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Posts tagged ‘Dietary fiber’

Fiber, Carbs and Labels

Fiber is a carbohydrate, but since it isn’t digested, it kind of doesn’t “count” as a carb. But it really is a carb. How can that be?

Fiber doesn’t impact blood glucose negatively. Actually. fiber  affects blood sugars positively by slowing the impact of other carbs ingested. So, if you are a person who reads labels (which is a great idea, by the way), the general grams of fiber isn’t always the real picture– you ought to look for the effective carbohydrates (carbs minus fiber). For example, a serving that has 6 grams of carbs but 5 of fiber only has 1 gram of effective carbohydrates.  Bottom line: Fiber is a  carbohydrate but provides no calories or “useable” carbs.

Almost all the non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits are the ones that are highest in both fiber and nutrients.

Here is a list, roughly in order on this carb/fiber scale. For foods not on this list, you can always check out http://www.nutritiondata.com.

Almost All Fiber:

Flax!! There is almost no usable carbohydrate in flax seeds. It is very high in both soluble and insoluble fiber (about one third of the fiber is soluble), and has a pile of nutrients to boot. Flax is just could be the ultimate low-carb fiber source. 1 T ground flax has 2.0 grams of carbohydrate, 1.9 of which is fiber.

Chia Seeds have a fiber and carb profile similar to flax seeds. (Remember that I sell these if you are interested).

Vegetables that are close to all fiber:

Mustard Greens, Chicory, Endive

More Fiber Than Usable Carbohydrate:

Wheat Bran: ½ cup raw, 3 grams usable carb, 6 grams fiber

Unsweetened Coconut and Coconut Flour: 1 ounce, 2 grams usable carb, 5 grams fiber

High Fiber Cereals: Check the labels carefully, but a few high fiber cereals are also low or fairly low in carbohydrate. Examples: All Bran with Extra Fiber; Fiber One Collard Greens: 1 cup chopped, cooked, 4 grams usable carb, 5 grams fiber

Avocado, Hass : 1 medium avocado, 3 grams usable carb, 12 grams fiber

Spinach and Chard : 1 cup chopped, cooked � 3 g usable carb, 4 g fiber ; Frozen 1 10 oz package � 3 g usable carb, 8 g fiber : 6 cups of raw spinach or chard=about 1 cup cooked

Broccoli: 1/2 cup chopped, cooked, 1 gram usable carb, 3 grams fiber ; 1 cup chopped, raw, 4 grams usable carb, 2 grams fiber

Cauliflower : 1/2 cup pieces, cooked,1 gram usable carb, 2 grams fiber ; 1 cup raw, 2 grams usable carb, 2.5 grams fiber

Blackberries: 1 cup, raw, 6 grams usable carb, 8 grams fiber

About as Much Usable Carb as Fiber:

Asparagus: 1/2 cup pieces, 2 grams usable carbs, 2 grams fiber

Celery: 1 cup chopped, 1.5 grams usable carb, 1.5 grams fiber

Eggplant: 1 cup raw, cubed, 2 grams usable fiber, 3 grams fiber; 1 cup cubed, cooked, 5 grams usable carb, 3 grams fiber

Lettuce, Romaine: 1 cup shredded, .5 gram usable carb, 1 g fiber

Mushrooms: 1 cup, sliced, raw, 1 gram usable carb, 1 gram fiber

Radishes: 1 cup raw, sliced, 2 grams usable carb, 2 grams fiber

Red Raspberries: 1 cup, raw, 7 grams usable carb, 8 grams fiber

High Fiber, but Not As Much Fiber as Usable Carb

Rice Bran: 1/4 cup 8 grams usable carb, 6 grams fiber

Cabbage: 1 cup raw, chopped, 3 grams usable carb, 2 grams fiber ;1/2 cup cooked, chopped, 2 grams usable carb 1 gram fiber

Bell Peppers: 1 cup chopped, raw, 4 grams usable carb, 3 grams fiber

Snow Peas (edible pod):1 cup whole, raw, 3 grams usable carb, 2 grams fiber

Zucchini Squash : 1 cup cooked, sliced, 4 grams usable carb, 3 grams fiber

Strawberries: 1/2 cup sliced, 5 grams usable carb, 2 grams fiber

By the way, talking about labels, all nutritional information is really only an estimate. Every food varies in composition from one to another. The particular variety of plant or animal, where it grew, the weather, the fertilizer – many factors go into the final product. Think about wines for example: even the flavor varies based on where the grapes grew. And this is just as true for every other fresh food and the products made from it, so that we can never know exactly how many carbs or calories or vitamins are in any particular strawberry, unless you analyze that particular strawberry. Since nutritional labels are derived from a certain batch of food, they will reflect this variation. The USDA database takes averages from many batches of the food to come up with their numbers. The numbers may change when more data comes–that’s how there can be such a variation in the calorie count programs that are out there.

The serving size on the label is not always perfectly clear either. If a label says that 1 tablespoon of a food has one gram of carbohydrate for example, that could be anything from .51 grams to 1.49 grams because they are allowed to round up or down. That’s not a big deal if you are eating one serving, but there are 16 tablespoons in a cup, so the error could be as much as 8 grams in either direction!

There you have it!

 

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Colon Health

I don’t think that you can under-emphasize the importance of a healthy colon (large intestine)!

The colon removes water, salt, and some nutrients forming stool. Muscles line the colon’s walls, squeezing its contents along. Billions of bacteria coat the colon and its contents, living in a healthy balance with the body. In a healthy colon, the beneficial bacteria outnumber the harmful one.The colon contains about 60 varieties of bacteria, which aid digestion, promote vital nutrient production, help maintain pH balance and prevent growth of harmful bacteria.

But when fundamental nutritional needs are not being met, the body is malnourished and disease is inevitable…  Actually, at this point, it is believed that 90 % of all diseases and discomfort is directly or undirectly related to an unclean colon.  It is predicted that 44 % of the current population will die as a result of colon-related issues!

And the average American diet includes refined junk food, processed meats, fats, sugar, preservatives, toxins and not enough fiber. When you combine a poor diet combined with lack of dietary fiber, it’s almost impossible to maintain  a healthy colon…

 Autointoxication is the process through which we self-poison ourselves through microorganisms, metabolic wastes and other poisons produced within the body.    Worms and parasites typically enter the body through one of four major pathways: the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and our contact with the world around us leaves us vulnerable to infestation. In addition to foods and beverages, worms can also enter the body through airborne insects, such as infected mosquitoes, fleas, and common houseflies. Some are contracted through contaminated dust inhalation, skin penetration (walking barefoot outdoors, for example), international travel, and in some cases, through sexual contact.

The Royal Academy of Physicians of Great Britain has identified 36 poisonous substances that form in the large intestine; these toxins are absorbed by the bloodstream, resulting in the body’s inability to metabolize food properly or provide vital energy for living.  The average American (of normal weight without any known allergies) might be carrying as much as 10 to 25 pounds of impacted fecal matter in his/her colon! 

In most cases, the symptoms are generally mild, consisting mainly of occasional gas, bloating, fatigue, and light stomach discomfort.  The most common sign of a toxic colon is chronic constipation; the accumulation of old, hardened feces sticks to the walls of the colon and the passage is greatly reduces in diameter so stool becomes much narrower.  A person with a healthy colon should have one to three bowel movements per day and elimination should be fast and easy.  The stool should be light brown in color, fluffy in texture with no offensive odor.

Another common sign of a toxic colon is the classic potbelly; it is impossible to have a flat tummy when you are carrying around pounds of old fecal matter! Fecal build-up on the colon wall is also the perfect breeding ground for parasites, which are organisms that grow, feed and are sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of their host.   Recent medical studies estimate that 85 % of the North American adult population is infected with at least one form of parasite!  Most frequent signs of parasites in human are: bloated abdomen, inability to lose weight, dark circle under eyes, diarrhea or chronic constipation or both, moodiness, cravings for sweets, depression, anemia, chronic fatigue, food allergies, sinus congestion, water retention, bad body odor, bad breath, anal itching, constant abdominal discomfort.  These parasites weaken the immune system, feed on the most nutritious part of our diet, induce an inflammatory reaction, produce toxic waste that the body absorbs…

This is probably more information than you wanted.  But all of that to tell you that a clean, strong and well-functioning colon is essential for optimal health, and we must learn to treat our colon with kindness!  We have to focus on getting the colon to function optimally and figure out how to eliminate toxic fecal build-up (the breeding ground for parasites).  So, what can be done?

  1. Eliminate from diet all that contributes to the problem: processed food, sugar, white flour and white flour products, most dairy, fruits and vegetables treated with pesticides, food additives, coloring, preservatives…
  2. Eat a diet high in fiber and nutrients: whole grains, oat bran, organic fruit and veggies, brown rice, fish…
  3. If you need extra fiber to keep your bowels moving freely and help break down and remove existing build-up, make sure the fiber supplement you choose has both soluble and insoluble fiber and that it contains psyllium husks to provide bulk and lubrication for the bowels.
  4. If you want herbal supplements, go for : wormwood, cloves, garlic, yellow dock, pau d’arco, black walnut and pumpkin seeds.
  5. Organic, unsweetened yogurt is a great source of acidophilus, a beneficial bacteria that occurs naturally in colon—very useful to speed up recovery if you have taken antibiotics
  6. Drink your water, and then some!!!
  7. Exercise speeds up bowel action and encourages healthy elimination
  8. Antioparasitic natural compounds included Green Walnut hulls, Wormwood extract and Clove buds.   Within the digestive tract, these compounds work together to discourage the survival and reproductive abilities of many common worms and parasites
  9. Probiotics (Acidophilus, Bifidus); these supplements rid the body of unwatned parasites, but can also cause the body to lose some of its beneficial flora.   Fructooligosaccharides, or simply FOS, is a type of probicotic that  has been shown in numerous studies to encourage the growth and activity of friendly bacteria

There you go…

 

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