Sharon Hubbs-Kreft, Herbalist - Amazing Grace Herbals LLC

  (Keyport, New Jersey)
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Fiber . . how much . . how often?

What is fiber?

A variety of definitions of fiber exist. In an attempt to develop one definition of fiber that everyone can use, the Food and Nutrition Board assembled a panel that came up with the following definitions:

  • Dietary fiber consists of nondigestible carbohydrates and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants. This includes plant nonstarch polysaccharides (for example, cellulose, pectin, gums, hemicellulose, and fibers contained in oat and wheat bran), oligosaccharides, lignin, and some resistant starch.

  • Functional fiber consists of isolated, nondigestible carbohydrates that have beneficial physiological effects in humans. This includes nondigestible plant (for example, resistant starch, pectin, and gums), chitin, chitosan, or commercially produced (for example, resistant starch, polydextrose, inulin, and indigestible dextrins) carbohydrates.

  • Total fiber is the sum of dietary fiber and functional fiber. It's not important to differentiate between which forms of each of these fibers you are getting in your diet. Your total fiber is what matters.

You may also hear fiber referred to as bulk or roughage. Call it what you want, but always remember that fiber is an essential part of everyone's diet. While fiber does fall under the category of carbohydrates, in comparison, it does not provide the same number of calories, nor is it processed the way that other sources of carbohydrates are.

This difference can be seen among the two categories that fiber is divided into: soluble and insoluble.

  • Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance. Sources of soluble fiber are oats, legumes (beans, peas, and soybeans), apples, bananas, berries, barely, some vegetables, and psylluim.

  • Insoluble fiber increases the movement of material through your digestive tract and increases your stool bulk. Sources of insoluble fiber are whole wheat foods, bran, nuts, seeds, and the skin of some fruits and vegetables.

How much do you need?

Adults - The National Academy of Sciences established an Adequate Intake (AI) level of 38 grams of total daily fiber for males 19-50 years of age and 25 grams for women in the same age range.

Children 3 to 18 years - A simple formula can be used to determine the number of grams of fiber recommended for children:

Child's age + 5 = fiber grams per day

As you gradually increae your fiber intake per day, you should also consume more water, juice or milk (daily fluids).

Beans and legumes are great sources of fiber and usually contain about 6-7 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup cooked serving. They can blend into almost any meal, even mashed potatoes, soups, sauces or as a nice side dish. If beans make you "toot" check out my blog on why beans make us toot and my helpful suggestions to aid with cooking with beans and adding good fiber sources into your diet.

Happy Fiber Hunting and Peaceful Blessings!

 
 

Hidden Sources of MSG

The food additive monosodium glutamate, or MSG, has been linked to many health concersn including migraine headeaches and even hyperactivity in children.

If you see the word "hydrolyzed" in any ingredient list on any food item, the product contains MSG. Some companies try to not use the term MSG and will use other terms such as hydrolyzed and terms from the list below to make their customers think the product is MSG free.

These terms are other hidden sources of MSG -

Autolyzed yeast, calcium caeinate, gelatin, glutamate, glutamic acid, hydrolzed corn gluten, hydrolzyed protein (such as wheat, soy or vegetable protein),  monopotassium glutamate, sodium caseinate and textured protein

Please read all product labels and be sure there is not a hidden source if your favorite grocery item. The above are most commonly found in processed and boxed foods.

Peaceful Blessings!

 
 

Are you getting your daily nutrients?

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is quite "sad" when you really look at what most American's comsume in a day. We have the poorest diets and are the highest for obesity and heart related conditons. As the fast food capital of the world, we need to ask ourselves  . . what are we doing?

SAD's are high in meats (especially red) and lack vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Without these essentials our metabolism becomes very poor and can result in serious health issues and concerns. Recent studies have shown that American lack the essential nutrients for healthy and balanced systems based on US Dietary Guidelines. Now you may say, "How can these studies be taken or even true?" Well, they are taken and are true, American's are the highest for heart disease and its no wonder with fast food hang out's on every corner.

There are basic nutrients and vitamins the human body needs on a daily basis to sustain health and balance within the overall system. Here they are, take note and see if you can try and get some more of them into you daily diet habits.

Vitamin A - This aids vision, reproductive function and the role in creating new cells. It can be found in dairy products, liver; precursor beta-carotene in dark green and orange-yellow vegetables, apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, kale, collards, leaf lettuce, mango, mustard greens, pumpkin, romaine lettuce, spinach, sweet potatoes and winter squash (acorn, hubbard).

Vitamin C - This aids in numerous, numerous functions (too many to mention) but mainly focuses on boosting immunity and supporting the circulatory system. It can be found in broccoli, brussel sprouts, citrus, red peppers, strawberries, apricots, cabbage, canatloupe, cauliflower, chili peppers, collards, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwi fruit, mango, mustard greens, pineapple, plum, potatoes (skin on), spinach, tomatoes and watermelon.

Vitamin E - This aids in protecting the cell membranes from free-radical damage and can also act as a natural blood thinner. It can be found in egg yolks, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, wheat germ oil and whole grains.

Fiber - This aids in regulating bowel function, blood sugar and cholesterol. It can be found in brans (wheat, oat and others), apple, banana, blackberries, blueberries, brussel sprouts, carrots, cherries, cooked beans and peas (kidney, navy, lima, pinto, lentils, black-eyed peas), dates, figs, grapefruit, kiwi, orange, pear, prunes, raspberries, spinach, strawberries and sweet potatoes.

Calcuim - This helps maintain strong bones and teeth as well as helps to support healthy weight levels. It can be found in dairy products, leafy greens, sardines, tofu, soy.

Potassium - This aids in regulating blood pressure, fluid balance as well as cardiac electric impulses. It can be found in beans, fruits (banana), milk, mushrooms, peas and various vegetables.

Magnesium - This helps create energy, relaxes the muscles to reduce spasm and aid in insulin production. Most people notice they lack this one when there legs get achy and paired with Potassium it can help balance your overall mood too! It can be found in beans, dark green vegetables, fish, grains and nuts (almonds are great!)

Try whole grain muffins or bagels in place of a donut or even better add a piece of fruit in at breakfast. Instead of the same old caesar salad for lunch, spice it up with fresh herbs like Basil and Cilantro tossed with spinach - you will need less dressing because it will be so tasty and you will be helping you body get what it needs. Late night snacks a problem - get local - what's in season now - in New Jersey strawberries are in and tasty as ever, in a few weeks blueberries will begin - these are a better late night snack then the fat loaded ice cream. It is not to say to not enjoy but maybe try topping your vanilla sundae with fresh berries and granola in place of the high fructose sorn syrup laden choclate syrup! There are lots of little things you can do, be creative and you will be surprised what really tastes good blended together.

Peaceful Blessings and Happy Cooking!

 
 
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