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High Fiber Diet: Health Benefits And Whole-Day Recipes

High Fiber Diet: Health Benefits And Whole-Day Recipes

Fiber is probably the least exciting word in the field of health and nutrition. Wouldn’t you agree? It reminds us all of those chalky powders we see advertised on television, and it seems like such a boring way to add nutrition to our plates. We all know we need fiber, but what in the world does that look like on a day-to-day plate, and what are the benefits of eating a high-fiber diet?

The average woman needs anywhere from 30–35 grams a day of fiber each day and men need anywhere from 30–45 grams per day for optimal digestive, weight, and heart health. The dietary requirements for fiber set by the national government have changed over the years but have tended to range between 20 and 35 grams per day. Normally, fiber intake is usually best anywhere between 30 and 35 grams at a minimum. What does fiber actually do, though, and why is it really that important?

Fiber is one of the most crucial parts of an optimal nutrition plan because it does much more than regulate our digestive tracts. A high-fiber diet can keep you from getting sick, overweight, regulate your blood sugar, and even help you drop unwanted pounds without cutting calories!

Here’s why fiber is a nutrient you should be excited about.

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    1. It eliminates harmful cholesterol from your body via bowels and arteries so you can feel energized and healthy!
    2. It keeps you feeling squeaky clean inside so you don’t get sluggish from poor digestion. Hey, we all love that, right?
    3. It balances your blood sugar levels so you don’t get the “hangry” (hungry-angry) feeling after a meal when your blood sugar shoots up and down and then goes all over the place due to you consuming too much sugar and refined carbs.
    4. It feeds the good bacteria in your digestive tract so bad bacteria doesn’t take over. Fiber is your good gut flora’s favorite food!
    5. When it comes from whole foods (versus pills), you also take in more nutrients with the fiber that help your body absorb more nutrients from your food because fiber slows down the release of food through your system so you get the most benefits.

    What about fiber and weight loss?

    You may have heard that fiber can help you lose weight, and yes, that’s very true. Here’s why: fiber is only found in plants, and therefore, in carbs. When you consume fiber-rich carbs, you benefit your blood sugar levels, stay fuller longer, and you also optimize gut flora. Low-fiber foods like processed carbs, sugar, meat, and excessive animal products can lead to digestive sluggishness and weight gain because of the lack of fiber. So, fill your plate up with plants and go for at least 2 cups at each meal if you can.

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    If you want to know more about weight loss, you can’t miss the following article that provides all useful tips you need:

    Weight Loss Plan And Program: Create Your Own One

    What types of fiber exist?

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      There are two main types of fiber: insoluble and soluble fiber. You need both insoluble and soluble fiber to function optimally. But before we talk about why, let’s see what soluble and insoluble fiber actually are and what they do.

      Soluble fiber is like a gel: it soaks up with water in your digestive tract and moves food slowly out of the body in a gentle way. It’s very important to consume enough water when you consume soluble fiber to optimize the way this fiber works. Soluble fiber is excellent for the heart and is very gentle on the body. Common sources of soluble fiber include puréed pumpkin, applesauce, berries, banana, avocado, artichoke hearts, winter squash, potatoes, apples, pears, chia seeds, oatmeal, and other similar foods.

      Insoluble fiber is like a broom; it sweeps food quickly through the digestive tract more quickly and comes from foods like broccoli, leafy greens, corn, flax, wheat bran, coconut, most nuts, cucumbers, celery, cauliflower, and other similar fibrous foods. Insoluble fiber is the most well-known for fighting constipation and can be helpful if you are suffering from sluggishness. However, soluble fiber can do the same depending on how your body works and digests fiber. Insoluble fiber can cause a bit of discomfort for people sensitive to it, but there’s no need to fear it. Start consuming insoluble sources of fiber slowly and be sure to pair them with soluble foods every time you consume them.

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      What does a day of enough fiber look like?

      Here’s an idea of what a day full of fiber looks like that won’t leave you in pain from fiber overload or leave you chugging fiber powders.

      Breakfast

      Raspberry-Multigrain-Super-Porridge-by-Heather-McClees-Vegan-plantbased-noaddedsugar

        Image Source: The Soulful Spoon

        1. Morning Green Protein Smoothie

        2 cups spinach, 1 cup frozen berries, a plain cup of Greek yogurt for protein or protein powder, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds of flax seeds, and 1/2 a frozen banana or 1/2 an apple.

        2. Creamy Fiber Oatmeal Bowl

        1/2 cup rolled oats cooked with non-dairy milk or water and served with 1/2 cup berries and 1 tablespoon chia or flax seeds. Add a plain cup of yogurt on the side with more berries if you desire extra protein.

        Lunch

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        salmon-518032_1920

          3. Fiber-Rich Protein Salad

          2 cups greens of choice, 4 ounces lean protein of choice, 1/2 a chopped cucumber, 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, 1 cup chopped and roasted squash or sweet potatoes, 2 tablespoons avocado and a lemon/vinaigrette style dressing.

          4. Protein and Veggie Plate

          4 ounces your choice protein, 1/4 cup cooked quinoa or wild rice, 1 cup steamed broccoli, 1 cup roasted squash or sweet potato and your choice healthy fat (2 tablespoons avocado, 1/4 cup nuts seeds, 1 whole egg, or 1/4 cup olives).

          Dinner

          30-minute-CHICKPEA-Sweet-Potato-BUDDHA-Bowls-A-complete-meal-packed-with-protein-fiber-and-healthy-fats-with-a-STELLAR-Tahini-Lemon-Maple-Sauce-vegan-glutenfree-healthy

            Image Source: Minimalist Baker

            5. Nutrient-Dense Soup

            1/2 cup no-salt-added black beans or lentils, 1 cup chopped veggies (onions, peppers, zucchini, etc.), 1 cup low sodium veggie broth, 1 can no-salt-added tomatoes, and a little oregano and black pepper. Add 2 cups of water and cook in a slow cooker for 2 hours on high.

            6. Buddha Bowl

            1/2 cup chopped wild rice or quinoa, 4 ounces protein of choice (salmon, tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils, 2 eggs, etc)., chopped cucumber or celery, and 2 cups mixed veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots are great). Top with your favorite condiments (hot sauce, salsa, mustard, etc.), and enjoy!

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            Don’t Forget

            water

              1. Drink at least 8 cups of water per day and water-rich drinks such as herbal tea. Even coffee counts, but too much (more than 2 cups) can dehydrate you, so make up for this by consuming more plain water if you consume excessive caffeine.

              2. Be sure you get some movement each day. Movement helps move fiber through your body so it can do its job. I’ve found a daily walk is perfect and does wonders!

              3. Mix up the different sources of fiber you consume so your body learns to use different types on a regular basis. This will help keep you healthy long-term and optimize gut flora function.

              4. If you have discomfort, cut back on beans, legumes, and excessive grains. Go for more fruits, vegetables, and implement 5 grams of fiber less per day to help your body adjust.

              5. Think of fiber every single time you go to make a meal. Remember, whole foods are best and real food is always better than processed sources of fiber or high-fat sources.

              For more fiber tips and ideas to include more into your day, check out these fiber-rich foods into your day. 

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              Last Updated on May 21, 2019

              13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

              13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

              Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

              Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

              Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

              1. Stress Eating

              I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

              While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

              I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

              If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

              How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

              2. Nail Biting

              Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

              People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

              Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

              For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

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              3. Hanging out with Naysayers

              We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

              Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

              Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

              4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

              Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

              While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

              Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

              Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

              5. Smoking

              Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

              In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

              Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

              Smoking risks

                6. Excessive Drinking

                All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

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                According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

                • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
                • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
                • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
                • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
                • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

                If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

                If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

                7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

                Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

                If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

                A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

                “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

                And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

                While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

                Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

                Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

                8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

                There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

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                In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

                Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

                Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

                9. Watching Too Much TV

                I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

                Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

                Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

                It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

                10. Being Late

                Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

                Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

                Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

                11. Being in Bad Relationships

                Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

                I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

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                Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

                12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

                Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

                Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

                Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

                By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

                Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

                13. Focusing on the Negatives

                In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

                Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

                Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

                And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

                The Bottom Line

                So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

                Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

                Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

                Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                Reference

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