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Fiber and Health

Fiber is not an actual nutrient. But fiber is an important part of overall health. Basically, there are two types of fiber: souluble and insoluble.


Insoluble fiber


Insoluble fiber provides bulk in our diets. This is the kind of fiber found in wheat bran, for example. Although studies have produced mixed results regarding a link between insoluble fiber consumption and reduced rates of colon cancer (Read about "Colorectal Cancer"), the American Medical Association (AMA) says that this kind of fiber is still beneficial.





Fiber (or "roughage") moves food through your system more quickly. As a result, insoluble fiber, consumed with sufficient amounts of water, can help people avoid constipation. (Read about constipation in "Digestive Diseases and Conditions") The National Institutes of Health say that one theory behind the fiber/cancer connection was that this clears the intestine and colon of potential cancer-causing substances before they can create problems. Another theory was that when people eat more fiber, they also tend to eat less fat and a diet high in fat has been associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer. Although recent studies found no evidence of a direct fiber/colon cancer link, research goes on. Until the final results are in, many doctors and health organizations continue to emphasize the benefits of consuming a healthy diet that does have adequate amounts of insoluble fiber.


Soluble fiber


Soluble fiber mixes with liquids to form a kind of gel. Soluble fiber is the kind of fiber found in certain fruits, as well as beans, peas, legumes, and oats. The AMA says some forms of soluble fiber help lower your cholesterol level and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. (Read about "Cholesterol" "Coronary Heart Disease" and "Stroke") You've no doubt seen this claim on a number of food products which contain oats or oat flour. Although soluble fiber can be an important part of a heart-healthy diet, it's important to remember it is only a part of a healthy diet; you can't have a bowl of oatmeal and expect it to lower cholesterol when the rest of your diet is high in fats and saturated fats. (Read about "Low Fat Food Tips")


Overall fiber intake


The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) says many foods contain both soluble as well as insoluble fiber. How much do we need? Many health experts recommend a diet containing 20-35 grams of dietary fiber a day. This would include a mix of both souble and insoluble fiber. A diet with low fiber intake is the main suspect in what is called diverticular diease. (Read about "Diverticular Disease") That's when pouches form in the walls of the colon. They can sometimes become infected, resulting in diverticulitis. In fact treatment for diverticular disease usually includes an increase in dietary fiber. But a high-fiber diet can produce excess gas, so it's best to introduce more fiber into your diet gradually. When the amount of fiber is increased, AAFP says it's also essential to increase the amount of water you drink. Too much fiber can remove certain essential nutrients too, so it's generally more advisable to get your fiber from foods rather than supplements. If you experience any digestive pain or problems, consult your doctor right away.


What else goes into a healthy diet?


In order to get enough fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals, a diet should include five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day, according to the American Dietetic Association. Some examples of a serving size include:

a medium size piece of fruit  a cup of juice with pulp or a half a cup of raw or cooked vegetables.

Remember, the darker the color of the vegetables, the richer in nutrients they tend to be. Members of the cabbage family-including broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts-are a healthy choice for meals. Soy products and legumes can also be a healthy addition to the diet, providing protein as well as carbohydrates.


In addition to fruits and vegetables, dieticians recommend 6 to 11 servings a day of complex carbohydrates and whole grain products. A serving consists of a slice of bread, for example, or a half-cup of cereal, rice, or pasta. Whole grains are preferred over processed ones.

By adding food such as these to your diet, you can help improve your overall nutritional intake, as well as increase the amount of fiber you're getting.



¿What foods have Fiber ?


Combats cancer
Protects your heart
Ends anemia
Increases energy
Strengthens bones
Saves your eyesight
Quinoa is a super-grain because it is one of the healthiest foods you can find. Pronounced “keen-wah”, it was a staple of the Inca diet.

Quinoa can grow in high altitudes under terrible conditions. It flourishes even in poor soil with little rainfall and cold temperatures. If this grain sounds more like a week, that is because it is technically not a grain at all, but a member of the same family as spinach, beets, and Swiss chard.

It is no surprise quinoa differs from other grains. It has more protein, iron and unsaturated fats but fewer carbohydrates. In fact, it is considered a complete protein because it provides all eight essential amino acids. And it is packed with minerals, B vitamins and fiber.

When you also consider its versatility and interesting texture, which is both creamy and crunchy, it’s no wonder this healthy grain is gaining in popularity. Quinoa is also cropping up in new places. Once limited to South and Central American countries like Bolivia.

Quinoa – a tough grain that is tough on disease.

Five Ways Quinoa Keeps You Healthy


Prevents Cancer

Fiber may be one of your best defenses against cancer. Luckily, quinoa comes with four grams of this valuable stuff per serving.

Quinoa is a good source of insoluble and soluble fiber. Both may fight colon cancer in different ways. Insoluble fiber, the kind found in wheat bran, adds bulk to your stool and dilutes the cancer-causing substances it contains.

Soluble fiber, the main kind in oat bran and barley, may work by reacting with the tiny organisms, called micro flora, in your large intestine to form compounds that protect your colon. Both also speed stool through your body, which helps with cancer protection and constipation.


Helps Your Heart

As mighty as the Incas were, they couldn’t compete with the superior firepower of the Spanish conquistadors. Quinoa, like the European conquerors, has quite an arsenal at its disposal- especially when it comes to heart disease.

With four grams of fiber per serving, quinoa can battle high cholesterol, heart disease, and stroke. In fact, one study determined that for every extra 10 grams of fiber consumed a day; women lowered their risk of heart disease by 19 percent.

Quinoa has about two grams of fat per serving, too. But before you decide to pass on the quinoa, consider that most of the fat is unsaturated, the kind that helps lower cholesterol. Too much cholesterol can lead to clogged arteries, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.

What’s more, quinoa is a good source of folate, the B-vitamin that keeps the dangerous substance homocysteine under wraps. And add potassium and magnesium, which help keep your blood pressure under control and reduce your risk of stroke, and quinoa seems well-armed.

There is even more evidence that suggests protein – often linked to an increased risk of heart problems – may actually slightly lessen your chance for heart disease. But that does not mean you should eat more meat and eggs to get more protein. You do not want all that saturated fat and cholesterol. Quinoa, on the other hand, gives you the protein without the drawbacks.

Irons Out Anemia

If somebody told you to guess the most common chronic disease, chances are you wouldn’t come up with iron-deficiency anemia. But this form of anemia just might take top honors. AT least 18 million people in the United States alone are iron deficient.

Anemia makes you pale, weak, and drowsy and could cause headaches, stomach disorders, and a loss of sex drive. It happens when you do not have enough red blood cells or enough hemoglobin in those red blood cells to carry oxygen from your lungs to your body’s tissues. You can get anemia for a number of reasons, including loss of blood or an inability to absorb iron properly, but not getting enough iron in your diet can increase your risk.

That’s where quinoa can help. Loaded with four milligrams of iron per serving, quinoa provides plenty of iron to keep anemia at bay.

Even if you don’t have anemia, you can be affected by an iron deficiency. For instance, if you’re not getting enough iron, you might have less stamina and use up more energy to do simple tasks. Iron deficiency might also trigger restless legs syndrome. People with this condition get strange sensations in their legs and feel as if they must move them to stop the uncomfortable feelings.


Boosts Your Energy

You do not have to be anemic to feel sluggish. Fatigue strikes many people, and elderly people are especially vulnerable because they often take medication that can cause fatigue.

Once again, quinoa comes to the rescue. It’s a good source of protein, which can give you a burst of energy to help you make it through the day. Besides energy, your body also needs protein for building new tissue and repairing injured or worn-out tissue.

Foods rich in B vitamins help your body use the fuel you get from carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The result is more energy. So if you’re not getting enough B vitamins, you may feel tired and drained. Quinoa is an excellent source of B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 and folate. While no one food can provide all the nutrients you need, for a little more get-up-and-go, add enriched cereals, liver and beans to your weekly menu.

Strengthens Bones, Teeth and Muscles

Quinoa is chock full of minerals your body needs. For strong bones, teeth and muscles, there is calcium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. Quinoa also gives you plenty of zinc, to sharpen your senses, and copper, which helps form oxygen-carrying hemoglobin. All these minerals help keep your body working properly. When it comes to precious minerals, eating quinoa is like hitting the mother lode.

Pantry Pointers

Quinoa can be cooked like rice and used in place of it and other grains. It’s great if you’re in a hurry because it takes half as long to cook as rice. One drawback is that quinoa is harder to find (look in health food stores or in the health food section of your supermarket) and more expensive than other grains. However, since it expands to four times it s size when it cooks, you get more bang for you buck.

You can use quinoa in soups, salads, side dishes, main courses, desserts or even as a hot breakfast cereal, like oatmeal.

Just make sure you rinse it thoroughly before you cook it because it’s coated with saponin, a bitter substance that keeps away birds and insects. Most of the saponin is removed before you purchase it, but there may be some residue left. Your quinoa will taste soapy if you do not rinse it carefully.

Crush Cataracts with Quinoa

Quinoa might also protect your eyes. According toe the Australian Blue Mountain Eye Study, protein and polyunsaturated fats – both found in quinoa – may help you avoid cataracts.

In the study, the people who ate the most protein, about 99 grams a day, were only half as likely as those who ate the least to develop a nuclear cataract. With a nuclear cataract, light has trouble passing through the center of your eye’s lens.

Meanwhile, those who ate the most polyunsaturated fat, about 17 grams a day, were 30 percent less likely to get a cortical cataract, which affects the outer lens.

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