Super Foods Fight Killer Diseases
The human body likes a challenge, and exercising, intermittent fasting and braving the elements from time to time keeps us younger because we are giving our cells a workout.
The same holds true for your gut and digestive system, says Dr. Walter Willet, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health.
In a recent Time Mag article, Dr. Willett says that there is evidence from numerous studies that a diet high in fiber is related to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and weight gain. When we eat only processed foods that breakdown too easily in the digestive system, we tend to over eat and have out-of-control blood sugar surge and our digestive system does not get the workout it needs to remain stimulated and healthy.
In a review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition it was revealed that the consumption of dietary fiber was associated with lower risks for pancreatic cancer, heart disease related death and death from any cause.
According to Nicola McKeown, a fiber researcher and associate professor at Tufts University’s School of Nutrition Science and Policy, we need the 2 types of fiber, both the soluble and the insoluble for the best health benefits.
Soluble fiber: Is the kind that that dissolves in water is associated with lower blood cholesterol levels and better control of blood sugar levels. Foods that are high in insoluble fiber include dried beans, oats, oat bran, barley, citrus fruits, apples, strawberries, peas and potatoes.
Insoluble fibers: Do not dissolve in water and pass through the digestive system largely intact. They act like brooms on the inside of your colon to remove old and damaged cells, this reducing the risk of colon cancer. Insoluble fiber is found in the outer layers of cereals and in the skin of many vegetables and fruit. That is why its important to eat the whole fruit and leave the skin on vegetables as much a possible when cooking them.
And the good news is that there is no upper limit on the amount of fiber you can eat as long as it comes from whole foods or whole grains, say experts.
The best foods to boost your fiber uptake are those that naturally include both soluble and insoluble fiber, says Dr. Robert Lustig, a metabolism researcher at the University of California, San Francisco.
“That’s everything that comes out of the ground and is not processed,” he says. The foods he recommends are whole fruits, vegetables, seeds and legumes such as beans and peanuts. “We should all eat more beans,” he says.
Whole grains are also a particularly good source of fiber. Although many of the popular low-carb diets shun whole grains, Willet says this is a concern. Whole grains include grains like wheat, corn, rice, oats, quinoa, spelt and rye and yes, popcorn that are eaten in the “whole form” according to the Whole Grains Council.
“We have no long-term studies of these diets,” he says. “The evidence of benefits for dietary fiber, especially whole grains, is strong. If we really consume our grains as whole grains, we can have a relatively low carbohydrate intake and still get plenty of fiber.”
Here is the evidence: People who eat three servings of whole grains have been shown to reduce their risk of heart disease by 25-36%, stroke by 37%, type 2 diabetes by 21-17%, digestive system cancers by 21-43% and hormone related cancers by 1040%, says the Council.
Dr. Willet recommends getting fiber from a variety of sources.
A breakfast of unsweetened oatmeal and a half cup of berries will start your day with roughly 15 grams of fiber right off the bat. Eating a variety of plant-based foods throughout helps you get both soluble and insoluble fiber into your diet, and reduce your risk of dreaded disease.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively
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