Ann Blanton Let's talk health, fitness, nutrition and everything in between

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High fiber foods

Foods high in fiber

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Digestive Health – The facts on fiber and why it’s important

by Ann Blanton

If you want to reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, the key component is to eat a high fiber diet. Most people don’t even come close to consuming the amounts that are required on a daily basis. On average, most adults obtain as little as ten to fifteen grams of fiber a day.

What is it?

Fiber is a main factor for a healthy well-balanced diet. It’s a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest and comes from plant based foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes. Without being broken down into nutrients, fiber passes completely through the digestive tract rather than being absorbed into the bloodstream.

Why it’s important

Fiber offers cancer fighting properties and prevent certain types of cancer. The edible section of plants are opposed to absorption and have maximum helpful elements to fight against disease..

Other health factors for a high fiber diet include: a reduction in blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, glucose levels and inflammation. It also promotes weight loss because it produces fullness in the intestines by decreasing food intake.

How much is enough

The recommended intake should consist of 14 grams for every one thousand calories you take in on a daily basis. So if you’re consumption is two thousand calories, you should be eating at least 28 grams of fiber.

To determine how much fiber is enough, depends on your age and gender. Women 50 and younger, should aim for 25 grams a day. Those 51 and over, should be getting 21 grams each day. Men 50 and younger, should include a maximum intake of 38 grams, and men 51 and over should try to get 30 grams on a daily basis.

Types of fiber

There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble dissolves in water and is found in most fruits   It forms into a gel in the digestive tract and allows food to move quickly through the system. Soluble fiber also maintains healthy cholesterol levels and promotes a much healthier cardiovascular system. Insoluble fiber is quite the reverse and does not evaporate in liquid. Instead, it adds bulk to the stool and passes quickly through the stomach and intestines unless there is fat, protein or soluble fiber to slow down the process. Both types are recommended daily for a well-balanced diet.

Soluble fiber foods

The foods listed below foods are high in soluble fiber and are loaded with vitamins, minerals and nutrients and can also help reduce cholesterol levels.

Plums, pears, prunes

Grapefruits, oranges, lemons and limes

oatmeal

Brussel sprouts, broccoli

lentils

carrots

chick peas

kidney pinto and lima beans

Insoluble fiber foods

Foods that are high in insoluble fiber incorporate the kernel and the bran. The bran is the outer portion that covers the kernel. Here is a list of the following foods.

Whole grain breads and cereals

Wheat bran

Whole wheat flour, bread and cereal

Granola

Seeds and nuts

Popcorn

Beans, lentils and brown rice

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and cranberries

Grapes and raisins

Cherries

Pineapple

Peaches, pears, nectarines and apricots

Apples, oranges and melons

Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, lettuce and collards

Corn and peas such as snow, snap and pea pods

Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussel sprouts

Onions, shallots, leeks, scallions,  green peppers, celery and garlic

Eggplant

Cucumbers and tomatoes

Tip:

You should never eat these foods alone or on an empty stomach. Insoluble fiber foods should always be eaten with large quantities of soluble fiber to keep the gastro colic reflex steady  This stimulates the movement into the gastrointestinal tract.

Benefits

There are many health benefits from eating a  high fiber diet. Some of them are listed below:

Lowers bad cholesterol levels, LDL

Reduces the risk of certain types of cancer such as prostrate, breast, ovarian and uterine. According to clinical studies, there are conflicting results whether a high fiber diet can prevent colon cancer.

Lowers the risk of developing hemorrhoids and diverticular disease, which are small pouches in the colon

Improves blood sugar levels and Diabetes

Helps prevent heart disease

Relieves irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Reduces the formation of gallstones and kidney stones because it regulates blood sugar

Skin breakouts and rashes

Inhibits the severity of a stroke and the chances of recovery

Assists healthy weight management

So, get in your daily dose of fiber and greatly improve your health.

Always, I appreciate your feedback, so leave all your comments.

I’ve had many articles published at Fitness Plus Magazine. Here’s the link to view them if you want to check them out. http://fitplusmag.com/magazine/author/annblanton/ I also had a story story published as an anthology in a book titled, “Heartscapes”.

John 6:35: And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life. He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Weight Loss Boss

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Weight Management – Why women gain weight

by Ann Blanton 

If you’re someone who gets frustrated or discouraged every time you step on the scale, you’re not alone. Every day weighing can sabotage you from accomplishing your weight loss goals, so you might want to limit yourself from getting on that pesky contraception.

First, it’s important to know that daily weighing is not required. There are many causes why the numbers on the scale increase rather than decrease. Let’s discuss what some of those reasons are.

Sodium

Salt does not make you gain fat. Why? Because it contains no calories. Yet, weight gain is certainly a temporary possibility if consumptions are too high. This is simply because it causes your body to retain water. The body naturally tries to eliminate extreme amounts by diluting it with water. Then again, weight loss is more likely if your consumption is too low. For this reason, it removes water. Foods that are highly processed are more likely to have higher contents of sodium.

Glycogen

I like to think of glycogen as a tank that’s filled with stored carbohydrates. On any given day, if you fail to take in  adequate amounts of carbohydrates, your glycogen supply will diminish. When this happens, your appetite could slightly increase; and your body will replace its fuel with water. It’s not uncommon to experience shifts in water weight up to approximately two pounds daily without changing your activity level or calorie consumption.

Muscle

If you’ve been including weight training along with cardiovascular activity into your daily routine, don’t be alarmed if you see increased weight gain.  Long lean muscle has positive effects on the body for many reasons. It boosts metabolism, protects the bones against disease such as osteoporosis by preventing bone loss, gives you with a sexy physique and provides confidence by increasing your self- esteem.  What’s more, if you don’t use it you’ll lose it.

Menstruation 

Let’s take a moment to talk about why weight fluctuations are often a result of menstruation. Fluid retention or edema is frequently the culprit during this time of the month, because hormonal changes are usually taking place. At this time, some women experience difficulty with bowel movement that can also lead to water retention.

During the pre-menstrual cycle, magnesium levels typically plummet. When this happens, it creates a lower production of insulin levels. As the levels drop, sugar cravings take place.  Most often, the end result is  weight gain.

Peri–Menopause  and Menopause 

Weight gain often becomes a problem for women who are approaching the years of peri-menopause and menopause, particularly around the mid section. Although a hormonal imbalance takes place for many women, hormones alone are not entirely the problem. The difference between genetics and lifestyle principles are also linked. Along with the aging process, metabolism clearly slows down and muscle mass begins to decline. Failure to do something about this, your body composition will change from a reduced amount of muscle to additional fat.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation can often be the cause of many negative effects  on the body. Lack of sleep decreases your energy level, affects motivation to exercise and often results in eating more than what’s normally required for the body. Little or no sleep causes a rise in ghrelin; the hormone that stimulates the appetite. So, if you’re not dropping those few extra pounds, perhaps you’re not getting enough shut- eye.

Stress 

Let’s face it, stress is a way of life! With today’s economy, who wouldn’t be stressed. Acute stress may lead to appetite loss, whereas, chronic stress may enhance appetite. Prolonged stress triggers the hormone cortisol by releasing it into the body. When this happens, it affects metabolism; it can also lead to depression, sleep deprivation and obesity. The best way to reduce stress is through physical activity.

Hypothyroidism 

The tiny butterfly gland located in the middle of the neck can wreak havoc on the entire body if it’s not controlled. Hypothyroidism (underactive), is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid by not producing enough of the hormone, T4 (thyroxine). When levels become low, it instantly signals the brain and tells the thyroid to release more T4. When this happens, if affects the metabolic rate which in turn affects the body to burn fat, as a result, unexpected weight gain.

Medications

It’s not uncommon for certain types of prescription medications to cause weight gain. This is because some medications can increase appetite, quench your thirst for sugary drinks, increase water retention and reduce the ability to burn fat. If this is a concern and you experience these side effects, you might want to talk to your health care professional.

So, what do you think,  is it true, does the scale really lie? The next time you step onto the scale, take all these facts into consideration.

Stop by often. I always appreciate your comments.

I’ve had many articles published at Fitness Plus Magazine. Here’s the link to view them if you want to check them out. I’ve also had my first short story published as an anthology in a book titled, “Heartscape”. http://fitplusmag.com/magazine/author/annblanton/

Drink up! The Nutrient of Life!

Water is by far, the most important nutrient on earth! Water is 80% of the body’s weight that performs and supports the internal functions of all plants and animals. Common sense tells us that we all need it, and without it, our bodies simply cannot perform appropriately.  When your body is well hydrated, all the internal organs function at a higher capacity.

Water helps to regulate the body’s temperature. It makes up ninety two percent of the blood and almost ninety eight percent of intestinal, gastric,  salivary and pancreatic juices. Water holds all nutritive factors in solution and acts as a transportation medium for all these substances. Drinking water for health, helps to keep the blood thin, as it should be. But when you’re dehydrated, the blood thickens which can make it much more difficult to pump. What’s more, it makes the overall function of the body slow and unproductive.

Many believe that drinking water is only to quench thirst, but, in reality, it’s the most important source of nourishment for the body. It might be possible to go without food for days, maybe even weeks, but without water, a person would be in dire straits.

On average, an adult body loses about three and a half quarts of water on a daily basis through breathing, perspiration, urination and bowel movement. Because half of the human body is made up of water, it’s important to replace what is lost. The only way to do that, is to drink plenty of fluids every day to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Some people wonder how much water they should be drinking daily. That depends on your activity level, health status, the climate in which you live or if you’re pregnant or nursing. A good way to determine your daily consumption is based on your total body weight divided by two. Example: Let’s say that you weigh one hundred and fifty pounds; divide that by two, equals seventy five. So every day you should be drinking no less than seventy five ounces of fresh, clean water.  Are you drinking the expected amount for your total body weight?

Water and Exercise

Because sweat is a liquid, it diminishes the body’s internal water supply. If you sweat excessively during exercise and don’t replenish the fluids that are lost, it can lead to illness and other problems such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, dizziness and muscle cramps. With that said, it’s critical to adequately replace whatever you lose while exercising. Hydration enhances physical performance, helps digestion, maintains balance of electrolytes and transports nutrition. Remember to always drink more water before, during and after exercise to keep your energy levels high and to aid in recovery.

Water and Weight Loss

Drinking water also helps to speed up your metabolism and acts as a natural appetite suppressant for weight loss. If you’re trying to lose weight, you should be drinking an additional eight ounce glass for every twenty five pounds you are over your ideal weight. The advantage is the positive effect water has on your metabolic rate. Usually, women have less water than men; but overweight people have less water than a thin person because fatty tissue contains less water than lean tissue.

Ask yourself this question. How many times have you felt hungry and reached for a snack? Your body was asking for something and you merely assumed it must be food. Maybe you were  just dehydrated and needed water. The next time, reach for a glass of water and see if that helps. Some people wait until there thirsty to drink water. If you wait until thirst sets in, you’re probably already dehydrated.

Water flushes toxins from the body

Drinking water detoxifies the liver and kidneys and carries waste away from the body. 

Water assists fluid retention

If the body doesn’t get enough water, every drop of liquid you put into it, it will hold onto. So what’s the solution? Drink more water. When the body recognizes it has a continuous amount, it will stop hanging onto every drop. A diet that is high in sodium will also cause water retention. To combat this, drink more water to help flush the sodium through your kidneys.

Muscle Tone

If you lift weights to build long lean muscle mass, you must keep your body well-hydrated because water helps muscle tone by giving it the usual capability to contract. It also lubricates the joints.

Can you drink too much water? Absolutely. It’s called water intoxication. When I talk about too much water, I’m referring to excessive amounts under normal circumstances. Too much water in your system causes the dilution of necessary electrolytes in the blood stream, which has implications to control the heart beat. Recommendations are to drink eight to twelve glasses of fluid with additional fluids from the foods that you eat to help support exercise and hot climates.

Tip:

If you plan to stay hydrated, drink cold water; but drink warm water if you want to stay full longer.

I’ve had many articles published at Fitness Plus Magazine. Here’s the link to view them if you want to check them out. http://fitplusmag.com/magazine/author/annblanton/