consume in your diet.

Diet Drinks

This is yet another hugely controversial topic seeing that a number of people claim that the synthetic sweeteners they possess are usually worse compared to sugar. Then again, there are some data that are suggesting that they do have an indirect impact on weight addition. Drinking them in moderation is okay but remember that they will be replacing several much better beverage options including coffee, tea, or even pure water. Therefore think twice.

Uses and Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

When using a ketogenic diet, your body becomes more of a fat-burner than a carbohydrate-dependent machine. Several researches have linked the consumption of increased amounts of carbohydrates to development of several disorders such as diabetes and insulin resistance.

By nature, carbohydrates are easily absorbable and therefore can be also be easily stored by the body. Digestion of carbohydrates starts right from the moment you put them into your mouth.

As soon as you begin chewing them, amylase (the enzymes that digest carbohydrate) in your saliva is already at work acting on the carbohydrate-containing food.

In the stomach, carbohydrates are further broken down. When they get into the small intestines, they are then absorbed into the bloodstream. On getting to the bloodstream, carbohydrates generally increase the blood sugar level.

This increase in blood sugar level stimulates the immediate release of insulin into the bloodstream. The higher the increase in blood sugar levels, the more the amount of insulin that is release.

Insulin is a hormone that causes excess sugar in the bloodstream to be removed in order to lower the blood sugar level. Insulin takes the sugar and carbohydrate that you eat and stores them either as glycogen in muscle tissues or as fat in adipose tissue for future use as energy.

However, the body can develop what is known as insulin resistance when it is continuously exposed to such high amounts of glucose in the bloodstream. This scenario can easily cause obesity as the body tends to quickly store any excess amount of glucose. Health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease can also result from this condition.

Keto diets are low in carbohydrate and high in fat and have been associated with reducing and improving several health conditions.

One of the foremost things a ketogenic diet does is to stabilize your insulin levels and also restore leptin signalling. Reduced amounts of insulin in the bloodstream allow you to feel fuller for a longer period of time and also to have fewer cravings.

Medical Benefits of Ketogenic Diets

The application and implementation of the ketogenic diet has expanded considerably. Keto diets are often indicated as part of the treatment plan in a number of medical conditions.

Epilepsy

This is basically the main reason for the development of the ketogenic diet. For some reason, the rate of epileptic seizures reduces when patients are placed on a keto diet.

Pediatric epileptic cases are the most responsive to the keto diet. There are children who have experience seizure elimination after a few years of using a keto diet.

Children with epilepsy are generally expected to fast for a few days before starting the ketogenic diet as part of their treatment.

Cancer

Research suggests that the therapeutic efficacy of the ketogenic diets against tumor growth can be enhanced when combined with certain drugs and procedures under a “press-pulse” paradigm.

It is also promising to note that ketogenic diets drive the cancer cell into remission. This means that keto diets “starves cancer” to reduce the symptoms.

Alzheimer Disease

There are several indications that the memory functions of patients with Alzheimer’s disease improve after making use of a ketogenic diet.

Ketones are a great source of alternative energy for the brain especially when it has become resistant to insulin. Ketones also provide substrates (cholesterol) that help to repair damaged neurons and membranes. These all help to improve memory and cognition in Alzheimer patients.

Diabetes

It is generally agreed that carbohydrates are the main culprit in diabetes. Therefore, by reducing the amount of ingested carbohydrate by using a ketogenic diet, there are increased chances for improved blood sugar control.

Also, combining a keto diet with other diabetes treatment plans can significantly improve their overall effectiveness.

Gluten Allergy

Many individuals with gluten allergy are undiagnosed with this condition. However, following a ketogenic diet showed improvement in related symptoms like digestive discomforts and bloating.

Most carbohydrate-rich foods are high in gluten. Thus, by using a keto diet, a lot of the gluten consumption is reduced to a minimum due to the elimination of a large variety of carbohydrates.

Weight Loss

This is arguably the most common “intentional” use of the ketogenic diet today. It has found a niche for itself in the mainstream dieting trend. Keto diets have become part of many dieting regimen due to its well acknowledged side effect of aiding weight loss.

Though initially maligned by many, the growing number of favorable weight loss results has helped the ketogenic to better embraced as a major weight loss program.

Besides the above medical benefits, ketogenic diets also provide some general health benefits which include the following.

Improved Insulin Sensitivity

This is obviously the first aim of a ketogenic diet. It helps to stabilize your insulin levels thereby improving fat burning.

Muscle Preservation

Since protein is oxidized, it helps to preserve lean muscle. Losing lean muscle mass causes an individual’s metabolism to slow down as muscles are generally very metabolic. Using a keto diet actually helps to preserve your muscles while your body burns fat.

Controlled pH and respiratory function

A ketoc diet helps to decrease lactate thereby improving both pH and respiratory function. A state of ketosis therefore helps to keep your blood pH at a healthy level.

Improved Immune System

Using a ketogenic diet helps to fight off aging antioxidants while also reducing inflammation of the gut thereby making your immune system stronger.

Reduced Cholesterol Levels

Consuming fewer carbohydrates while you are on the keto diet will help to reduce blood cholesterol levels. This is due to the increased state of lipolysis. This leads to a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels and an increase in HDL cholesterol levels.

Reduced Appetite and Cravings

Adopting a ketogenic diet helps you to reduce both your appetite and cravings for calorie rich foods. As you begin eating healthy, satisfying, and beneficial high-fat foods, your hunger feelings will naturally start decreasing.

8 Tips For Eating Healthy While Traveling

If you travel for work or pleasure, you know that healthy food can sometimes be hard to come by. Or I should at least say there are so many temptations out there that the healthy options seem few and far between. Being prepared is 75% of the battle when it comes to eating healthy while traveling. It definitely requires a little planning and a special nutritional strategy. Luckily, you can adhere to your healthy eating plan with a little extra work. These 8 tips for healthy eating while traveling provide some solid ideas to staying on track while on the go.

1. Location – When you’re choosing where to stay, it’s all about location. Let’s say you’re traveling for work and you’ll be in the same location for at least a few days. Finding a spot that’s close to healthy resources is key. Is there a grocery store nearby that you can run to for healthy snacks and/or meals? Are there healthy cafes or restaurants within walking distance that you can stop in for a bite to eat? It’s easy to make the excuse that you can’t eat healthy while on the road if there aren’t good options around you. Don’t make that your excuse. Choose as wisely as you can to set yourself up for success.

2. Accommodations With A Kitchen or Kitchenette – One of the best ways to ensure healthy eating while traveling is to have access to some type of kitchen. Extended stay hotels, vacation rentals and Air B & B are all great options if convenient to your location. If a kitchen isn’t available, having a refrigerator in your hotel room for some healthy options is a great alternative. The point being that if you have either a kitchen or a refrigerator, you have the ability stock up with good snacks and easy meals. Things like fresh fruit and vegetables, bottled water, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, nuts, natural peanut butter, rotisserie chicken and canned fish are fantastic options that are easy to store and don’t require a lot of prep work to create a quick meal or snack.

3. Ship Items Before – Another strategy would be to ship your favorite dry goods to your location before hand. Protein powder, beans, nuts, canned tuna, bread and quick cooking oats are all items you could have sent prior to your arrival so that you have some healthy options waiting for you.

4. Carry A Cooler – Tote your health food around with you. Stock a cooler full of your favorite healthy snacks, sandwiches, bottled water and anything you need for the day. This options works well if you can drive to your location and bring your cooler with you. If you’re flying, you’ll need a collapsible cooler to pack in your suitcase.

5. Research Restaurants In The Area – Do your research before you go. Even if you have access to a kitchen or a refrigerator, you still may want or need to eat for a few meals. Find out what restaurants are in the area and which menus offer healthy options that interest you. You can plan any outings to one of these restaurants and know what you’re going to eat when you walk in the door.

6. Protein Powder – Protein is often the hardest thing to come by. Healthy eating on the go is made much easier if you can bring some protein powder with you. Even it it’s a back up, you know you have a good protein source to go to if you can’t find a viable option. Sometimes your healthy eating strategy might require using a combination of options. For example, finding some fruit and vegetables might be easy but grabbing a protein source might be pretty expensive. In certain cases, protein powder can fill in the gaps.

7. Supergreen Supplement – It’s often times very difficult to get the correct amount of vegetables in when traveling. This is the perfect time to incorporate a great supplement like Amazing Grass, Green Defense or Greens +. A supplement is just that – a way to supplement your diet. While this shouldn’t be your mainstay to getting in vegetables, it can always be used as a way to up your micronutrient intake and get some greens into your diet.

8. Bring Homemade Snacks – Bring homemade non-perishable snacks with you. Homemade granola or protein bars, protein muffins, kale chips and homemade granola or trail mix are all wonderful options to take with you. If you have healthy food with you, chances are that you’ll eat that healthy food rather than seeking out the junky stuff.

If you’ll notice (or maybe you already have), the common theme here is that you need to be prepared. If you’re committed to a goal of weight loss, a health goal or just want to ensure you’re eating good quality meals, you’ve got to set yourself up for success. Healthy eating while traveling is totally doable but it does require a bit of planning and strategy to make it work.

Eat This For A Healthy Summer Skin

Warmer weather is finally upon us, and with that, it seems everyone is trying to look and feel their best while taking advantage of the outdoors. Weight management is certainly a huge part of that, with everyone trying to increase their exercise and improve their diet, but surprisingly skincare is another topic I hear come up all the time. We not only want to strut in those cute summer jeans but we also want our skin to glow while we’re doing it. Am I right?

Given all the creams and topical potions that abound to keep your skin at its best, many often overlook the power of nutrition in giving your skin true, lasting vitality. Nourishing our skin from the inside is just as important as protecting it on the outside.

Maybe it’s time to rethink that skin care routine and focus on food, not formulas. What you eat every day can make a big impact on how both you and your skin function.

What foods are best for that? Have a read through for some easy summer diet do’s and don’ts to keep you glowing all year long.

10 Foods for Youthful Skin

1. Berries

Berries are chocked full of antioxidant compounds. Antioxidants help us fight off free radical damage which is, unfortunately, an unavoidable consequence of the world we live in. Our food, our household products, other environmental chemicals and even stress can create free radicals which damage our cells. Antioxidants help knock these out and restore proper balance and function.

2. Cruciferous veggies

Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, bok choy… they are all fantastic when it comes to your skin. They are high in vitamins A and C, which are important for our skin, and the phytochemicals in cruciferous can help reduce inflammation and promote estrogen balance, both which can be a huge boost to your epidermis.

3. Wild Salmon (and other Omega 3 fatty acids)

Healthy fats are key to healthy cells, and healthy cells equal healthy skin. Wild salmon is a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, known for their powerful role in reducing inflammation. There are more Omega 3 sources besides salmon, however. Other animal sources include mackerel, sardines, tuna, and anchovies. Plant-based sources include chia seeds, hemp hearts, flax seed, and walnuts.

4. Avocado

This tasty fruit is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants which helps keep skin supple and ward off the effects of aging. More reason for some guacamole when the weather heats up!

5. Nuts

Yet another fantastic fat source that is helpful for our cells and also contains a host of skin-protecting antioxidants. Additionally, they are high in fiber, which may not seem directly related to your skin, but anything that supports digestion and promotes regular elimination will help detox your skin and body as well.

6. Coconut oil

We are still on a fat kick here. As you can tell, getting good sources of healthy fats in your diet is key. A fat-free diet is not the way to healthy skin. Coconut oil is another of those powerhouse fats. It has potent anti-microbial properties to ward off bacteria throughout our body and can support our immune system. All of this, in turn, promotes healthier skin. Easy ways to use coconut oil would be with sautéing, using as a fat in baking, or mixed into smoothies. Personally, I like to use full-fat coconut milk in making chia seed pudding to get in a healthy dose.

7. Bone broth

Fluids are super important for keeping out cells well hydrated, so bone broth can certainly help with that, but it’s also a major source of collagen. Collagen, which tends to decrease with age, is what keeps our skin firm and elastic. A little bone broth can go a long way in increasing hydration and giving our skin the building blocks to repair and restore the collagen in our skin. Use as a warm evening beverage or mix into soups or other dishes that call for broth.

8. Fermented foods

We know that fermented foods, or foods rich in natural probiotics, are good for our gut. A healthy intestinal tract equals good digestion and good digestion shows on our skin. When we are absorbing our nutrients properly and eliminating toxins on a regular basis, it will produce noticeable results on the outside as well as the inside. Eat fermented foods daily to balance your gut bacteria and keep that digestive process running smoothly. Examples of fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, beet kvass, water kefir, kombucha, tempeh, pickled veggies, and miso.

While some dairy products are fermented as well, best to keep those to a minimum as dairy is often implicated in inflammation and skin issues.

9. Cilantro

I know many have a love/hate relationship with this herb, but if you are a cilantro lover out there, more reason to use it early and often! Cilantro contains chlorophyll, which has powerful detoxifying properties in the body. Cilantro also supports liver detoxification, which may help reduce or prevent acne by helping rid your liver of toxins more quickly and efficiently. Sprinkle cilantro on anything and everything. Even add to smoothies or pressed homemade juices.

10. Leafy greens

I can’t say enough good things about leafy green vegetables. Kale, spinach, chard, romaine… they are all great sources of iron, calcium, B vitamins and fiber. More importantly for your skin, they are a good boost to your liver for detoxifying the body. As we’ve said before, detoxing from the inside will show outside in your skin, so eat up a variety of greens daily to get that summer glow.

How Your Health Benefits From More Fiber

Since the 1990s, medical researchers have discovered more and more benefits when dietary fiber is significantly increased in our diet. Fiber is a substance in plants. Dietary fiber, also called bulk or roughage, is the kind we eat. It is the edible portions of plant cell walls; hence, it is found only in plant foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, as well as beans and legumes.

Fiber is a carbohydrate and is usually listed under “Total Carbohydrates” on the “Nutrition Facts” label. Humans lack the digestive enzymes to breakdown fiber. Therefore, it is undigested and not absorbed into the bloodstream and it arrives at the colon pretty much intact. Fiber has zero calories. Instead of being used for energy, it is excreted from the body.

The current recommended daily intake for adults who are 50 years or younger is 25 grams/day for women and 38 grams/day for men. For adults over 50 years of age, the recommendation is 21 grams/day for women and 30 grams/day for men. Unfortunately, for many who eat a typical American diet, it can be a huge challenge to consume that much fiber everyday. Most people top out at an average of 15 grams/day, regardless of how many calories they eat.

Maybe if we understand more about the different types of fiber and how they can immensely contribute to better health and lower disease risks, there will be more incentives to increase the daily fiber intake. Fiber is an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. Apart from helping us stay regular, fiber has a long list of other health benefits. The following will distinguish the different types of fiber, their specific health advantages, and which foods contain these fiber.

Classifications Of Fiber

There are several ways to classify the different types of fiber. However, as their characteristics do overlap, experts have yet to agree on the best categorization. For decades, the most commonly used classification is soluble and insoluble fiber. These days, as researchers discover the benefits of fermented fiber, another classification – fermentable and non-fermentable fiber – is also used. However, do know that both soluble and insoluble fiber have some that are fermentable and some that are non-fermentable, though soluble fiber is more easily fermented.

Soluble and Insoluble Fiber

The major difference between soluble and insoluble fiber is that they have different properties when mixed with water, hence the designation between the two.

  • Soluble fiber is soluble in water. When mixed with water, it forms a gel and swells.
  • Insoluble fiber does not absorb or dissolve in water. It passes through the digestive system in close to its original form.

Both types of fiber serve their own purposes and have different health benefits. Most plant foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, just in different proportions. For instance, wheat is about 90% insoluble fiber. Oats are 50/50. Psyllium plant is mostly soluble fiber.

Fermentable and Non-Fermentable Fiber

Some fibers are readily fermented by bacteria that colonize the colon, others are not. Fermentable fiber is used by the colon’s friendly bacteria as a food source. Fermentation results in the formation of short-chain fatty acids (acetate, butyrate, and propionate) and gases. Epithelial cells that line the colon use butyrate as the main source of energy.

Researchers found that butyrate exerts a wide range of health benefits. It:

  • Decreases inflammation and oxidative stress,
  • Prevents colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and Crohn’s disease,
  • Strengthens the bowel wall,
  • Improves the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients such as calcium,
  • Makes hormones that control appetite and anxiety.

Soluble Fiber

Foods High in Soluble Fiber

Fruits: blueberries, apple, oranges

Grains: barley, oats

Legumes: beans, lentils, peas

Seeds: flax

Vegetables: Brussels sprouts, carrots

Health Benefits

  • Digestion and weight control. When soluble fiber dissolves in water and becomes gel-like, it helps prolong stomach emptying and slows down digestion, making you feel full longer and have less room for other not-so-healthy food cravings.
  • Blood sugar regulation. Soluble fiber slows down the digestion rate of many nutrients, including carbohydrates, so it helps stabilize glucose levels and prevent after-meal blood sugar spikes.
  • Cholesterol and heart health. Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol and bile acids (made by the liver and stored in the gall bladder for the digestion of fats) in the small intestine and promotes their excretion. Studies found that consuming more soluble fiber leads to a decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, hence, reducing the overall risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Healthy bowel movements. Soluble fiber soaks up water as it passes through your system, which helps bulk up the stool and guard against constipation.
  • Colon health. Prebiotic fiber is a type of fermentable and soluble fiber that is used by the colon’s friendly bacteria (probiotics) as a food source. Prebiotics and probiotics work together to maintain the balance and diversity of intestinal bacteria, especially increasing the good bacteria like lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.

Foods High in Soluble Prebiotic Fiber

(In parenthesis is the name of the fiber)

Apple (pectin)

Asparagus (inulin and oligofructose)

Banana (inulin and oligofructose)

Barley (beta-glucan)

Burdock root (inulin and oligofructose)

Chicory root (inulin and oligofructose)

Cocoa (flavanol compounds)

Dandelion greens (inulin and oligofructose)

Flaxseed (mucilage)

Garlic (inulin and oligofructose)

Jerusalem artichoke or sunchoke (inulin and oligofructose)

Jicama root (inulin)

Konjac root or glucomannan fiber (see Note)

Leeks (inulin and oligofructose)

Oats (beta-glucan)

Onion (inulin and FOS)

Psyllium (mucilage) – used as a fiber supplement, always buy organic due to pesticides

Seaweed (polysaccharides)

Wheat bran (arabinoxylan oligosaccharides or AXOS)

Yacon root (FOS and inulin)

Note:

Konjac is native to Asia. Its fiber, known as glucomannan, has been used as both food and in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Today, glucomannan is used as a fiber supplement to promote colon health, lower cholesterol, and improve carbohydrate metabolism. It is also used in a food product called Shirataki noodles. These noodles are made of 97% water and 3% glucomannan, so the fiber content is very diluted. Though not a high source of prebiotic fiber, the noodles have zero carbohydrates, fats, protein, and calories. Thus, these noodles are suitable for diabetics and people who are looking to lose weight.

Fiber and Gas

Everyone has some intestinal gas and that is normal. The amount of flatus passed each day depends on your sex (men have more frequent flatus) and what is eaten. The normal number of flatus may range from 10-20 times a day.

If you are not used to eating a high amount of fermentable fiber, eating too much at a time can lead to excess intestinal gas, bloating, and mild cramping. So, increase gradually. When you consume vegetables with prebiotics or take a prebiotic fiber supplement, the flatus is often non-odoriferous. The foods that cause smelly flatus are usually the ones that contain high sulfur content, such as eggs and cruciferous vegetables.

If you experience severe gas and gut discomfort after gradually introducing more fermentable fiber, you may have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or yeast overgrowth. In this case, you need to work with a healthcare professional to address your gut issues.

Insoluble Fiber

Foods High in Insoluble Fiber

Fruits: skins of fruit

Fruits (dried): dates, prunes

Grains: corn bran, oat bran, wheat bran, whole grains (e.g. whole wheat, brown rice)

Nuts and seeds

Vegetables: green beans, green leafy vegetables, root vegetable skins

Health Benefits

  • Weight management. Like soluble fiber, insoluble fiber can play a key role in controlling weight by starving off hunger pangs.
  • Digestive health. Insoluble fiber helps to move bulk through the intestines. It lessens the amount of time food spends in the colon, hence, constipation and hemorrhoids are much less of a problem and bowel movements become more regular.
  • Diverticulitis. This condition is characterized by inflammation and infection of pouches or folds that form in the colon walls. Development of diverticulitis is often associated with a low-fiber diet and becomes increasingly common after the age of 45. It exacerbates intestinal blockages and constipation. Eating more insoluble fiber can decrease the risk of having diverticulitis.
  • Colon cancer. Insoluble fiber increases the rate at which waste is being removed from the body, therefore, it reduces the amount of time toxic substances stay inside the body. Insoluble fiber also helps to maintain an optimal pH (acid-alkaline) balance in the intestine, making it less likely for cancer cells to grow and prosper.

Resistant Starch is a type of fermentable insoluble fiber. It is a kind of starch that is not digested in the small intestine. Instead, it feeds the beneficial gut bacteria in the colon, just like the prebiotic soluble fiber with the same remarkable health benefits. When you eat resistant starch, it resists digestion and does not spike blood sugar or insulin.

Foods High in Resistant Starch

Cooked and cooled beans and legumes (properly soaked or sprouted), oatmeal, pasta, potato, rice, and yam (see Note 1)

Green (unripe) bananas, mangos, papayas, and plantains (see Note 2)

Hi-maize flour or Hi-maize resistant starch

Raw unmodified potato starch (not potato flour) – ideally organic or at least non-GMO

Notes:

  1. By cooking and cooling these foods, the carb load is reduced by around 20-30% due to the formation of retrograde resistant starch. However, if you have trouble with blood sugar control or if you are looking to lose weight, you will still need to be very cautious with these foods as the majority of the absorbable carb is still present.
  2. The unripe version of these foods have very little digestible carbohydrates. You know you are eating the resistant starch when the fruit is crispy or crunchy, and sometimes a little chalky.

Bottom Line

Dietary fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet. A high-fiber diet has many benefits: it normalizes bowel movements, maintains colon health, lowers cholesterol levels, regulates blood sugar balance, and helps in weight control.

Fiber is commonly classified as soluble, which dissolves in water, or insoluble, which does not dissolve in water. Most plant foods contain soluble as well as insoluble fiber, just in different proportions.

Both soluble and insoluble fiber can also be fermentable. Prebiotic fiber (from soluble fiber) and resistant starch (from insoluble fiber) ferment and feed the friendly bacteria in the colon. They have positive impacts on the diversity and number of beneficial intestinal bacteria in our gut. The more good bacteria we have, the harder it is for the bad bacteria to flourish. The by-products of fiber fermentation produces short-chain fatty acids like butyrate which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects that translate into protection against colon cancer, gastrointestinal disorders like constipation, diverticulitis, and IBS, and also obesity.

All dietary fiber is good for you. Ideally, you would want to get it from different sources of plant foods to reap their distinct benefits. Hopefully, this has given you more incentives to increase your daily intake of high fiber foods, like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, as well as beans and legumes. However, for individuals with blood sugar and weight issues, go easy on the carb-heavy fruits, whole grains, beans and legumes.

Healthy Eating – Avoid Food Poisoning With These Tips

As anyone who has experienced food poisoning knows, when you have it you will do anything to get rid of it! So the best case scenario is to avoid getting it in the first place. How can you do that? What steps can you take to make sure you do not fall prey to food poisoning? Let us look at the main foods you will want to be careful about eating if you hope to keep yourself feeling well…

1. Raw Meat. The first is quite obvious. Raw chicken and beef are the biggest culprits of harboring bacteria that can lead to food poisoning and severe stomach cramps. You will need to be cautious when handling raw meat, but also be careful about how well it is cooked.

Beef you can be a bit more flexible with, but you always want your chicken as well done as possible.

2. Eggs. Eggs are another item to cause people grief. With eggs, not only do you need to be sure you do not eat them raw but that any food containing eggs has not been left out at room temperature for too long. This includes food like potato salad or any recipe that may hold hard-boiled eggs. It is easy to overlook the fact eggs may be in a prepared recipe and think it is okay to sit out.

When in doubt, toss it out. If you do not know how long a particular food has been sitting, it is not worth the risk to eat.

3. Leafy Greens. While it is important to eat up when it comes to your fruit and vegetables, you do need to be careful as these can harbor unfriendly bacteria that can leave you doubled over in pain.

Of particular importance are leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, and cabbage. These may become contaminated by harmful bacteria including E. Coli, Salmonella, and Listeria, all of which can quickly lead you down a path to being unwell. To reduce the risk you experience unwanted symptoms, make sure you wash all these foods thoroughly before eating them.

4. Fish. Finally, while you may love to go for sushi with your friends, be extra careful when you do. Sushi has the potential to be loaded with harmful bacteria that could have you vomiting and as a result, become dehydrated.

The problem with sushi is when it is not fresh. If the sushi is prepared and let stand for an hour or so before it is served, this is when it becomes questionable. A good sushi restaurant will prepare the fish and then serve it to you right away. That is what you want.

There you have a few of the top foods most likely to lead to food poisoning. If you are serving any of these, be sure you are taking extra care to avoid illness.

Although managing your disease can be very challenging, Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. You can make simple changes to your daily routine and lower both your weight and your blood sugar levels. Hang in there, the longer you do it, the easier it gets.