Category Archives: Fiber

Fiber and You

Unlike the weather, as in Mark Twain’s famous quote, “Everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it” fiber is different. Everybody talks about it and there is plenty we can do about it. Following is what the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has to say about it.

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Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains all contain dietary fiber, a type of carbohydrate that provides minimal energy for the body. Although the body can’t use fiber efficiently for fuel, it’s an important part of a healthy eating plan and helps with a variety of health conditions.

  • Heart disease: Fiber may help prevent heart disease by helping reduce cholesterol.
  • Weight management: Fiber slows the speed at which food passes from the stomach to the rest of the digestive system – this can make us feel full longer. Foods that are higher in dietary fiber often are lower in calories as well.
  • Diabetes: Because fiber slows down how quickly food is broken down, it may help control blood sugar levels for people with diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels after meals.
  • Digestive issues: Fiber increases bulk in the intestinal tract and may help improve the frequency of bowel movements.

The recommended amount of dietary fiber is 14 grams for every 1,000 calories per day, or, about 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men each day. Your exact needs may vary depending on your energy needs.

Whole grains and beans tend to be higher in fiber than fruits and vegetables, but all are sources of dietary fiber and contribute other important nutrients. Make sure to include a variety of these foods regularly to meet your dietary fiber needs. These are a few tips to help increase your fiber intake from foods:

  • Mix in oats to meatloaf, bread or other baked goods.
  • Toss beans into your next salad or soup.
  • Chop up veggies to add to sandwiches or noodle dishes such as pasta or stir-fry.
  • Blend fruit into a smoothie or use it to top cereal, pancakes or desserts.

It also is important to drink plenty of water and to increase your fiber intake gradually in order to give your body time to adjust.

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Higher Dietary Fiber in Young Women May Cut Breast Cancer Risk – Harvard

Women who eat more high-fiber foods during adolescence and young adulthood—especially lots of fruits and vegetables—may have significantly lower breast cancer risk than those who eat less dietary fiber when young, according to a new large-scale study led by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study was published online February 1, 2016 in Pediatrics.

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Before we go further on the study here is a breakout on fiber from an earlier post:

Fiber is a form of indigestible carbohydrate found mainly in plant foods. Over the years, fiber has been hailed as a potential weapon against colon cancer, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Fiber’s vaunted health benefits were diminished slightly by findings that it doesn’t prevent colon polyps (precursors of colon cancer). But fiber slightly reduces LDL cholesterol, improves insulin resistance, and is linked to a lower rate of heart disease. It is considered one of the most important health attributes of foods.

Fiber slows the digestion of foods and therefore lowers their glycemic load, which likely helps to prevent diabetes. By increasing the bulk of foods and creating a feeling of fullness, fiber may also help you avoid overeating and becoming overweight. There is also some evidence that fiber might reduce the risk for duodenal ulcers, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.
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High Fiber Foods – Infographic

I love this utterly simple infographic. Nice reminder of how good for us some of these good-tasting foods are.

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Tony

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Eating Fibre After A Heart Attack May Prolong Life

How much fibre people ate before they had a heart attack did not affect how long they lived after a heart attack. But people who increased the amount of fibre they ate after a heart attack were less likely to die during the study than people who didn’t increase how much fibre they ate.

Cooking with Kathy Man

After having a heart attack, people who eat foods containing fibre, in particular cereal fibre, may live for longer than people who eat less fibre.

What do we know already?

A heart attack happens when the heart doesn’t get enough oxygen and part of it dies. This usually happens when one of the vessels that take blood and oxygen to the heart is suddenly blocked.

Heart attacks are medical emergencies, which need to be treated in hospital straight away. After a heart attack, making lifestyle changes can help some people to recover and live for longer.

A previous study of people who’d had a heart attack looked at whether those who ate more foods with a lot of fibre (such as beans and lentils, wholegrain cereals, oats, fruits and vegetables) lived for longer than people who ate less fibre. It suggested fibre wasn’t linked to how long people lived after…

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How Many Calories in McDonald’s Chicken Clubhouse Sandwich?

LeBron James is the newest member of the exclusive club that also includes Johnny Football. We see him entering the exclusive gathering. Lucky LeBron – he gets to  have McDonald’s newest creation – the Chicken Club Houe Sandwich. So goes the TV commercial.

Maybe not so lucky LeBron.

mcdonalds-Premium-Crispy-Chicken-Club-Sandwich

There are 670 calories in the sammy. That comes to around a third of a normal person’s calorie needs in a single day. But wait. Does anyone go to Mickey D’s and just have a sammy? Probably not. There are drinks and shakes galore that kick up the calorie count. Not to mention fries.

So if you just go for the sandwich, you are a third of the way there on your food for the day, but if you add a soft drink or fries, you will up the ante by several hundred calories and either have to eat less later or go over your calorie budget for the day.

Here is further nutrition info: 36 grams of protein. Not bad. The average adult needs around 55 grams per day, so the Chicken Club does a good job in satisfying your protein quota.

There are 33 grams of fat. That’s kind of high.

Cholesterol, 85 mg, not bad at all.

Fiber, 3 grams. This is a small amount. The average adult needs around 35 to 40 grams to maintain good health.

Carbs, 58 grams, okay.

Sodium, at 1410 mg, is problematic. As I wrote in reviewing the new quarter pounders, “The guidelines issued by the government say that adults should reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2300 mg per day. For those over age 51, or with a medical condition like diabetes or hypertension, salt intake should fall below 1500 mg. The American Heart Association puts the limit at 1500 mg per day for the entire population.”

Too much sodium puts you at risk for high blood pressure and kidney disease.

So, the new Chicken Club House Sandwich is a high calorie concoction with a lot of protein, but too much sodium. Calorie count could also put  you over your daily budget.

Tony

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Filed under blood pressure, chicken, fast food, Fiber, healthy living, McDonald's, McDonald's Chicken Club Sandwich, portion control, Weight, weight control, weight loss

Study: Low Fiber Intake Links to Higher Heart Risk

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) — an independent nonprofit organization that advises the U.S. government on health issues — recommends 38 grams of fiber a day for men aged 19 to 50 and 30 grams a day for men over 50. The IOM recommends 25 grams a day for women aged 19 to 50 and 21 grams a day for women over 50.

But the average dietary fiber intake among the study participants was only about 16 grams per day, according to the study, which was published in the December issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

Cooking with Kathy Man

Research looked at a decade of data from thousands of U.S. adults.

People who don’t eat enough fiber seem at increased risk for heart problems, and too few Americans are consuming enough fiber, a new study says.

Researchers analyzed data collected from more than 23,000 U.S. adults between 1999 and 2010 and found that low fiber intake was strongly associated with heart disease risk factors such as obesity, inflammation and metabolic syndrome. The syndrome is a group of symptoms that puts people at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Previous studies have found that dietary fiber may help lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels and inflammation. Despite those findings, this new study found that Americans don’t have enough fiber in their diets.

Fiber-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains.

The Institute of Medicine — an independent nonprofit organization that advises the U.S. government on health issues — recommends 38…

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What is a Tasty Summer Salad? Mr. Lazy Cook

As the heat of summer approaches it is nice to have some simple go-to meals that satisfy our nutritional needs that at the same time taste great. I consider my Avocado Walnut Summer Salad to be just such a thing.

I lived in London some years ago on a one-year assignment with Reuters. I stumbled across the basis of this salad there. Several restaurants that I frequented served a salad consisting  of a half avocado, pitted, and filled with salad dressing. That’s it. It tasted delicious and I ordered it often.

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I alluded to this salad when I wrote up the benefits of avocados back in February.

A good friend of mine has since added the excellent element of an ounce of chopped walnuts to the mix. You can read more about the nutritional benefits of walnuts in the previous post.

To make this salad, remove the pit of a ripe avocado, clean out the meat, slice up and place in a salad bowl, drop in an ounce of chopped walnuts and cover with salad dressing. Voila! Instant delicious summer salad.

Nutritionally:
The walnuts contribute:
Calories 185
Fat 18.5 grams
Saturated fat 1.7 g
No Cholesterol
Sodium 1 mg
Fiber 1.9 grams
Protein 4.3 grams

The avocado yields:
Calories 161
Fat 15 grams
Saturated fat 2.1 g
No Cholesterol
Sodium 7 mg
Fiber 7 grams
Protein 2 grams

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I consider this to be a really good high energy salad with all that fat. Remember, fat, per se, is not bad, but there are bad fats. The fats in walnuts and avocados are not bad fats. There is also nearly nine grams of fiber in this which comes to about a quarter of a day’s needs. Many people have a hard time consuming the 40 grams of fiber necessary each day for good health. If this has piqued your appetite for more info on good fats, check out Why should I try coconut oil? It might open your mind as well as your arteries.

I didn’t include the salad dressing because that will vary with the person making the salad. I use two tablespoons of the light stuff that comes to around 20 calories per tablespoon.

Let me know what you think of this.

Tony

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Walnuts Cut Diabetes Risk – The Telegraph

“Nuts to you!” Takes on all new meaning with the latest info from The Telegraph in London. The Telegraph is reporting, “Eating walnuts just two or three times a week can reduce the risk of type two diabetes by a almost a quarter, according to new research.

“A study of nearly 140,000 women in the US shows regular helpings of a small portion of nuts can have a powerful protective effect against a disease that is threatening to become a global epidemic.

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“Women who consumed a 28 gramme (one ounce) packet of walnuts at least twice a week were 24 per cent less likely to develop type two diabetes than those who rarely or never ate them.

“The latest findings, published in the Journal of Nutrition, are not the first to highlight the anti-diabetic effects of walnuts, with earlier research showing similar benefits.

“However, this is thought to be one of the largest studies to find regularly snacking on them can help prevent the condition. Continue reading

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What are the Top Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

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I am a big fan of Chia Seeds. Want to read more about them?
Here are some further Chia Seed blog posts:

Are Chia Seeds Good For You?

Chia Seed Chocolate Milk Shake

Chia Seed Super Breakfast With Oat Flakes

Some eye candy in Super Model Miranda Kerr Likes Chia Seeds

Feeling tired? Try a Chia Fresca Cool Energy Drink

Enjoy!

Tony

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December 10, 2012 · 6:21 pm

Dr. Oz Cover Story on Food in This Week’s Time Magazine

I am the biggest fan of Dr. Oz. Ever since I read YOU on a Diet back in 2006. He wrote it with Dr. Michael Roizin. There is a revised edition from 2009 that you can pick up on Amazon here for $6.98. I recommend it. Dr. Oz writes for the man on the street who wants to eat healthy and not spend a fortune in the bargain.

This week’s cover story is wistfully entitled Give (Frozen) Peas a Chance And Carrots Too. Love the word play on give peace a chance.

This week’s issue of Time Magazine

He opens the piece talking about how unsightly a block of frozen spinach looks coming out of the package. Doesn’t look very appetizing. Doesn’t compare with buying fresh organic leaf spinach grown in soil an hour ago in your locale. But it’s worth it because it is so much healthier than “the green ice from the supermarket. Right?”

“Wrong.” Dr. Oz writes, “Wrong. Nutritionally speaking, there is little difference between the farmer’s-market bounty and the humble brick from the freezer case. It’s true for many other supermarket foods too. And in my view, dispelling these myths–that boutique foods are good, supermarket foods are suspect and you have to spend a lot to eat well–is critical to improving our nation’s health. Organic food is great, it’s just not very democratic. As a food lover, I enjoy truffle oil, European cheeses and heirloom tomatoes as much as the next person. But as a doctor, I know that patients don’t always have the time, energy or budget to shop for artisanal ingredients and whip them into a meal.”

Write on, Dr. Oz!
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Filed under arteries, blood pressure, body fat, cholesterol, Dr. Oz, fat, Fiber, general well-being, healthy eating, heart, heart problems, Weight

What About Eating Movie Popcorn?

I grew up going to the movies. Every Saturday we would go catch the Western double feature along with cartoons. My mom gave me money for admission and a box of popcorn. So movie watching has always been a munching experience for me.

I live in downtown Chicago. There is a wonderful AMC Theater about a mile from my door. That Multiplex is usually my go to theater. With a choice of 10 screens I almost can’t go wrong. The only fly in the ointment is the popcorn. I am always sorely tempted to buy one of their tubs to munch on while watching. Unfortunately, AMC  popcorn can turn any movie into a horror flick.

A large AMC popcorn has 1030 calories, 443 mg of Sodium, 31 grams of total fat with 27 grams of saturated fat. The only good news is 13 grams of protein but at an awful nutritional price.


A look at the breakdown yields the following. The 1030 calories amount to half of my calorie budget for the day. The 443 mg of Sodium are about a quarter of my salt allotment. Lastly, 27 grams of saturated fat are 6 grams higher than the total amount suggested as a maximum for the entire day. The only reservation I have on this is it might be that the saturated fat comes from coconut oil which is wonderfully healthy for the body. Check out my write up Why you should include coconut oil in your diet.

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What are Canary Melons?

I got turned on to this wonderful melon some years ago when they were offering free slices in a supermarket. The melon was so delicious that I went immediately to the produce department and bought one.

The Canary melon is a Casaba type variety also known as the Juan Canary and Spanish melon. It is called a winter melon because it matures in late summer. The name comes from the fact that it has a bright yellow skin the same color as a canary. Canary melon season is late summer into early September, Specialty Produce said.

Although it is said to taste like a good cantaloupe, in my experience, I have never tasted a Canary melon that was not more delicious than the best cantaloupe I ever ate.
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Are Pistachios Good For You?

A reader sent in a comment on the food value of pistachios and also sent me some samples. I thought it was worth looking into them.

It turns out that pistachios have some super health benefits.

Here’s what the Galvin Nussingten of Streetdirectory.com says about them, “Pistachios help your cells. That’s right! Your cells get tremendous benefits from the antioxidants in these nuts. It’s one of the reasons why eating lots of chocolate isn’t all that bad. You may not be aware, however, of how helpful antioxidants can be for fighting oxidative stress, which is known to cause cell structure damage. Because of this, antioxidants are incredibly important to your overall health. Did you know that Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s have been linked with a lack of antioxidants?”

I wrote about the value of antioxidants previously.

Orandi Ranch pistachios and brochure sent in by a reader

The Orandi Ranch brochure states that a serving of pistachios has more antioxidants than red wine and blueberries combined.
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What is a belVita Biscuit? Part II

The belVita Biscuits sent us by Edelman.

Not long after my first post about Kraft’s new (to the U.S.) belVita biscuits, we received an e-mail from Edelman Public Relations, which is handling PR for Kraft on this product. Edelman offered to send us samples of the product which we accepted with the understanding that receiving them free of charge would not influence our review.

The biscuits arrived and I opened the blueberry variety. The smell of blueberries was very strong upon opening. The crackers themselves reminded me of graham crackers in their consistency. Continue reading

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January is National Oatmeal Month

This is a better-late-than-never post. I should have run it earlier in the month.

While I have enjoyed oatmeal to the tune of several helpings along with the other fare on buffet tables, I noticed that it is not one of the most popular offerings.

I mentioned this to friends who thought one of two things. Either the other customers wanted more exotic items on the buffet and the oatmeal was too mundane. Or, they, like a lot of folks, don’t like oatmeal because it is ‘too mushy.’

It tastes as good as it looks ...

First of all, I want to point out that oatmeal is very fine food. It cuts cholesterol, has good fiber content and is a ‘whole grain’ with loads of vitamins and minerals that your body needs.

Check out the NutritionData page for the full breakdown. But, here are the food values. One-half cup (dry) oatmeal yields 150 calories, 3 grams of total fat including one gram of saturated fat. No trans fat or Cholesterol. Five mg of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.

Fixing awesome (non-mushy) oatmeal is a breeze. As Mr. Lazy Cook, I consider it a specialty. I use the directions on the package. Bring one cup of water to a boil. Add 1/2 cup of oats and a pinch of salt. Boil for around 4 minutes and stir occasionally. As you are stirring, you can keep an eye on the oats to see that they are not boiling away totally. When I take them off I can still see the shape of the oat flakes. As a topping I use light brown sugar. It is tasty and darkens to carmel when it hits the hot oats.

That is the basic recipe for oatmeal which is a great breakfast and you can eat it every day of your life. As you get comfortable fixing it, you can add cut up strawberries, blueberries or walnuts to it for interesting and very tasty and healthful variations.

Last, but not least, oatmeal is one of Mr. Lazy Cook’s favorites. What could be more simple to prepare? And, it is good for you.

Enjoy!

This is a redo of an item from 2010.

Tony

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Filed under calories, cholesterol, Fiber, healthy eating, lazy cook, men's health, Weight

Mr. Lazy Cook Combines Whole Grains

I have written a number of items on simple little techniques to create nutritious meals with minimal effort.

Here is another one. I like to cook up a pot of whole grains, such as brown rice, barley, farro, etc. Although it takes over 30 minutes to cook up, it produces a major element in a half dozen meals.

For my latest experiment, I cooked up 2/3 cup of raw medium grain brown rice and 2/3 cup of barley together in organic chicken broth that I get from Costco by the quart.

Tasty barley-brown rice combo …

As you can see from the photo it cooks up into a lovely moist and tasty batch.

Later this week I will be making soup with cut up chicken from the rotisserie chicken I bought at Costco. Obviously, this latest combo of whole grains fits perfectly with that.

There are also nice cold salads you can put together based on this mixture of whole grains.

Here is the nutritional breakdown for each:

Barley: Serving Size 1 cup, Calories 193, Carbohydrates 44 grams, no Cholesterol, Fat  1 gram, Sodium 4.7 mg, Fiber 6 grams and Protein 3.6 grams

Medium grain Brown Rice: Serving Size 1 cup, Calories 218, carbohydrates 46 grams, no cholesterol, Fat 1.6 grams, Sodium 2.0 mg, Fiber 4.5 grams, and Protein 4.5 grams

Please do feel free to write in suggestions of meals you made with this.

A quick final note. I just had a side dish of this barley-brown rice pilaf for dinner and the combination had a lovely taste and texture.

Tony

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