Most Americans don't eat anywhere near the amount of fiber they should. Let's change that! Fiber is critical for many organ systems from your heart to your bowels. It can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and is great for weight loss efforts. It's actually pretty easy to add into your diet. Check out the suggestions below:
1. Eat more fruits and veggies!
Try to add a piece of fruit to your breakfast routine, and choose fruit as an option for a morning snack. Make sure you inculde at least 1-2 vegetables in your lunch and evening meal. Eat the skins and peels of fruits and vegetables.
2. Choose whole grains whenever possible.
Look for "whole grains" on the packaging. If something says wheat flour, it isn;t the same as whole wheat flour. Choosing whole grains means that you get the whole or entire grain. You are getting the roughage in addition to the sweet tasty white carbohydrate parts we all love. It usually helps incorporate a fun nutty flavor.
3. Add legumes to your diet.
When making dishes look for opportunities to add in beans or lentils. I like to add black beans to enchiladas, garbanzo beans to shepards pie, kidney beans to italian soups, and hummus to sandwiches.
4. Make my recipe below to add a natural fiber mix to your oatmeal or drink it in some luke warm water right before dinner. This fiber mix will help even out your blood sugar throughout the day, improve your bowel habits and help you feel more full.
Natural Fiber Mix
Mix together equal parts of the following:
Ground Flax Seed
Ground Chia Seeds
Store in a tupperware, plastic bag or mason jar and keep in the fridge. It is good to limit the amount of air that touches (so a plastic bag is GREAT) it will limit oxidation frmo the ground flax seeds and chia seeds. I would start with just one teaspoon per day and gradually increase to two heaping tablespoons.
My favorite way to take this mix is in 6 oz of hot water about 10 minutes before dinner. I recommend having this drink right before dinner, it will help bind extra fats. It also will help you feel super full - this is great for portion control.
There are over 300 enzyme reactions in the body that magnesium takes part in. It is an electrolyte helping to keep proper pH balance, it helps regulate protein synthesis, takes part in blood-glucose control and blood pressure, insulin regulation, bone health, cleansing and detoxifying processes and vitamin D metabolism. It is a major player in both sleep and digestive function.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you may be magnesium deficient: muscle cramps or twitching, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, constipation, headaches, kidney stones, and reflux. Research has also linked low levels of magnesium in people with the following conditions indicating it either plays a role in the development of these conditions or with the disease process, magnesium becomes scarce: Diabetes, Obesity, IBS, ADHD, Autism, Anxiety/Depression.
The typical Western (read as American) diet contains very little magnesium. We eat very highly processed, refined foods, white flour, meat and processed dairy. These foods do not contain magnesium. To add insult to injury, alcohol, salt, coffee, chronic stress, chronic diarrhea, diuretics and antibiotics can all lower magnesium levels. It’s no surprise we need more of it in our diets.
Foods high in magnesium include:
If you think you may be deficient, because you don’t eat enough of these foods and you experience some of the symptoms of deficiency – please keep reading.
HOW CAN MAGNESIUM HELP YOU:
Sleep – Studies show Magnesium helps people both fall asleep AND stay asleep. As we know sleep is so important for health and weight loss. Supplementing with magnesium before bed is a great way to relax into a sleep-filled night.
Reflux – Magnesium relaxes the sphincter between the stomach and small intestine. That means it will help your stomach empty so food can keep moving in your digestive tract, decreasing the amount of time in the stomach or the bulk in the stomach to “reflux”.
Say Goodbye to Constipation – Magnesium draws water into the intestine, helping stool from getting too hard and difficult to pass (softer poop). It also helps to relax muscles in the GI tract which can make it easier to go to the bathroom.
More Energy – The energy molecule in our body is called ATP. Without magnesium, you can not convert calories to ATP. Magnesium is essential for the process, so supplying magnesium helps unlock the door to using the energy molecules in the body, taking magnesium can help by increasing your energy levels.
Calming/Soothing – Listen up if you have anxiety, insomnia, or ADHD. Magnesium calms and relaxes the body by slowing the nerve signals from the body to the brain. This will not impair you, it will simply help you to feel calm and relaxed.
There are two types of magnesium I often recommend to patients. If you would like to take a product that will provide help with the above listed items ESPECIALLY constipation, then you should choose a magnesium citrate or oxide. If your bowels are in good working order then I suggest magnesium glycinate, this is a better choice as it has lower incidence of changing stool texture and frequency.
Here are my two favorite supplements for magnesium supplements. Both of which you can find at Wellevate where you will receive 10% off every order!
Caitlin Johnson is a dietitian, wife, lover of ice cream, chef wannabe, California-girl, Christian, liver eating, "food-avore."
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