Pump Up the Fiber In Your Diet

Fiber is necessary for a person’s well being. It increases the immune system in the gut, keeps the digestive lining healthy, supports the good probiotic bacteria, and absorbs excess cholesterol, fat, and toxins from our bodies. Here are some ways of increasing the fiber in your diet.

Cereal
Eating whole grain, unsweetened cereal with 4 grams of fiber is the ideal, but some studies show that just any old cereal might do the trick. According to research done by the University of California, cereal eaters eat less fat and more fiber than those who make other breakfast choices.

Two Apples A Day
Keep two doctors away? Apples are a source of pectin. Pectin is a soluble fiber that digests slowly and helps to keep you full. One study showed that just 5 grams of the stuff left people feeling satisfied for four hours.

yogurt parfait

Yogurt Parfait
Here’s a great breakfast idea that’s packed with fiber. Mix one small container of yogurt with 1/3 cup all-bran cereal, 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed, and 5 diced strawberries. Not only will you get a delicious breakfast, you’ll also get 12.2 grams of fiber, which is almost half your daily allowance.

Carrots and Broccoli in Low -Fat Ranch
Each cup of veggies will give you five grams of fiber. Snack on this three times a week.

Oatmeal
If a bowl of the stuff is not your style, you can use oatmeal instead of bread crumbs on your meatballs and meatloaf, sprinkle it on your ice cream, or bake it into cookies and muffins.

Trail mix
Mix raisins, peanuts, chocolate-covered soy nuts, and high fiber cereal for a great munchie mix. One handful makes for great high fiber between- meals snack.

whole grain crackers

Whole Grain Crackers
A little cracker can go a long way. One whole wheat cracker has 1/2 gram of fiber; do the math and that translates to 5 grams in ten crackers. Next time your looking for something to spread your peanut butter on, look for some whole grain crackers instead of bread.

Kidney Beans and Chickpeas
Lisa Andrews, RD, and nutritionist at the VA Medical Center in Cincinnati, says that you can get an additional 5 grams of fiber by adding a quarter cup of chickpeas and kidney beans to your next salad.

Switch From White to a Brown Foods
Rice is a great example. You can also switch regular pasta to whole wheat along with your corn burritos, white bread and cous cous. Working these into your diet gradually can increase your daily fiber intake by an easy ten grams without making a radical change to your diet.

What are you doing to pump up the fiber in your diet? Let us know!

Heart-healthy foods

Foods That Boost Your Cardiovascular Health

When we use the term “hungry heart,” we are usually not speaking in the literal, scientific sense. The Hebrew bible associated all feelings with the heart, hunger and thirst included and quoted Abraham as saying we shall eat to “sustain our hearts.” However, today we tend to more often associate these signals with the mind and brain. However, is the whole body concept so far-fetched? After all, if our heart does fuel our body, and our stomach does fuel our heart, then maybe the heart can be hungry. And if the heart is hungry, what should we feed it?

The Food-Heart Connection
According to Julie Zumpano, RD, LD, and dietitian for the Preventive Cardiology and Nutrition Program at Cleveland Clinic says, “You can definitely reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by eating certain foods every day. Try to eat foods that are in their natural form, as they come from the ground.” Here are some suggestions for a heart-healthy diet.

Fish
Fish are packed with omega-3’s to support your heart. Eating fish with a high omega-3 content, such as salmon and mackerel can help prevent the formation of blood clots, and help maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Salmon

Almonds
A handful of almonds contains a huge load of nutrients! Not only do these nuts have protein, magnesium, and fiber, but they are also high in vitamin E, biotin, monosaturated fats and antioxidants to protect against oxidative stress. They have also been shown to help reduce risk of heart disease and lower bad cholesterol levels.

Beans
Beans, beans, good for your heart! Beans are rich in soluble fiber and help decrease blood pressure and reduce inflammation. They are also full of phytochemicals that reduce oxidative stress, a known contributor to heart disease.

Pomegranates
These lovely seeded fruits have incredible anti-inflammatory properties to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and blood disease. They also contain punicic acid, a fatty acid proven to combat risk factors associated with heart disease.

Pomegranates

Whole Grains
If you want to improve heart health, swap out that white bread for whole wheat. Web MD cites research showing that the consumption of just 25 grams of whole grains per day can reduce heart disease by 15%.” A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer,” says the website.

Red Wine
Don’t get too excited. Moderation is the key. Scientist suggest that one glass of red per day can raise HDL, or good cholesterol, which prevents blood clots and inflammation that can contribute to a stroke or heart attack. However, they also warn against too much of the good stuff, which may have a detrimental effect on mental and physical health.

Dark Chocolate
Bring on the dark chocolate to help protect your cardiovascular system. This wonderful treat contains flavanols. an antioxidant which has been shown to lower blood pressure, increase blood flow to the heart, and decrease the likelihood of blood clot formation.

Dark chocolate

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, folic acid. and beta carotene, but it’s lycopene that really gives these veggies their heart healthy kick. Lycopene reduces risk for heart disease and reduces blood pressure, inflammation, and stroke which make these veggies a great pick for a snack or salad topper.

What do you feed your heart to keep it healthy? Let us know! We love to hear it!

Woman eating berries

Best Foods for Anti-Aging

Aging is inevitable, but you can prolong your life and improve your quality of life by keeping a healthy lifestyle. Your health is influenced by many things like stress, sleep and activity level, but one of the most important factors is the food you consume. A healthy, nutritious diet not only helps to control weight and keep you full of necessary vitamins and minerals, there are many studies suggesting that there are certain foods you can eat to help slow down the aging process. Below, find five of our favorite foods for anti-aging.

Avocado

Avocados
This green fruit (yes, it’s technically a fruit) is an incredible addition to your diet when you want to fight aging because it contains fat. Specifically, it contains a beneficial type of fat known as monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fat is minuscule and as such, it can slip through membranes and provide you with protection from free radical damage. Additionally, avocados may also help to increase your bone density due to the presence of the mineral boron, which helps to absorb calcium. Avocado contains about 14 grams of fiber, which expedites the removal of harmful toxins that can speed up the aging process.

Whole wheat bread

Whole Grains
Whole grains are an important component of an anti-aging diet because they contain several health benefits that become increasingly important as you age. By affecting the rate at which your arteries age, whole grains can help to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Whole grains are processed more slowly than processed grains, so they help prevent high blood sugar and diabetes by keeping blood sugar levels more steady for longer periods of time.

Fish

Fish
A staple of the famous anti-aging regime, the Mediterranean diet, fish is an excellent way to provide your body with nourishment and some serious heart health benefits. Studies conducted thirty years ago indicated that native Inuit of Alaska were impressively free of heart disease and scientists attribute this to the extraordinary amount of fish that Inuits consume. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in abundance in fish and these fatty acids prevent cholesterol from building in the arteries and protect against irregular heart rhythms. Additionally, those who consume fish regularly have a lower risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

Olive oil

Olive Oil
Another essential in the Mediterranean diet is olive oil. Like the avocado, olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, but it also contains other significantly beneficial ingredients that fight aging and age-related diseases. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil have anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Antioxidants and polyphenols in olive oil also help to slow cognitive decline as you are.

Dark chocolate

Dark Chocolate
Proving that you can enjoy dessert while improving your health, dark chocolate, in moderation, is another food to add to your anti-aging grocery list. Cocoa, the main ingredient in dark chocolate, is full of helpful flavonoids and antioxidants. According to a study published on PubMed.gov, “the body of short-term randomized feeding trials suggests cocoa and chocolate may exert beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk via effects on lowering blood pressure, anti-inflammation, anti-platelet function, higher HDL, decreased LDL oxidation. Meanwhile, the large body of prospective studies of flavonoids suggests the flavonoid content of chocolate may reduce risk of cardiovascular mortality.”

The foods you choose to put into your body have a direct impact on not only your current health, but your future health as well. Eating foods that fight aging help you achieve your maximum potential right now and can help you decrease your risks for major aging concerns including brain function and cardiovascular disease. Construct a diet that includes plenty of fresh produce, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats and use some of our favorite foods for anti-aging as a guide.