March 2011

Benefits of fiber in your diet and where to get it from

If you just love baked beans on toast, here is a good excuse to eat them as often as you like, especially if the toast is whole-wheat: fiber.

Fiber is the magic ingredient which helps maintains your digestive system in perfect shape. Healthy digestion contributes to lower weight and increased health, it also means less risk of getting many of our modern diseases such as bowel cancer, diverticular disease and even diabetes.

Fiber is indigestible and does not contain nutriens as such. But fiber is hightly recommended for its ability to move through the digestive tract faster preventing foods from putrefying in the digestive tract which then contributes to many modern diseases.
This means – the food gets digested sooner, and the indigestible bits, including the fiber, are moved out faster.

In addition, fiber is known to absorb water to become lighter, bulkier and easier to move along. This is why it helps prevent constipation. Also, when it absorbs water in the stomach, it gives that feeling of feeling full and therefore lessening the amount of food, which is consumed.

The recommended daily fiber intake is about 35 grams a day. In reality, a normal western diet usually supplies only 12 grams or less. Foods that look fibrous, like celery and lettuce, are not the answer. Fiber comes in some surprising forms.

So, which foods are fiber-rich?

A/ a breakfast or supper of baked beans on toast will give you nearly 10 grams of fiber by itself. Dried beans, peas, lentils and garbanzos are all excellent sources of fiber.

B/ whole-wheat bread has more fiber than white: nearly 3 grams per slice compared with 0.6 gram for white.

Which means that half a cup of baked beans on a slice of whole-wheat toast will supply one third of the fiber needed in a day!

If you don’t like baked beans, there are many other foods to choose from:
– Half a cup of All-Bran will contains about 10 grams of fiber.
– One cup of cooked oatmeal contains about 4.
– An apple contains about 4 grams.
– A cup of dried prunes (soked in water) has over 11 grams.
– Just three fresh carrots a day will give you 6 grams of fiber.
– Cabbage and green vegetable salad is also a rich source of fiber.

But keep in mind that it isn’t advisable to increase the fiber in your diet in one go. This could make you feel very uncomfortable. It is best to add fiber into your meals gradually, to give your body time to adjust to this new, healthier way of eating.

And don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day, so that the fiber you eat can swell to be as light as possible.

Cranberries for health

Cranberries are recognised as a good source of vitamin C. But recent researches shown that cranberries also have other health benefits.

Studies have shown that drinking Cranberry Juice has helped men and women suffering from Urinary Tract Infections.

Cranberries are rich in querticin which has anti-inflammatory properties in the body.

They also contain chemicals, which inhibit the activity of E-coli – the bacteria most often responsible for cystitis, by stopping the bacteria sticking to surfaces in the body.

Cranberry Juice is widely available – look out for those containing the most actual Cranberry Juice, not sweetened water!

If you find it a little sharp for your palatte, try a raspberry or apple mix.

Source: WeightLossResources

Tips for Sugar-free Cooking and Eating

Whatever your reasons to reduce sugar, it can be a real trial to lessen its impact in your meals and snacks. Just imagine if you had to empty your cupboards and never buy chocolates. Sounds impossible? Well, it is possible, especially for me – I never had that ‘sweet tooth’. But even if you love sweets, there are ways to reduce your daily intake.

As you know, sugar and fat are against you when it comes to staying trim. Debate still rages over whether sugar causes behavioral changes in children. Generations have been warned that sugars in the mouth cause dental decay.

So how do you cut back on sugar intake without causing a full-blown rebellion? The trick is – It has to be done gradually.

Forget fizzy drinks like coke, sprite and lemonade. Mix half juice, half soda water for a substitute treat. Or use teeth-friendly Ribena (black currant concentrate).

Avoid bakery and store-bought cookies. Bake your own at home. Even using the full amount of sugar called for in the recipe, will still create a less sweet home backed cookie.

I’ve read that there are recipes using rice syrup, malt syrup or ripened mashed bananas to sweeten cakes but I haven’t actually come across one. Perhaps I could do a bit of research and come up with some ideas…

You could also cut sweet cravings by offering sweet vegetables at meals. Slow cooking root vegetables (like carrots, parsnips, onions) results in a sweeter side dish. Add cream and favourite fresh herbs for a lively and satisfying appetizer.

Baked apples and pears with butter and cinnamon or nutmeg are wonderful winter desserts with a natural sweetness.

Of course, you can always shop for sugar-free products in the supermarket – there is so much choice in yoghurts and deserts with sweeteners. You won’t notice any difference in taste.

Instead of displaying that cookie jar with sweet treats, put a nice basket on your dining table and fill it with fruit for easy snacking.

Who can resist peaches, plums, grapes, bananas, oranges and apples?