Power of dietary fiber

Wellness has a very close partnership with chi (energy) and how it flows routinely. It’s how energy flows. That’s how dietary fiber each day helps build immmunity from toxins. According to an article published by AARP:
“Soluble fiber changes immune cells from being pro-inflammatory warrior cells to anti-inflammatory peacekeeper cells,” says Gregory Freund, M.D., of the University of Illinois. Here’s why: Soluble fiber boosts production of the protein interleukin-4, which stimulates the body’s infection-fighting T-cells.

When you think of dietary fiber, it’s about flow. If you’re thinking about eliminating excess fats, including cholesterol, fiber helps create bathroom visits. Meat and fish have no dietary fiber. Your side of vegetables contains fiber. Yes, fiber is integral in many carbohydrates. Fiber also lowers blood sugar levels. Fiber helps aid flow to promote wellness.

The best and most fiber is delivered through “whole” foods. The most commonly recognized source of fiber in the adult diet comes from non-digestible carbohydrates and lignin which occurs naturally as part of the food consumed, such as from whole grains (oat, wheat, barley, rice, etc.), beans, fruits and vegetables. Fiber is also contained in breast milk in the form of galact-oligosaccharides. Normal pasteurized milk has no fiber.

How much dietary fiber is necessary? The American Heart Association Eating Plan suggests eating a variety of food fiber sources. Total dietary fiber intake should be 25 to 30 grams a day from food, not supplements. Currently, dietary fiber intakes among adults in the United States average about 15 grams a day. That’s about half the recommended amount. That’s because most people eat processed foods. Processing effectively reduces fiber to nothing. Most breakfast cereal only have about 3 grams of fiber per serving. White bread has virtually no fiber per slice.

When counting carbohydrates, grams of fiber are subtracted from total carbs. If a can of beans (about 3 servings) has 75 grams of total carbohydrates. Dietary fiber may be up to 25 grams. This delivers net-carbohydrates of 50 grams per can. Strange? Not really…because fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body can’t digest, it does not affect your blood sugar levels. You should subtract the grams of fiber from the total carbohydrate.

Of course there are 2 fundamental dietary fiber types. They behave differently. There are two types – soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, and includes plant pectin and gums. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water. It includes plant cellulose and hemicellulose. Soluble fiber can help improve digestion and lower blood sugar, while insoluble fiber can soften stool, making it easier to pass.

Suprisingly, there’s more fiber in parts of foods you don’t eat. Like peanut shells (yech). Waste not. Some fibers, such as those from Psyllium Husks, are considered almost as a natural laxative. Psyllium husk, a natural dietary fiber originating from plantago ovata, has been the source of both soluble and insoluble fiber in Metamucil for 80 years. Studies suggest that the psyllium in Metamucil works differently. The psyllium fiber in Metamucil forms a viscous gel that traps some bile acids (made from cholesterol) and gently removes them from your body. This gel also traps some carbohydrates and sugars, allowing them to be more slowly absorbed by the body. This gelling property of psyllium also helps you feel less hungry between meals and promotes digestive health.

There’s no evidence that daily use of fiber supplements — such as psyllium (Metamucil, Konsyl, others) or methylcellulose (Citrucel) — is harmful. Fiber has a number of health benefits, including normalizing bowel function and preventing constipation. Psyllium Husks are also sold as supplements as ppwders or pills. Some early cholesterol drugs used psyllium husks that were sprinkled on foods. Yes, they can. But a rather acquired taste that offended many.

One study found that 5 grams of psyllium twice a day can help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar. A repeated test study showed that the amount of psyllium husks should be tailored to the individual.

As opposed to European medicine, USA doctors shy away from these supplements. They prescribe other bile-sequestrants. Psyllium Husks seem very beneficial but responsible dosing with a nutritionist recommendation may avoid some uncomfortable side-effects. Gas or stomach cramping may occur. Metamucil and some psyllium husk supplements may contain sugar, sodium, or phenylalanine. Check the medication label if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, phenylketonuria (PKU), or if you are on a low-salt diet. Also vomiting is common.

Vomiting may be associated with NOT drinking at least 8-ounces of water after a dose. Inadequate water may result in husk thickening in throat.

I tend to support the American Heart Association’s approach of getting good fiber from whole foods. For those who are constipated, maybe Metamucil or a supplement may be helpful. Psyllium husk dosage varies. Start with a conservative approach. Take 1 teaspoon of finely ground psyllium husk once a day in the morning, mixed with at least 8 ounces of liquid and followed by an additional 8-ounce glass of water. You may feel full and even more bloated the first few days, but after a week your body should be used to the increased fiber.

According to the Mayo Clinic:
Benefits of a high-fiber diet may
Normalize bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it.
Helps maintain bowel health.
Lowers cholesterol levels.
Helps control blood sugar levels.
Aids in achieving healthy weight.

Might be worth trying? Add dietary fiber as a routine to your daily nutrition needs.

Beta-Glucans immune system booster in Cheerios

There’s a cute TV commercial where a little girl talks about beta-glucans and their content in each serving of Cheerios, a popular oat-based cereal. Beta-glucans are often associated with heart health, treating cancer, and as an immunity booster. Beta-glucans are a food product purported to possibly reduce bad LDL cholesterol.

It is thought that beta-glucans reduce cholesterol levels by increasing excretion of cholesterol from the digestive tract. This affects two forms of cholesterol: cholesterol from food, and, more importantly, cholesterol from the blood “recycled” by the liver through the intestines. In addition, beta-glucans in unprocessed foods may help limit the rise in blood sugar that occurs after a meal. Immune-related effects seen in studies of beta-glucans indicate observed alterations in the activity of certain white blood cells and changes in the levels or actions of substances, called cytokines, that modulate immune function.

A beta-glucan refers to a class of soluble fibers found in many plant sources. In a sense, you are what you eat. Beta-glucans are found in fiber of certain foods you (hopefully) eat. Beta-glucans are found in whole grains, particularly oats, wheat, and barley. Baker’s yeast, and certain mushrooms are also dietary sources. The FDA has allowed a Heart Healthy label claim for food products containing substantial amounts of beta-glucans. There are scientific claims that consumption of 3 grams per day of beta-glucans may result in a 5-10% reduction of LDL cholesterol in serum tests. According to Cheerios’ ad, a serving of Cheerios contains 3 grams of beta-glucans in its basic oat-based variety.

Europeans have known about how beta-glucans may play a role at reducing LDL cholesterol. They incorporate unprocessed oats and oat bran into cereals like Muesli and Granola. Oat bread is popular in some areas. For those that have mild risk levels of cholesterol, beta-glucans may play a significant normalizing role from dietary sources. Does that mean that eating more oats will reduce LDL levels in moderately high cholesterol levels?

Multiple servings of ready-to-eat oat cereals may not provide enhanced health effects. Other ingredients (added sugars, for example) and processing may actually present negative cofactors. Studies cite evidence that oatmeal provides greater satiety of appetite than ready-to-eat cereals like Cheerios. Also, many ready-to-eat cereals add unnecessary sugars and flavors to make them marketable to general market consumption. These can collide against any possible benefits beta-glucans provide. Monitoring glycemic-index at breakfast meals aids energy throughout the day and diet is a part of managing cholesterol. Food technologists are working to help enhance the benefits of beta-glucans in a wider range of foods.

For improving total and LDL cholesterol, studies have found benefit with beta-glucans at doses ranging from 3 to 15 grams daily. There appears to be no effect on HDL.

Yet, for all this possible benefit as a healthy dietary resource for heart healthier approaches to managing cholesterol and sugar levels, diets higher in beta-glucans may also pose danger and risks. Beta-glucan, as a substance widely present in foods, if taken in high doses through dietary supplements may do more harm than benefit. If beta-glucans can stimulate the immune system, harmful effects are at least theoretically possible in people that have overactive immune systems. These include multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, and hundreds of other conditions. To what extent may be unclear. Beta-glucans may be contributing variables.

In addition, beta-glucans are somewhat related with beta-amyloids. Beta-amyloids, some suspect, may be precursors of cognitive disorders, such as the infamous Alzheimer Disease. From food, beta-glucans prove safe. Abused supplementation has not been studied but theoretically might be a bridge to neurocognitive disorders. Then again, the relationship between glucans and amyloids haven’t really been studied to draw any conclusions. It is very speculative.

In the USA, and other parts of the world, sowing oats is part of an important farming culture. It is connected to longevity and a well life. Beta-glucans, phytonutrients in the grain, may be why people who have balanced diets with oats as part of a daily routine may be healthier. There are many articles about longevity that stress lifestyle diets.

World peace may never be achievable. Vascular wellness may be possible without resorting to medicinal drugs. Eating foods with beta-glucans may help you reach a healthy age of 100, unless something else confounds the picture. Having beta-glucans in your diet might be good for you! Isn’t it time to eat your oats today?