The Many Benefits Of High Fiber Foods Can Include Weight Loss

There are many health giving benefits of high fiber foods. Your parents were right when they told you to eat your veges. Having a daily diet rich in high fiber foods is an easy way to assist with bowel health, reduce bad cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar levels, and help manage weight.

What is fiber?

Fiber is a dietary product derived from plant sources. These plant products are not broken down in the digestive process. As a result of this, the bulk, or fiber, passes through the stomach and intestines relatively unchanged. Fiber is not absorbed by the body. There are 2 types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
* soluble fibers are those which will break down in water and include psyllium, oats, apples, carrots, peas, citrus fruits, and barley. Soluble fibers will form a gel like substance and are valuable for reducing the bad blood cholesterol and lowering glucose levels.
* insoluble fibers, as the name would suggest, do not break down when in contact with water. Nuts, vegetables, whole wheat, and wheat bran are excellent sources of insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is important for maintaining food bulk as it passes through the bowel, and will aid those who suffer from conditions such as constipation and hemorrhoids.

What are good sources of high fiber foods?

It is important to consume both soluble and insoluble fiber on a daily basis. It is an excellent idea to vary your fiber sources to maintain a healthy and well balanced diet. Refined foods such as white flours and rices have a lot of their fiber removed in the processing. Peeling edible skins from fruit and vegetables will also reduce the fiber count of those foods. Legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits will all provide varying amounts of fiber.

These are some of the higher fiber content foods:
* beans such as kidney, lima, black beans, and baked beans.
* lentils.
* vegetables such as peas, broccoli, green beans, artichoke, turnips, and corn.
* fruits such as pears, raspberries, apples, figs, blueberries, peaches, oranges, strawberries, and apricots.
* nuts such as almonds, cashews, peanuts, and pistachios.
* others such as oats, wholemeal flours and pastas, wholemeal bread, and popcorn.

How much fiber should you eat?

As a rough estimate, men under 50 should consume 38 grams daily, while men over 50 need 30 grams. Women under the age of 50 should consume 25 grams daily, and women over 50 need 21 grams. Children’s needs vary greatly depending upon their age.

Health benefits of high fiber diet:

* assists in weight loss. High fiber foods tend to take longer to chew and are more bulky. This aids in filling you up sooner, and leaving you feeling satisfied for longer. High fiber foods tend to have less empty calories and generally make for healthy snacks.
* reduces bad cholesterol. Soluble fibers tend to help absorb the harmful LDL’s.
* prevents constipation. Fiber adds bulk to your food, making passage through the intestine much easier. Be sure to also drink plenty of water.
* assists blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber slows down the absorption of sugars in foods through to the bloodstream. This can be particularly helpful for diabetics.
* reduces risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Easy ways to increase your fiber:

* add psyllium husks to breakfast cereals and yogurts.
* bake with wholemeal flours instead of plain flour.
* feed the family wholemeal pastas, and use brown rice instead of white.
* buy breads with fiber added, or the wholemeal varieties.
* leave the skin on your fruit.
* add extra vegetables to your dinner.

Conclusion.

A diet rich in high fiber foods has been proven to reduce the incidence of colon (bowel) disease, reduce bad cholesterol levels, assist with weight management, and stabilise blood sugar levels. For more information on high fiber foods the Mayo clinic has an excellent fiber chart which you can access here Mayo Clinic’s Fiber Chart.

Truth About Fats – The Good, Bad, Evil, And The Essential

When we hear the word “fat” most of us immediately think weight gain, cellulite, cholesterol, or hot chips. Over the years, many of us have been indoctrinated into thinking that all fats are bad and should never be consumed. However, more and more research is showing that there are “good fats” and “bad fats”. In fact, your body actually needs some fats. Read on to learn the important truth about fats.

Why your body needs some Fats

Fats are essential to our bodies for building cell walls, lubricating your joints, stabilizing your hormones, maintaining body warmth, and providing elasticity for your blood vessels and skin. Fats are also needed by the body for the correct metabolism of carbohydrates and protein. The important point here is that you need to consume the essential fats. Which leads us to the next question.

What are “Good Fats” and “Bad Fats”?

There are 2 kinds of fats that you can consume, the good fats, and the bad fats. The good fats are the ones essential for good health, and the bad fats are those responsible for raising your harmful blood cholesterol.

The bad fats are known as Saturated fats and are the products of animals. These fats are easy to spot as they are the ones that are solids at room temperature. These fats are full of cholesterol and are more difficult for your body to digest. Butter, eggs, cheese, ice cream, and poultry skin are all examples of saturated fats.

Trans fats are the “evil” fats. Examples of these are margarine, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and animal shortenings (like lard). Trans fats will increase the bad cholesterol in your blood, reduce the good, and also increase your triglycerides. These fats should be avoided at all costs and can also be found in hot chips, and most fast foods.

The good fats are known as unsaturated fats and are plant products, such as seeds, nuts and vegetables. Unsaturated fats break down into two categories, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are liquids at room temperature (think cooking oils as an example). Sunflower oil is a good example of a polyunsaturated fat, and olive oil and canola oil are monounsaturated fats.

Monounsaturated fats, or Omega 9 fatty acids, are not essential to good health, but when used moderately are a much better alternative than animal fats. Extra virgin olive oil will always be a better alternative than butters and margarines.

The essential fatty acids are known as Omega 6 and Omega 3. These essential fatty acids are only to be found in the polyunsaturated fats.

Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in flax seed oil and fish (think tuna, salmon, sardines, herrings, pilchards, and mackerel).

Omega 9 fatty acids can be found in sesame oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil, safflower oil, pumpkin oil, and evening primrose oil.
Essential fatty acids are easily damaged by heat and light, and should be stored in cool, dark cupboards.

Essential fatty acids cannot be made by our bodies. Therefore, we need to consume some of these essential fatty acids to maintain our good health.

How much is a healthy amount?

To function correctly, your body requires the equivalent of one teaspoon of oil daily. Most of us consume far more than this.

A healthy amount to strive for is 25% of your total energy needs from fats. Most of us have at least 40% of our energy coming from fats.

Many health authorities are now recommending between 25-40 grams of fat daily as a healthy intake for the average adult.

While fats are essential, it is important to remember that they are extremely energy dense. One gram of fat contains 9 calories. By contrast, one gram of protein or carbohydrate contains 4 calories.

Most of us would benefit from reducing the bad fats in our diets and replacing them with the good fats. Remember though, a little fat goes a long way.