The newest addition in my salad–radishes. I love salads, they can be prepped in various ways: Mexican style (black beans, avocado, corn, tomatoes), Greek (olives, feta), traditional, and the list goes on. But, I was eager to learn what I was getting nutritiously out of the bitter but refreshing ingredient.

I’m pleased now knowing radishes are a great source of vitamin C and are rich in minerals like sulphur, iron, and iodine. For added crispness, I soak my radishes in ice water.

What is your favorite salad ingredient?

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Dried Plums: Your Next Diet Trick

Snacking on dried plums could be more effective as an appetite suppressant than a low-fat snack, say researchers.

Presenting their findings at the recent 2009 Experimental Biology meeting in New Orleans, scientists from San Diego State University suggested dried plums curbed the appetite more than a “similarly sweet, low-fat cookie snack”.
“Perhaps by lowering glucose or appetite-regulating hormones,” added the researchers, proffering potential reasons behind the satiety role displayed by the dried plums.

Feelings of fullness, calorie control and metabolism control are all key facets incorporated into the burgeoning area of weight management. An area for which the food industry, in recent years, has cranked up research and innovation efforts to meet soaring consumer demand, and lucrative market opportunities, for foods that directly target weight loss.

Since about 87 per cent of women snack twice a day, said Mark Kern, lead researcher on the plum snack study, the thrust behind their research came from the aim to “identify satiating snack foods”.

The plum study dynamics
Nineteen adult women, who had previously fasted, ate two 238-calorie snacks (dried plums or low-fat cookies), 238-calorie white bread, or water on separate days two hours prior to “being presented with a meal to be consumed until satisfied”.

Study participants then completed hunger-related questionnaires, and researchers analysed their blood at regular intervals.
The researchers report that satiety – the feeling of fullness – was “significantly higher” for the dried plums versus low-fat cookies.
Dried plums, they claim, also elicited lower levels of plasma glucose and insulin than the low-fat cookie.

Kern also studied the influence of 100-calorie servings of snacks of dried plums versus low-fat cookies twice daily for two weeks on total energy, essential micronutrient, fibre and fat intake, and effects on serum triglycerides and bowel habits in 26 adult women.

The research team found that consistent consumption of dried plums improved blood lipids and diet quality and eased bowel movements in comparison to a commercially processed snack.
“Since appropriate snacking is likely important for optimal weight management practices, we were pleased that our research demonstrated the satiating power of a dried plum snack and its promotion of improved dietary intake and good digestive health,” said Kern.

Source: Experimental Biology 2009, 545.11″Snack selection influences satiety response in adult women”Authors: Furchner-Evanson A, Petrisko Y, Howarth LS, Nemoseck T and Kern M. Click here

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Cinco de Mayo: Tacos, Tamales and More

Many restaurants feature foods with Latin American flavor. Keep in mind that favorites like crispy taco shells, taco salads, nachos, guacamole and chips and salsa are tasty but can be high in fat.

The staples — tortillas, beans and rice — are great sources of carbohydrates, while pinto and black beans supply fiber. Latin American cuisine also offers you a chance to include different types of vegetables and grain foods, and to explore new flavors.

This Cinco de Mayo and all year round, try Latin American creations that are full of flavor without all the calories:

– Fajitas, enchiladas, burritos or tamales
– Soft tacos with chicken, beef or beans
– Tortilla soup
– Chile verde
– Red or black beans and rice Arroz con pollo (chicken with rice)
– Veracruz-style seafood dishes Flan or fruit for dessert.

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What is in Your Pantry?

I LOVE the grocery store! If I could, I would be a professional grocery shopper. I’d shop often to buy produce in its best shape and compile recipes using nutrient-rich fresh ingredients.

While my half marathon aspiration now lives as a memory, my newest goal focuses directly on food choices. I think I have a pretty healthy diet but there is some room to “button things up.” So, where do I begin? It definitely does not start when my fork hits my mouth; healthy eating begins with healthy shopping.

Have you ever analyzed your pantry or refrigerator? I have and I’ve also realized that I am a nutrition nut and that I eat best when I plan what foods I have in stock and predict my meals for the following day or week. Lets take a peek.

Macadamia nuts – Costco has a bargain
Pecans to change things up
Pumpkin seeds, perfect for a salty treat
Salsa, love love Trader Joe’s salsa verde
Organic Raisins, always a good and convenient fruit to add to a meal or snack
Canned tuna, skipjack
Vegetable-broth, I use it in a lot of cooking or add it to a soup to create more volume
Olive oil, extra virgin, in a dark tin or bottle
Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
Tessame’s salad dressing, you can mainly find it at Whole Foods
Cocoa (to splash in my coffee)
Canned coconut cream, Trader Joe’s Lite is very pure
Tomato paste, I make my own sauce
Chia seeds
Hemp seeds
Spices galore
Herbal tea
Orgnaic apple sauce
Organic canned pumpkin, I use this in so many things

Carrots, celery and/or cauliflower
Various leafy green’s, I liek to throw this into a salad spinner at the beginning of the week so it’s quick and easy to add to a meal
Organic cream for coffee
Pasture-raised eggs
Kimchi and/or sauerkraut
Apples and/or citrus fruits
Some form of breakfast meat – bacon, Canadian bacon, homemade meatloaf muffins

Organic berries
Organic vegetables
Grassfed beef
Fish – salmon burgers, cod, halibut
Frozen slowcooker meals, soups
Bone broth

Before your next trip to the grocery store, let this inspire you to make a list that is balanced with healthy choices and your favorites. Food is one of the greatest pleasures in life and what is life if you can’t live it with quality?

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We often eat when we’re not hungry.

One reason may be that many of us can’t recognize when our bodies need food.

The sensation of hunger is instinctual. For many people the first twinge of hunger sends them searching for food, often before they need to eat. Feeling a little hungry at the start of a meal is good, but knowing when you could wait longer is also important. Eating every time you feel hungry can result in overeating.

If you struggle with this, ask yourself these questions before your next meal.

– Am I hungry? (If you’re not sure, wait 20 minutes and ask again.)
– When was the last time I ate? (If it’s less than three hours, it may not be real hunger.)
– Could a small snack tide me over until the next meal? (Try and have ready-to-eat fruit or vegetables on hand.)

If you can’t recognize when you’re hungry, make a schedule – eat small meals every three to four hours until you learn what hunger feels like. If you overeat at a meal, get back on track at the next one.

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Not Cave Man – Crave Man

David Kessler Knew That Some Foods Are Hard to Resist; Now He Knows Why

The former head of the FDA says certain foods alter brain chemistry in ways that compel people to overeat.

He went in the middle of the night, long after the last employee had locked up the Chili’s Grill and Bar. He’d steer his car around the back, check to make sure no one was around and then quietly approach the dumpster.

If anyone noticed the man foraging through the trash, they would have assumed he was a vagrant. Except he was wearing black dress slacks and padded gardening gloves. “I’m surprised he didn’t wear a tie,” his wife said dryly.

The high-octane career path of David A. Kessler, the Harvard-trained doctor, lawyer, medical school dean and former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration had come to this: nocturnal dumpster diving. Sometimes, he would just reach in. Other times, he would climb in.

It took many of these forays until Kessler emerged with his prize: ingredient labels affixed to empty cardboard boxes that spelled out the fats, salt and sugar used to make the Southwestern Eggrolls, Boneless Shanghai Wings and other dishes served by the nation’s second-largest restaurant chain.

Kessler was on a mission to understand a problem that has vexed him since childhood: why he can’t resist certain foods.

His resulting theory, described in his new book, “The End of Overeating,” is startling. Foods high in fat, salt and sugar alter the brain’s chemistry in ways that compel people to overeat. “Much of the scientific research around overeating has been physiology — what’s going on in our body,” he said. “The real question is what’s going on in our brain.”

The ingredient labels gave Kessler information the restaurant chain declined to provide when he asked for it. At the FDA, Kessler pushed through nutritional labels on foods sold through retail outlets but stopped short of requiring the same for restaurants. Yet if suppliers ship across state lines, as suppliers for Chili’s do, the ingredients must be printed on the box. That is what led Kessler, one of the nation’s leading public health figures, to hang around dumpsters across California.

The labels showed the foods were bathed in salt, fat and sugars, beyond what a diner might expect by reading the menu, Kessler said. The ingredient list for Southwestern Eggrolls mentioned salt eight different times; sugars showed up five times. The “egg rolls,” which are deep-fried in fat, contain chicken that has been chopped up like meatloaf to give it a “melt in the mouth” quality that also makes it faster to eat. By the time a diner has finished this appetizer, she has consumed 910 calories, 57 grams of fat and 1,960 milligrams of sodium.

Instead of satisfying hunger, the salt-fat-sugar combination will stimulate that diner’s brain to crave more, Kessler said. For many, the come-on offered by Lay’s Potato Chips — “Betcha can’t eat just one” — is scientifically accurate. And the food industry manipulates this neurological response, designing foods to induce people to eat more than they should or even want, Kessler found.

His theory, born out in a growing body of scientific research, has implications not just for the increasing number of Americans struggling with obesity but for health providers and policymakers. “The challenge is how do we explain to America what’s going on — how do we break through and help people understand how their brains have been captured?” he said.

Kessler is best remembered for his investigation of the tobacco industry and attempts to place it under federal regulation while he was FDA commissioner from 1990 to 1997. Although he was appointed by George H.W. Bush, Kessler became popular among Democrats for his tough regulatory stance. He got the nickname “Eliot Knessler” after he authorized the U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota to seize a large quantity of Citrus Hill Fresh Choice orange juice in 1991 because it was labeled “fresh” when it was, in fact, partially processed. After he was elected in 1992, President Bill Clinton asked Kessler to continue to run the FDA.

Kessler’s aggressive approach toward the tobacco industry led to billion-dollar settlements between Big Tobacco and 46 states and laid the groundwork for legislation now pending in Congress that would place tobacco under FDA regulation.

Kessler, 57, sees parallels between the tobacco and food industries. Both are manipulating consumer behavior to sell products that can harm health, he said.

Whether government ought to exercise tougher controls over the food industry is going to be the next great debate, especially since much of the advertising is aimed at children, Kessler said.

“The food the industry is selling is much more powerful than we realized,” he said. “I used to think I ate to feel full. Now I know, we have the science that shows, we’re eating to stimulate ourselves. And so the question is what are we going to do about it?”

The idea for the book came seven years ago as Kessler was channel-surfing and came across an overweight woman named Sarah on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” While Sarah was successful in nearly every aspect of her life, she tearfully told Winfrey, she could not control her eating.

Kessler was mesmerized by Sarah — she was describing his own private struggle. “I needed to not only figure out Sarah — I needed to figure out myself,” he said. “Little did I know it would lead me into real fundamental issues of what makes us human and how our brains are wired.”

At 5-foot-11, Kessler’s weight has swung from 160 pounds to 230 pounds and back, many times over. He owns pants in sizes ranging from 34 to 42.

“I was a fat kid,” he said. “I grew up in the world of Entenmann’s cakes. I was pretty much of a science nerd. If you looked in my refrigerator in college, it was Entenmann’s.”

Every few years, Kessler would go on a diet and apply the kind of discipline that enabled him to earn a law degree from the University of Chicago while attending Harvard Medical School. “I’d lose weight and over time gain it back,” said Kessler, who also completed a medical residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore at the same time he worked as a staffer to Sen. Orrin Hatch. “I couldn’t control it.”

The man who took on Big Tobacco was helpless when confronted with a plate of chocolate chip cookies. He couldn’t focus on anything else until he had eaten them all.

“My weight was yo-yoing all the time,” said Kessler, who estimates that 70 million Americans struggle with conditioned hyper-eating. “And I never understood why.”

He embarked on a mission to figure it out while serving as dean of the medical school at Yale University and later the University of California at San Francisco. UCSF fired Kessler from his position as dean in December after he alleged financial malfeasance at the institution. The university maintains there were no financial misdeeds; Kessler says he was forced out because he blew the whistle. He remains on the faculty at the medical school and lives in San Francisco with his wife, Paulette, a lawyer. They have two grown children, both of whom live in Washington.

Paulette says that she was not taken aback when her husband of 34 years would disappear in the middle of the night on his dumpster tour. “Nothing surprises me anymore,” she said. “When he wants to find something out, there’s really no stopping him.”

Through interviews with scientists, psychologists and food industry insiders, and his own scientific studies and hours spent surreptitiously watching other diners at food courts and restaurants around the country, Kessler said, he finally began to understand why he couldn’t control his eating.

“Highly palatable” foods — those containing fat, sugar and salt — stimulate the brain to release dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with the pleasure center, he found. In time, the brain gets wired so that dopamine pathways light up at the mere suggestion of the food, such as driving past a fast-food restaurant, and the urge to eat the food grows insistent. Once the food is eaten, the brain releases opioids, which bring emotional relief. Together, dopamine and opioids create a pathway that can activate every time a person is reminded about the particular food. This happens regardless of whether the person is hungry.

Not everyone is vulnerable to “conditioned overeating” — Kessler estimates that about 15 percent of the population is not affected and says more research is needed to understand what makes them immune.

But for those like Kessler, the key to stopping the cycle is to rewire the brain’s response to food — not easy in a culture where unhealthy food and snacks are cheap and plentiful, portions are huge and consumers are bombarded by advertising that links these foods to fun and good times, he said.

Deprivation only heightens the way the brain values the food, which is why dieting doesn’t work, he said.

What’s needed is a perceptual shift, Kessler said. “We did this with cigarettes,” he said. “It used to be sexy and glamorous but now people look at it and say, ‘That’s not my friend, that’s not something I want.’ We need to make a cognitive shift as a country and change the way we look at food. Instead of viewing that huge plate of nachos and fries as a guilty pleasure, we have to . . . look at it and say, ‘That’s not going to make me feel good. In fact, that’s disgusting.'”

Kessler said he’s made that shift in his own life, eating small portions of foods that contain fat, salt and sugar, part of a “food rehab” plan he suggests in the book. He has certain rules — no french fries, ever — that help him navigate through vulnerable moments.

He has embraced spinning — the first time he has regularly exercised. “I hated physical activity, all of my life, mostly because I was fat and it was hard to do,” he said. “But I just wanted to do something. I picked spinning because you can’t fall off the bike.” He worked with a private trainer for weeks just to be ready to take a class. “I was embarrassed to go into the class,” he said.

Now Kessler tries to spin every day and belongs to multiple health clubs so that he has more options for class times.

He avoids the cues that focus his brain on “highly palatable” foods, going so far as to chart a different route through San Francisco International Airport so that he doesn’t walk past the fried dumpling stand.

Kessler’s weight is relatively stable at 162 pounds. But there’s something else that’s changed. As he has come to better understand himself, the food cravings and the resulting anguish he felt have subsided.

“So I’m at peace,” he said. “After 30 years, I’m at peace.”

Original article click here

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Don’t Miss the Boat

In this not so lovely recession, it has been noted that many consumers are purchasing more vitamins. I am by no means the vitamin police but I want to stress the importance that diet should not be overlooked while taking supplements. It is great that people are thinking of their well-being in these tough times but don’t miss the boat that nutrient-dense food is what does your body good. Think of it this way — Did your great grandma run to the market to buy MonaVie juice? No. Decades ago these type of supplements were not available and people were eating whole, unprocessed food. If you choose to supplement your diet with vitamins, etc., be sure to continue to focus on what you are eating too.

A few pointers for staying on the health track (these tips are not ranked in any way):
  1. Eat your meals and stop at a point where you would normally want two more bites. Eating less means having to buy less BUT do not eat too few calories. Click here for guidance.
  2. Eat breakfast! I can’t say this enough; it can do wonders for your body and metabolism! But, be sure to make it a healthy and balanced meal. Sample: Greek yogurt and whole-grain, high fiber cereal, topped with fruit.
  3. Drink plenty of water. Finally, a new study revealed a connection with drinking water and weight loss. Published in Obesity, researchers found that women who had up to 1 liter of water a day dropped as much as 5 pounds in a year.
  4. Eat enough protein. Protein can play a strong role in satiety (feeling of fullness). Try to incorporate lean protein either from dairy, meat, beans or vegetarian products in most of your meals and/or snacks. My favorite afternoon snack right now is edamame!
  5. Sleep. Yes cardio and anaerobic exercise does wonders to our bodies but what good can it do with no sleep? Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.
  6. Strive to always do your best and take care of yourself and your health.

Have a healthy and fit day!

Why That Big Meal You Just Ate Made You Hungry

Every few months, a new study purports to prove that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, and that the only way to lose weight is to burn more than you take in.

But veteran dieters know something that some researchers apparently don’t: Certain foods seem to fuel the appetite like pouring gasoline on a fire. Some people find that once they start eating bread, cookies, chocolate, potato chips — or leftover Easter candy — they lose all sense of fullness and find it difficult to stop.

That’s the concept behind “The Skinny,” a new book by Louis J. Aronne, longtime director of the Comprehensive Weight Loss Program at NewYork Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He makes the best case yet why what you eat and when you eat it can make a big difference in appetite, satiety and how much willpower it takes to cut down. “It’s true that a calorie is a calorie,” Dr. Aronne says. “But what that doesn’t take into account is how some calories affect what people eat later on.”

After 23 years of treating patients — some of it espousing liquid diets — Dr. Aronne has concluded that refined carbohydrates and foods with high sugar and fat content promote what he calls “fullness resistance.” They interfere with the complex hormonal messages the body usually sends to the brain to signal that it’s time to stop eating. People feel hungrier instead.

This happens in part because refined carbohydrates raise blood-sugar levels, setting up an insulin surge that drives blood sugar down again, causing rebound hunger. That insulin spike also interferes with leptin, the hormone secreted by fat cells that should tell the body to stop eating. Obese people have loads of leptin, but it either doesn’t get to the brain, or the brain becomes resistant to it. “This is not a failure of willpower, it’s a physical mechanism,” Dr. Aronne writes. The body also becomes resistant to insulin, setting the stage for diabetes.

Other researchers have described similar phenomena. An article in this month’s Medical Hypothesis argues that for some people, refined foods with high sugar and carbohydrate content can be just as addictive as tobacco and alcohol.

Eating foods high in protein, vegetables, fiber and water have the opposite effect, Dr. Aronne says. His plan recommends revising what you eat, one meal at a time, to restore your sense of fullness:

Breakfast: Loading up on lean protein — ideally from egg whites or a protein shake — in the morning reduces hunger all day long. Eating muffins, bread, sweetened cereal and juice does the opposite. A study of 30 overweight women at Saint Louis University School of Medicine found that those who ate eggs for breakfast consumed 140 fewer calories at lunch, and ate less for the next 36 hours, compared with women who ate bagels in the morning.

Some people argue that they aren’t hungry in the morning, but Dr. Aronne notes that ghrelin, the hormone that typically signals hunger, adjusts to habitual meal patterns. After a few days of eating breakfast, you should find that you are hungry in the morning, and are eating less the night before, he writes.

Lunch: Some dieters try to cut calories by skipping this meal. But going more than five hours without food causes hunger hormones to rise and fullness hormones to drop, and sends more of the calories consumed at dinner straight to fat cells. Dr. Aronne recommends starting lunch with a salad — at least two cups of lettuce — then more vegetables, and then lean protein. Skip the cheese, croutons, bacon and creamy dressings, he advises. Using vinegar alone will cut your appetite and slow the rise in blood sugar.

Dinner: The end of the day is fraught with temptation. Obese people consume significantly more calories at dinner than slimmer people. Here, too, load up first on salads, clear soups, or high-protein appetizers like shrimp cocktail, then have a lean protein main course. Unlike some other diet plans, Dr. Aronne’s program allows a half-cup of grains or a small dessert at the end of the meal, but only if you’re still hungry.

Eating bread before dinner makes people lose their sense of fullness and eat more, Dr. Aronne warns. Alcohol makes it worse by lowering your resistance and promoting fat storage.

Snacks: Like many other weight-loss experts, Dr. Aronne believes that midmorning and midafternoon snacks can act as mini appetite suppressants, preventing blood sugar from dropping too low. But the same principals apply: high-sugar, high-starch, high-fat snacks — including those little 100-calorie cookie packs — start a vicious cycle of more cravings, whereas fruit, nuts, vegetables and clear soups can halt them.

Beverages: It should go without saying that juice and sweet soda can add hundreds of extra calories a day. A few studies have shown that even artificially sweetened beverages can prompt people to crave real sweets during the day. Cut back on all sources of liquid calories, Dr. Aronne advises; stick with water.

To be sure, if you eat as Dr. Aronne suggests, you’ll consume fewer calories overall. The point is, eating protein early in the day may make it much easier to cut down. “It definitely does make a difference,” says Ned Sadaka, a New York investment manager who consulted Dr. Aronne to drop 30 pounds that had crept up on him in recent years. He’s lost 21 pounds and 5 inches off his waist since January.

Not everyone agrees that consuming more protein cuts appetite. Harvard School of Public Health’s Frank Sacks led a study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine that compared 811 overweight adults on four diets with varying levels of protein, fat and carbohydrate. “We found absolutely no difference in their satiety and hunger levels,” Dr. Sacks says. All the groups lost similar amounts of weight.

Other weight-loss experts say that’s not surprising, since there were only modest differences in their fat, protein and carbohydrate intakes, and many participants didn’t stick to their plans.

Eric Westman, director of the Lifestyle Medical Clinic at Duke University Medical Center, who espouses the same kind of low-carb plan that Robert Atkins made famous, says in his experience, “There is almost complete appetite suppression when you eat protein.”

The debate will doubtless continue — weight loss is an extremely complex area, and not everyone’s metabolism is the same. Dr. Aronne suggests trying his plan yourself: “Have 200 calories of egg white omelet or protein shake for breakfast, and then another day have 200 calories of juice and look at your hunger, hour after hour.” Sometimes being a clinical trial of one is the best way to do your own research.

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Diabetics On High-fiber Diets Might Need Extra Calcium

The amount of calcium your body absorbs might depend, in part, on the amount of dietary fiber you consume.

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center report that patients with noninsulin-dependent diabetes (type 2) excreted less calcium through their urine when they consumed 50 grams of fiber a day than when they ate 24 grams a day. Excreting less calcium indicates that they absorbed less of the mineral.
“We already know that fiber helps improve your cholesterol and glucose control and improves your bowel regularity. Our new findings suggest that dietary fiber reduces the body’s capacity to absorb calcium,” said Dr. Abhimanyu Garg, professor of internal medicine and an investigator in the Center for Human Nutrition at UT Southwestern. He is senior author of a study appearing online in Diabetes Care. “Because more calcium equals better bone health, we recommend that people on high-fiber diets talk to their physician about increasing their dietary calcium as well, in order to get the most benefit from both.”

Dr. Garg said it’s important to speak with a physician or a registered dietitian before increasing your calcium intake because excessive levels may cause kidney stones.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends a daily intake of 24 grams of dietary fiber, but the average American consumes about 14 to 15 grams of fiber a day.

Sometimes called “roughage,” dietary fiber is the indigestible portion of plant foods that pushes food through the digestive system, absorbing water and easing defecation. Calcium is a nutrient found in food that is absorbed by the body and then excreted in urine, feces or sweat. It is the most abundant mineral in the human body.

Prior research at UT Southwestern has shown that a high intake of dietary fiber, mostly from fruits and vegetables, lowers blood glucose levels and leads to decreased insulin levels in the blood, as well as lowering blood lipid concentrations in patients with type 2 diabetes, the most prevalent type of diabetes.

For the current study, 13 patients with type 2 diabetes ate either a high-fiber diet (50 grams per day) or the moderate-fiber diet (24 grams per day) recommended by the ADA for six weeks, then switched to the other diet for six weeks. All participants stayed at UT Southwestern’s Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC) for the final week of each six-week period.

CTRC staff prepared both diets so that they contained the same number and proportion of calories from carbohydrates, fats and proteins, as well as an equal amount of minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sodium and potassium. The high-fiber diet included numerous fiber-rich foods including cantaloupe, grapefruit, papaya, okra, winter and zucchini squash, granola and oatmeal. No supplements were used.

“The reduction of urinary calcium excretion on high-fiber diets tells us that the amount of dietary fiber has a direct impact on calcium absorption,” Dr. Garg said. “In other words, the participants excreted less calcium on the high-fiber diet because the additional fiber caused their bodies to absorb less calcium.”

Though most of the additional fiber in the high-fiber diet was soluble fiber, Dr. Garg said he cannot say for sure whether soluble or insoluble fiber affects calcium absorption.

“Generally, more fiber of either type is beneficial,” he said. “We should encourage people to try food sources rich in fiber and calcium such as spinach, broccoli, figs, papaya, artichoke, okra, beans, mustard and turnip greens, and cactus pads.”

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study were Dr. Meena Shah, lead author and clinical associate professor of clinical nutrition; Dr. Manisha Chandalia, clinical associate professor of internal medicine with the Center for Human Nutrition; Beverley Adams-Huet, assistant professor of clinical sciences; Linda Brinkley, former research dietitian; Dr. Khashayar Sakhaee, chief of mineral metabolism; and Dr. Scott Grundy, director of the Center for Human Nutrition.

The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health and Southwestern Medical Foundation.

A New Twist on an Old Saying

Beans, beans, the magical fruit! The more you eat, the more you … may reduce your cholesterol.

It may not be as catchy as the popular children’s rhyme, but beans (which are actually vegetables) may indeed be magical for your health. Rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus, folate and iron, popular dried beans include black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, pink beans and pinto beans.
The 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating 3 cups of dried beans per week to reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 16 percent. Most Americans eat about a third of this amount. Recent research shows eating one-half cup of pinto beans daily can reduce serum cholesterol by 8 percent.
Full of complex carbohydrates yet fat-free, beans can play a role in weight management by making you feel full without a lot of calories.
Beans are a great source of insoluble and soluble fiber, with 6 to 8 grams in a half-cup. They promote a healthy digestive tract, may reduce your risk of some types of cancer and can help control diabetes and maintain healthy blood glucose levels.
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