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Food & Nutrition

Bulk Up on Fiber Facts and Whole Foods

Fiber is actually not a nutrient and it doesn’t provide the body with energy or calories

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Fiber is actually not a nutrient and it doesn’t provide the body with energy or calories. It’s also not digestible or absorbable by the body, but its health benefits earn it the designation of “phytonutrient.” Fitness professionals know that the “average American” (which includes many of our clients) likely isn’t taking in enough fiber. But what is fiber? What are its benefits? How much is enough? And how can fiber help clients meet health and weight goals? That’s a lot of questions! Here are some simple answers about this complex carbohydrate.

Fiber in a Nutshell—or an Apple Skin

Fiber is what gives plants their shape and structure, and it’s found only in plant foods, not animal-based ones. The shape and structure of fiber is what gives our body, most importantly our gastrointestinal tract, the bulk that provides many benefits. To reap the many benefits of fiber such as maintaining a healthy weight, satiety, glucose control, cholesterol reduction, cancer prevention, and gut health from prebiotics, boost your intake of plants.

America: Falling Short on Fiber

In 2014, the average American intake of fiber was only 16 grams per day. The recommended intake of fiber is 25­­­–38 g per day. That’s a big disparity! Women should aim for 25 g of fiber per day, and men should target 38 g (or 21 g for women and 30 g for men daily for those over the age of 51).

Consuming more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds will increase fiber intake. The growing trend of increased plant-based intake (as in flexitarian diets—an expansion on the practice of Meatless Mondays) will hopefully increase the intake of fiber in the American population.

Whole Foods: The Best “Package” for Fiber

In spite of its many health benefits, fiber is not a cure-all that many seek from products, but it is a healthy focus when trying to improve overall health. In fact, it is one number I recommend paying attention to on the food label. I typically recommend paying more attention to reading the more important ingredients list, eating intuitively and eating more whole foods versus the numbers. When people focus on eating whole food versus looking at numbers, they are naturally more satisfied.

Over the years as refining and processing foods has become more prevalent, fiber has become less available in prepared products. This is even more of a reason to focus on whole, unprocessed foods. Take the apple-versus-applesauce-versus-apple-juice example:

  • 1 medium apple with the peel contains 4.4 g of fiber; while
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce contains 1.4 g of fiber; and
  • 4 ounces of apple juice contains 0 g fiber!

Juicing—a popular trend—actually eliminates the fiber from the vegetables and fruits because juicers extract the fiber-filled pulp. And it’s not just fruits that contain more fiber when they’re not processed: The same holds true for soybeans versus tofu. A 1/2 cup serving of soybeans contains 5 g of fiber, whereas 1/2 cup of tofu only has 1 g of fiber.

It is recommended to receive your fiber intake from whole foods over fiber supplements or fortified foods. The foods that contain fiber also contain many other nutrients that a supplement may not contain. Research also shows that a fiber supplement may not have the same power of increasing satiety or managing blood sugar and cholesterol as the whole food does. Fiber-fortified foods may also cause more gastrointestinal issues.

There is not a box, powder or cleanse that you can purchase that will do for you what eating whole food can. Save your money on products and put it into real food. It’s the most beneficial way to reap the produce’s full nutrient and phytonutrient benefits.

Two Types of Fiber, Many Rewards

There are two kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both are beneficial and provide different perks. All plant foods contain a combination of both insoluble and soluble, but some have a higher amount of one over the other. Take the apple/applesauce/juice example again: The skin of the apple is a source of insoluble fiber, and the inside flesh contains soluble. The juice contains neither. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and insoluble fiber does not. Fiber’s solubility is what determines its benefits.

Insoluble fiber is cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Although insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water, it does retain water and helps waste and toxins to move through our system more rapidly. Increasing plant intake usually allows us to feel better and have more energy as it helps the body naturally detoxify. Let your intestines, kidney, liver, and spleen work!

Insoluble fiber is found in foods such as cauliflower, green beans, and the skin of fruits. It helps with colon and breast cancer prevention, regularity and constipation prevention and diverticulosis. The indigestible parts of the plants are also prebiotics for our gut health to feed the probiotics.

Soluble fiber like glucan, psyllium, gum and pectin become gummy substances when water is added—for example, when chia seeds are put in liquid to make chia pudding. This gummy quality allows it to bind to cholesterol, helping the body excrete it. This is also how soluble fiber helps slow the rate at which blood glucose rises—it slows the absorption of the glucose into the bloodstream.

Foods such as oats, beans, apples, carrots and flax are sources of soluble fiber, and they help to promote satiety, a healthy weight, cholesterol reduction and blood glucose control.

Encouraging Clients to Boost Fiber Intake

Many people begin an exercise program for weight loss, then find that they have increased hunger. This is due to increased energy expenditure. One way to help keep hunger in check is increasing fiber intake. Not only does fiber contain zero calories, but the foods that are high fiber are also lower in calories and fat than many other foods.

Caution not to go overboard as there is too much of a good thing. Too much fiber may cause constipation and decrease nutrient absorption. Increase fiber intake gradually and also increase water intake to prevent constipation.

Tip: Fiber is not recommended right before a workout as it may increase gastrointestinal upset. Focus on adequate fiber intake in the meals and snacks post exercise or training.

Easy Ways to Fiber Up

A great place to start with increasing fiber intake is by using the plate method, which includes filling half your plate with vegetables and fruit at each meal. The plate method is a more realistic way to track portions for a healthy weight than measuring cups or counting calories. Another method is to aim for the recommended 5 servings (or more) of vegetables and fruits per day. Tips to add more fiber:

  • Choose whole grains with 3–5 g fiber per serving. Look for whole grain breads, brown rice and oats, and consume the whole intact grain versus milled.
  • Enjoy a vegetable or fruit serving with each meal or snack.
  • Add beans to soups, stews, pastas, omelets, salads and casseroles.
  • Have oatmeal versus dry cereal at breakfast, and toss in some whole fruit chunks or berries.
  • For sandwiches, add bulk (no pun intended) with lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, peppers and other garden favorites. If you’re not a vegetable eater, getting them on your sandwich makes them easier to consume.
  • Prefer a grain at snack time? Try popcorn versus crackers.

A Quick Guide to Fiber Counts

Here’s a reference that will give you and your clients a good idea of how much fiber is in some popular foods.

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Food & Nutrition

Enjoying the Powerful Perks of Pomegranates (Recipes)

Kendall Lou Schmidt

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Pomegranates are such a powerful fruit. As we discussed in part one of this article, the overwhelming amount of antioxidants pomegranates offer have many incredible advantages on your performance, appearance, and health. But, my personal favorite reason to eat pomegranates is simple… they are delicious! Here are 3 easy recipes to help incorporate more miraculous pomegranate into your diet.

VIDEO: How to Peel

POMEGRANATE BASICS (as a side bar table)
Fresh pomegranates begin to ripen in September and are usually available through January

Where do they grow?
When choosing a fresh pomegranate, look for one with a deep purplish-red color that is heavy and dense for its size.
Many stores will carry the arils prepared and ready to eat, making them even easier to enjoy.
The juice is available at most grocers even when pomegranates are not in season, so you can benefit from the healthy antioxidants year round.

POMEGRANATE MOJITO


Dairy-free ● Fat-free ● Gluten-free ● Vegan ● Paleo
Crisp and refreshing, this drink is a delicious way enjoy pomegranate juice. Serve up this virgin cocktail anytime of day, or add a little rum to make things interesting.

Serves 1 / Prep time 5 min
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons Stevia or sugar substitute of your choice
10 fresh mint leaves
1 cup Ice
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons club soda
Pomegranate seeds (optional)
1 lime wedge (optional)

Ingredient tip: Traditionally, Mojitos are made with granulated sugar. If you don’t mind the extra calories, you can substitute sugar or agave syrup for the Stevia. Don’t forget that adding it, or a shot of rum, will change the nutritional values listed below.
In a cocktail shaker or large study glass, combine the mint, Stevia and lime juice. Muddle the ingredients until the mint leaves and limes are well mashed. If you don’t own a muddler, the blunt end of a cooking utensil like a spatula or wooden spoon will do the trick just fine.

Add pomegranate juice (and rum if you choose to) and mix well.
Place the ice in a glass and pour the mixture over the ice. Add the club soda and briefly stir.
Garnish with a few pomegranate seed and a lime wedge (optional).

Per Serving (1 drink)
Calories 31 ; Carbohydrates 8g ; Fat 0g ; Protein 0g

S.A.M. SALAD WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS


Dairy-free ● Fat-free ● Gluten-free ● Vegan ● Paleo
Tender spinach, buttery avocado, and sweet mango pair perfectly with the tangy juice bursting out of each pomegranate seed. With antioxidants, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and fiber, this salad will satisfy your taste buds and boost your health. Enjoy with grilled chicken breast or your favorite protein to make this meal complete.

Serves 1 / Prep time 15 min / Assembly 3 min
For the dressing
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried cilantro
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
For the salad
2 cups baby spinach leaves
½ mango, peeled and sliced
½ avocado, peeled and sliced
⅓ cup pomegranate seeds
To make the dressing
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the dressing. Mix well. Set aside.
To assemble the salad

On a large plate, spread the baby spinach leaves.
Top with alternating slices of mango and avocado.
Spoon the pomegranate seeds on to the center of the salad.
Drizzle the dressing lightly over the entire salad.

Per Serving (1 salad)
Calories 302 ; Carbohydrates 50g ; Fat 12g ; Protein 5g

POMEGRANATE PORK ROAST


Dairy-free ● Gluten-free ● Paleo
This savory roast is extremely simple to make but tastes like fine dining. After just a few hours in the slow cooker, you’ll find a tender piece of meat packed with flavor, ready to enjoy with your favorite vegetable side dishes.

Serves: 4 / Prep time: 15 min / Cook time: 4 hours / Rest: 10 min
1 (16 ounce) pork loin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup pomegranate juice

Clean the pork loin and pat dry. Place the pork loin on a large plate and aside.
In a small bowl combine the oregano, coriander, chili powder, black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper. Mix completely. Coat the entire pork loin evenly in the mix of dry spices, then place the pork loin into the slow cooker.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and maple syrup. Stir until well blended. Gently spoon the mixture over the pork loin.

Pour the pomegranate juice into the slow cooker, gently drizzling some over the pork loin.
Set the slow cooker to high. Roast for 4 hours.

Gently transfer the pork loin from the slow cooker to a serving dish. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve warm.

Serving tip: The drippings are delicious drizzled over the pork, or you can use them to make a flavorful gravy.

Per Serving (4 ounces of meat and ¼ total drippings)
Calories 245 ; Carbohydrates 16.8g ; Fat 11g ; Protein 24g


References:
All recipes and images are the intellectual property of Kendall Lou Schmidt.

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Food & Nutrition

Enjoying the Powerful Perks of Pomegranates

Kendall Lou Schmidt

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From ancient times to the modern era, pomegranates have been the gem of the fruit world. Within the thick and inedible outer skin, there is a beautiful cluster of jewel-like arils. The sweet and tart juice that surrounds each edible seed is rich in nutrients and full of flavor, making them an excellent addition to a healthy diet.

Extremely high in antioxidants, the health-promoting potential of pomegranates exceeds other sources. In this article, I’ll explain why pomegranates are so darn good for you and outline all the miraculous benefits for your body. I’ll also share a few of my favorite pomegranate recipes in part 2 of this article, and best of all, I’ll show you how to peel one without making a juicy mess.

The Powerful Nutrient Profile of Pomegranates
Pomegranates really pack a punch. The pure juice of a pomegranate is dense with nutrients and has an antioxidant activity three times higher than red wine or green tea2. Each ½ cup serving of arils or pure juice can provide a significant amount of your daily vitamin C, E and K, potassium, and folate. The seeds, if you choose to eat them, are a great source of dietary fiber and healthy fats1.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, let’s get more specific. Pomegranates are one of the best sources of polyphenols. These naturally occurring compounds have antioxidant properties that prevent cell damage, fight infection, and combat an abundance of health problems4. All those polyphenols make pomegranates one of the best sources of antioxidants out there, ranking significantly higher than blueberries and other antioxidant-filled fruits3. Let’s look at 10 of the biggest benefits pomegranates can have on your health.

The Big Perks of Eating Pomegranates
IMPROVE YOUR WORKOUTS
Pomegranates are rich in dietary nitrates, which improve blood flow. Drinking pomegranate juice before a workout can improve your endurance and efficiency5. Clinical trials have also shown that it increases performance during weight training sessions, speeds up recovery and reduces muscle soreness after6.

IMPROVE YOUR LOVE LIFE
Pomegranates can improve your performance other places as well, like the bedroom. That increased blood flow isn’t limited to only your muscles… if you catch my drift. In addition, antioxidant therapy with strong sources like pomegranates, have shown promising results in preventing the smooth muscle dysfunction and fibrosis that leads to erectile dysfunction7.

IMPROVE YOUR METABOLISM
Pomegranates have the power to boost your metabolism and improve body composition. A large number of polyphenols in pomegranate juice can lower your bodies initial glycemic response to a carb dense meal and continues to help regulate blood sugar through the later stages of digestion8. Studies have also found that regularly consuming pomegranate juice increases the binding of high-density lipoproteins to the enzyme paraoxonase, improving fat metabolism and preventing weight gain9. Even the seeds are rich in linolenic acid and punic acid. Both of these fatty acids have a positive effect on fat metabolism and work to prevent insulin resistance and obesity10,11.

SLOW THE EFFECTS OF AGING
Simply explained, aging is the accumulation of damage to cells and tissues. It is believed that oxidative stress from free radicals is the leading cause of this damage. With advancing age and decades of accumulated damage, our risk of disease and death builds. It has been found that diets rich in antioxidants, like those found in pomegranates, have proven anti-aging benefits and are effective in reducing the oxidative stress that leads to signs of old age4. These signs sign also appear on the outside, so yes, you will look younger as well!

PROTECT YOUR HEART
Enjoying pomegranates on a regular basis can improve your cholesterol levels9. Studies also suggest that pomegranate extracts may reduce blood pressure and could possibly prevent hypertension in the normotensive population12.

PROTECT YOUR MIND
Antioxidants protect neurons in the brain. Various studies show clear benefits on memory and other cognitive functions. Task-related increases in functional brain activity, better memory of daily tasks13, improved memory after physical truamas1415 have all been reported. Best yet, pomegranate inhibits the inflammation and amyloidogenesis that leads to Alzheimer’s disease16.

PROTECT YOUR HEALTH
Pomegranate fruit, its juice, extract, and oil are all incredibly beneficial for your health. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties improve immune function, so you are better suited to fight infections17. There is constantly building evidence that as antioxidants, polyphenols protect the different components that make up each of the cells in every type of tissue; and therefore, limit the risk for many degenerative diseases4. Studies have shown promising results in treatment and prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dental conditions, erectile dysfunction, bacterial and fungal infections, antibiotic resistance, skin damage, bone loss, male infertility, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and obesity18.

So how do you get all that pomegranate goodness into your body? That’s up to you. Drink the juice, eat the seeds, buy some extract, or incorporate some pomegranate into your favorite recipes. Click here to see 3 of my personal favorite pomegranate recipes and learn the absolute BEST way to get all those delicious arils out of that stubborn skin.


Resources:
1. Basic Report: 09286, Pomegranates, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. Web. accessed 11/30/17. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2359
2. Gil MI1, Tomás-Barberán FA, Hess-Pierce B, Holcroft DM, Kader AA.Antioxidant activity of pomegranate juice and its relationship with phenolic composition and processing. J Agric Food Chem. 2000 Oct;48(10):4581-9. Web. Accessed 11/30/17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11052704
3.Kalita D, Jayanty SS (2014) Comparison of Polyphenol Content and Antioxidant Capacity of Colored Potato Tubers, Pomegranate and Blueberries. J Food Process Technol 5:358 Web. Accessed 12/1/17 https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/comparison-of-polyphenol-content-and-antioxidant-capacity-of-colored-potato-tubers-pomegranate-and-blueberries-2157-7110.1000358.php?aid=30238
4.Kanti Bhooshan Pandey and Syed Ibrahim Rizv. Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2009 Nov-Dec; 2(5): 270–278. Web. Accessed 12/1/17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835915/
5. Eric T. et. al. The effects of pomegranate extract on blood flow and running time to exhaustion. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2014 Sep; 39(9): 1038–1042. Web. Accessed 12/3/17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4146683/
6. Ammar A et. al. Pomegranate Supplementation Accelerates Recovery of Muscle Damage and Soreness and Inflammatory Markers after a Weightlifting Training Session. PLoS One. 2016 Oct 20;11(10). Web. Accessed 12/3/17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27764091
7. Azadzoi KM, Schulman RN, Aviram M, Siroky MB. Oxidative stress in arteriogenic erectile dysfunction: prophylactic role of antioxidants. J Urol. 2005 Jul;174(1):386-93 Web. Accessed 12/3/17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15947695
8. Kerimi A et. al. Pomegranate juice, but not an extract, confers a lower glycemic response on a high-glycemic index food: randomized, crossover, controlled trials in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Dec;106(6):1384-1393. WEb. Accessed 12/3/17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29021286
9. Estrada-Luna D et. al. Daily supplementation with fresh pomegranate juice increases paraoxonase 1 expression and activity in mice fed a high-fat diet. Eur J Nutr. 2017 Feb 27. Web. Accessed 12/3/17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28243786
10. Keisuke Arao et. al. Dietary effect of pomegranate seed oil rich in 9cis, 11trans, 13cis conjugated linolenic acid on lipid metabolism in obese, hyperlipidemic OLETF Rats. Lipids Health Dis. 2004; 3: 24. Web. Accessed 12/3/17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC534798/
11. Vroegrijk IO et. al. Pomegranate seed oil, a rich source of punicic acid, prevents diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance in mice. Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Jun;49(6):1426-30. Web. Accessed 12/3/17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21440024
12. Stockton et. al. Effect of pomegranate extract on blood pressure and anthropometry in adults: a double-blind placebo-controlled randomised clinical trial. J Nutr Sci. 2017 Aug 9;6:e39 Web. Accessed 12/3/17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29152243
13. Bookheimer SY et. al. Pomegranate juice augments memory and FMRI activity in middle-aged and older adults with mild memory complaints. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:946298. Web. Accessed 12/3/17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23970941
14. Susan A. Ropacki, Sapna M. Patel, and Richard E. Hartman. Pomegranate Supplementation Protects against Memory Dysfunction after Heart Surgery: A Pilot Study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 932401. Web. Accessed 12/3/17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3789410/
15. Hajipour S. et. al.. Motor and cognitive deficits due to permanent cerebral hypoperfusion/ischemia improve by pomegranate seed extract in rats. Pak J Biol Sci. 2014 Aug;17(8):991-8. Web. accessed 12/3/17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26031017
16. Velagapudi R et. al. Pomegranate inhibits neuroinflammation and amyloidogenesis in IL-1β-stimulated SK-N-SH cells. Eur J Nutr. 2016 Jun;55(4):1653-60 Web. Accessed 12/2/17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26155780
17. Mousa HA. Prevention and Treatment of Influenza, Influenza-Like Illness, and Common Cold by Herbal, Complementary, and Natural Therapies. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2017 Jan;22(1):166-174. WEb. Accessed 12/4/17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27055821
18. Jurenka JS. Therapeutic applications of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.): a review. Altern Med Rev. 2008 Jun;13(2):128-44. Web. Accessed 12/4/17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18590349

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Food & Nutrition

How to Make Pesto With Any Kind of Green

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For a long time, I lived under the assumption that you could only make with basil, pine nuts, and Parmesan. If you wanted the famous green sauce but didn’t have one of those ingredients, then you were just straight out of luck.

Also check out: Organic Food For A Better Environment And Health

I’ve since learned that that is very much not the case. What I love about cooking is that it isn’t scientific, like baking. If you make a cake and mismeasure or use baking soda instead of baking powder, you could end up with something inedible. But if you add an extra clove of garlic or a bundle of dandelion greens to your pesto even though the recipe didn’t necessarily call for it, it will usually still be excellent.

In fact, as long as you follow a very basic recipe template (nuts + cheese + greens + oil), a delicious pesto is completely within reach. You can truly use any variant of these ingredients. Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and even peanuts are all fair game in the nut department. As far as cheese goes, it’s entirely up to your preference. Feel like using aged cheddar instead of parm? Then do it! You won’t regret it. And your greens can be anything—they don’t even have to be leafy. Peas, broccoli, and avocado all work wonders in the sauce. Once you’ve assembled these ingredients (plus salt, pepper, and any other flavoring agents you desire), all you have to do is blend everything together. It really is that simple.

Take a potentially delicious chance on your next pasta by giving one of these 13 alternative pesto recipes a shot. They’ll teach you that no matter what ingredients you have on hand, you can always make a yummy pesto sauce in seconds.

Source self.com

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