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Category Archives: Nutrition

Benefits of Fiber

Fiber is essential for good health! Fiber refers to complex carbohydrates and lignin, which are not absorbed or digested, but rather used to help eliminate wastes from the body. Fiber is the part of plants that helps maintain the structure and strength of the plant. It cannot be digested by the human body and, therefore, is not converted into calories or energy for your body.

26fiber.jpgThere are two different types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, both which have qualities that are essential to good health. The way to determine the difference between them is that soluble fiber dissolves in water, whereas insoluble fiber does not.

fiberInsoluble fiber is the fiber that gives the plants their structure and is made up of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. This fiber works as roughage by holding onto water and moving waste through the digestive tract. It increases regularity of movements as well as decreases constipation by bulking up the stools and carrying the waste through the colon. It speeds up the time that food moves through the body and reduces the amount of time that harmful elements of waste interact with the intestinal lining. When stools move easily through the body, there is less strained movement in the intestines, thereby decreasing the risk of hemorrhoids forming. Insoluble fiber foods include; whole-wheat products, corn, bran, flaxseeds and many vegetables, like green beans, potatoes, and cauliflower. The tough skins of fruits, vegetables and beans is related to the insoluble fiber in the food.

Soluble fiber is found in foods like oatmeal, and when it interacts with water it becomes viscous and gelatinous. This fiber is added as a filler to many foods to provide texture and you may identify this fiber on labels as ‘gums, mucilages, and pectins.’ People usually consume about three-fourths of their daily fiber as soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is found in oats, barley, psyllium seed husks, dried legumes, fruits, and vegetables.

Fiber-rich foods include beans, fruits, vegetables and whole wheat products. Fiber also supplies lignan which is thought to potentially reduce the risk of cancers like breast, colon, ovarian and even prostate by reducing or blocking the estrogen activity in cells. Additionally there are other phytonutrients and antioxidants found in fiber-rich foods that are associated with a reduced the risk of other diseases. High fiber diets are still being heavily researched with regards to cancer. Studies link high fiber diets to decreasing cancer risk in a number of different ways. By forming heavier and bulkier stools, fiber reduces the time it takes to pass waste through the digestive tract, decreasing the concentration of potential carcinogens. Insoluble fibers also keep the pH level of the intestinal tract in a healthy balance that decreases the ability of microbes to produce carcinogens.

In addition to decreasing the risk of cancer, fiber is associated with heart health and helping manage diabetes! Soluble fibers may help lower the level of LDL cholesterol, thereby lowering total blood cholesterol. During transit through the small intestine, soluble fiber binds to cholesterol-rich bile acids which are then excreted by the body. This reduces the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed, causing the body to have to pull cholesterol from the blood to create more bile acids, replacing those that were excreted. With regards to diabetes, soluble fiber helps to manage blood sugars to be more stable and rise more slowly after meals. The idea is that soluble fibers lower blood sugar by mixing with fluids in the stomach to make the contents more viscous and gooey, thereby delaying the digestion time. The fiber in carbohydrates also causes sugar to be released slower, resulting in a slower rise of blood glucose levels after a meal.

Cardio is Essential for Weight Loss

The daunting sensation of pushing yourself to exhaustion on the treadmill might not always feel like it was well worth it, but cardiovascular activity is an important component of a complete exercise regimen. Although it’s sometimes difficult to perform the recommended dosage of 150 minutes of cardio per week, just 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise each day can improve your overall well-being and enhance your physical fitness level. The following details three reasons as to why the daily cardiovascular activity is needed to help you lose weight.

Heart Health

The major muscle groups are often the primary focus of exercise, regardless of whether you’re sprinting, jogging or lifting weights. But it’s important to realize that your muscles aren’t the central point of emphasis when performing cardio related activities; rather, it’s your heart. Cardiovascular activity increases your BPM (heartbeats per minute), which increases blood flow to working muscles, in addition to the heart. Even though you don’t need to perform high-intensity bouts of sprinting to improve your heart health, raising your BPM over 120 is necessary in order to enhance your body’s natural ability to burn fat.

Muscular Strength

Your respiratory system has a major impact on your body’s ability to build new lean muscle mass. Muscles need a variety of nutrients in order to grow stronger, which is why it’s important to eat a healthy diet. Muscles also require healthy blood flow in order to operate at a high level. The cardiovascular activity improves the body’s respiratory function, which helps supply working muscles with the oxygen they need to effectively operate. A daily regimen of brisk walking or jogging has the potential to increase your body’s ability to exercise at higher intensities for longer periods of time.

Endurance

A regular habit of performing at least 30 minutes of cardio related activity five times per week will increase your endurance level. If you’re relatively new to the process of habitual aerobic exercise, your endurance is an effective resource for measuring your progress. Consider the hypothetical challenge of training for a marathon. You likely won’t be able to run the full distance during your first attempt. Over time, your endurance will increase as your respiratory system and muscular strength improve. In addition to endurance, your body will also experience additional performance-enhancing benefits, such as improved metabolism, which is a necessary component of weight loss.

mec-spring-_u4a3495-runningTips for Improvement

It’s important to take proper safety measures when beginning a new fitness regimen. If you’re unaccustomed to the daily strain of cardiovascular exercise, consult a fitness expert or personal trainer to ensure that you’re taking the steps needed to reach your fitness goals. You should also consult your physician if you’re unsure if your heart is healthy enough for moderate- to high-intensity exercise. Also, remember to track your progress by using a fitness log. This will help keep you motivated throughout the weight loss process. Results will not incur overnight, although you will steadily begin to experience the benefits of a healthier you over time. Finally, don’t underestimate the power of sufficient rest time. Your body typically needs at least 24 hours to recover between high-intensity cardiovascular workouts.