Nutrition Before During and After Cancer

Information on nutritional needs for cancer patients


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Special Diets during Holidays

People with allergies like nuts and gluten.

When you set out to meet family and friends for Thanksgiving, you can take nut-free chocolate, gluten-free banana bread and containers of stuffing – a nut-free and or a gluten-free version.

This can be a challenge but you can coordinate with your hosts and take some foods that you are certain are allergen free so you or your children can enjoy and be a part of this family celebration.

One in six parents has a teenager who has tried either a vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan or paleo diet within the last two years.

Among those parents whose children followed restricted diets, over half said they thought the diets had a positive impact on their child’s health, while 41 percent believed it had no health impact, and 7 percent thought it was bad for the child’s health.

The poll found that the vegetarian diet was the most popular: 9 percent of teenagers nearly one in 10 had tried it. Six percent had tried a gluten-free diet, 4 percent a vegan diet and 2 percent a paleo diet.

But while 11 percent of parents forbade their child to embark on a special diet, only 17 percent had asked a nutrition expert for advice. Please consult a professional before embarking on a new diet, not only to make sure the child will get all the nutrients needed, but also to discuss the child’s motivations and help screen anyone with an underlying eating disorder whose real motivation is losing weight.

The survey found that teenagers’ reasons for starting restrictive diets varied.

Each diet presents its own set of potential nutritional pitfalls. Vegans need to make sure they get enough protein as well as vitamin B12, iron, calcium and vitamin D, while those following a paleo diet, and may need vitamin D and fiber. And everyone needs to get sufficient calories.

Special diets can be a source of tension during the holidays, the survey found, and over half of parents whose teenagers follow special diets said the diets caused conflict at family gatherings. The teenagers don’t like to be belittled for something that, for them, is a serious choice, and the parents feel judged based on what their kids do.

Developing a strategy in advance may help teenagers feel their choices are respected, and minimize disruption. Teenagers who adopt a special diet are often exploring their identity and declaring their independence, and parents can take advantage of family get-togethers to demonstrate their support for their child’s choices, and carry the food with them that is acceptable to their child.

Most people respect if you are allergic to something but do not feel compelled to accommodate optional choices like being a vegan or a vegetarian.

But keep in mind that rejecting someone’s signature dish may appear insensitive or downright rude. Tensions may be eased if family members are informed of the child’s dietary preference in advance or if a child is willing to compromise and taste a small portion.

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Your Thanksgiving table

Five recipes with cancer-fighting foods

Cranberries:

Cranberries

These bright red gems contain vitamin C, dietary fiber and anthocyanins, compounds well-studied for their cancer-fighting properties.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

  • 1/2 cup dried, sweetened cherries
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1 bag (12 oz.) fresh cranberries or frozen, unsweetened if fresh not available
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves

Directions

In small bowl, soak cherries in cider for 30 to 60 minutes.

In heavy, large saucepan, combine cranberries, cherries with soaking liquid, sugar, cinnamon and cloves, and bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat. Simmer, uncovered, until cranberries pop and soften, but are not mushy, about 15 minutes. If using frozen cranberries, berries may not pop but they will soften; do not let them collapse completely. Spoon hot sauce into decorative serving bowl or other container and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate cooled sauce for 8 hours to allow flavors to meld. Spiced Cranberry Sauce keeps up to 3 days, tightly covered in refrigerator.

Makes 2 cups, 8 servings (1/4 cup per serving).

Per serving: 74 calories, 0 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 19 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 5 mg sodium

Sweet potatoes:

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes with their orange flesh are packed with beta-carotene, a carotenoid with antioxidant properties that may inhibit cancer cell growth and improve immune response. The brighter the orange color of the flesh, the more beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes also are rich in vitamin C, potassium and fiber.

Sweet Potato Wedges with Rosemary

Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary

  • 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced lengthwise in 8 wedges
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary, and a few sprigs for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive or canola oil
  • Salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Place wedges in large bowl. Add rosemary, garlic powder, mustard and oil. Toss to coat well. Arrange potatoes on baking sheet, making sure not to overlap potatoes. Bake 15 minutes. Turn wedges over and bake 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft and beginning to brown.

Lightly season to taste with salt. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 146 calories, 7 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 20 g carbohydrate,
2 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 54 mg sodium.

Green beans:

Green Beans

Cooked green beans contain 4 grams of cancer-preventive fiber per cup, plus some vitamin A and potassium. This casserole dish also features mushrooms, which contain the mineral selenium and compounds called ergosterols; both substances may help to reduce cancer risk.

Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole

green beans and mushroom casserole

  • Canola oil cooking spray
  • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces, or frozen green beans
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 8 oz. white mushrooms, stemmed and cut into 4 to 6 pieces
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. rice or all-purpose wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat (2 percent) milk
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat 11-inch x 7-inch (2 quart) baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In large pot of boiling water, cook green beans until almost tender, 5 minutes. Drain in colander, and then transfer beans to bowl of ice water. When beans are cool, drain well and spread in prepared baking dish.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until browned, 8 minutes, stirring often. Scoop onion into small bowl, add panko, and mix with fork to combine well. Set topping aside.

Return pan to medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until they look wet, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add garlic and cook until mushrooms are tender, 5 minutes, stirring often. Add mushroom mixture to green beans.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to pan. Sprinkle flour over oil and cook, using a wooden spoon to stir and scrape mushroom and garlic bits from bottom of pan. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, lowering heat as needed to prevent flour from browning. Pour in milk while stirring vigorously. When sauce boils, reduce heat and simmer until spoon leaves a wide path and sauce is thick enough to coat spoon well, 5-7 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper, and add cayenne pepper Add sauce to vegetables, and stir to combine. Then spread in an even layer.

Sprinkle topping over casserole and bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until topping is crunchy and mostly golden brown. Let casserole sit 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 210 calories, 8 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 29 g carbohydrate,
7 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 95 mg sodium.

Whole grains (Bread) :

Whole grains Bread

All whole grains contain fiber. There are several ways fiber may lower risk, including promoting healthful bacteria growth. Whole grains may also help with weight control; excess body fat increases the risk of eleven cancers.

  • 2 tsp. instant yeast
  •  1 1/4 to 1 1/3 cups water (start with the smaller amount)
  •  3 Tbsp. canola oil
  •  2 Tbsp. brown sugar, firmly packed, or 2 Tbsp. honey may be substituted
  •    1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  •  1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  •  1 1/4 tsp. salt
  •  3/4 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped or crushed

 Directions

1.In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until dough starts to leave sides of bowl.

2.Transfer dough to lightly greased or floured surface. Knead 6 to 8 minutes or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead dough in electric mixer or food processor or bread machine set to “dough.”)

3.Transfer dough to lightly greased bowl. Cover bowl and allow dough to rise until puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours.

4.Transfer dough to a lightly oiled work surface and shape into 8-inch log. Tuck ends under as you place log in lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Cover pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap and allow bread to rise for about 90 minutes until domed about 1-inch above edge of pan. A finger pressed into dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly.

5.Bake bread in preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Test for doneness by removing from pan and thumping on bottom it should sound hollow. Or measure interior temperature with an instant read thermometer that should read 190 degrees at center of loaf.

6.When done, remove bread from pan and cool on wire rack before slicing. Store in plastic bag at room temperature.

Makes 16 slices.

Per serving: 150 calories, 7 g total fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 20 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 180 mg sodium.

Apples:

Apple

High in fiber, particularly pectin fiber, apples help gut bacteria produce compounds to protect colon cells. Apples also are rich in the phytochemicals quercetin and epicatechin, which researchers are studying for their role in cancer protection.

Easy Baked Apples with Walnuts and Raisins

Easy Baked Apples with Walnuts and Raisins

  • Canola oil cooking spray
  • 3 large Granny Smith apples or any variety baking apple
  • 3 Tbsp. whole-wheat flour
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3/4-1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup apple cider

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray oven-proof glass pie dish.

Cut apples in half from top to bottom, core and peel. Lay halves flat and cut into medium slices. Place apple slices in large bowl.

In medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle mixture on apples and gently stir until apples are evenly coated with spices. Gently fold in walnuts and raisins.

Spoon apple mixture into prepared pie dish. Drizzle cider evenly over top.

Bake 50-55 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes. Using spatula, carefully turn over apple mixture to get caramelized sauce from bottom of dish. Serve hot or let cool to room temperature, refrigerate and serve cold later.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 151 calories, 3.5 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat),
31 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 5 mg sodium.


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Colorless Vegetables

Colorless

I have discussed many times about choosing colorful fruits and vegetables, since the darker and brighter the colour, the more nutrients and phytochemicals are packed in the produce.

Vegetables

Blueberries and raspberries, for instance, owe their deep blue and red hues to anthocyanins, powerful compounds thought to guard against cardiovascular disease and cancer and boost cognitive function.

Summer berries on white

Brightly coloured orange and green vegetables, such as spinach and carrots, are exceptional sources of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage.

Carrots and greens

We have been asked to avoid the white stuff like, white sugar, white flour, white rice etc. because colorless foods are missing fibre and protective phytochemicals and they’re a poor source of many nutrients. Many score high on the glycemic index scale, meaning that their carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed quickly, causing blood sugar and insulin to rise rapidly.

Despite all this do not give up on some of the colorless. Despite their pale color, some are surprisingly plentiful in vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds.

These five nutritious white foods should be included in your diet.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms deliver good nutrition, One cup of raw whole mushrooms provides 20 per cent to 25 per cent of a day’s worth of niacin, a B vitamin that’s used to make stress hormones, improve circulation and reduce inflammation, have 21 calories and 3 grams of protein.

medley-mushrooms

Mushrooms are also an excellent source of selenium, a mineral that acts as an antioxidant, helps make DNA and plays an important role in thyroid function. Mushrooms also supply potassium, copper and iron.

Potatoes

Potatoes are often thought to have little nutritional value, the white potato is surprisingly nutritious. One medium baked potato serves up 22 milligrams of vitamin C along with plenty of B6, folate and magnesium.

Potatoes 2

A medium potato has 941 mg of Potassium, 20 per cent of a day’s worth.

Potatoes can help ward off hunger, too. According to researchers from the University of Sydney, boiled white potatoes scored highest on the satiety index, a tool that ranks foods by their ability to satisfy hunger. Researchers tested 38 different foods, including breads, breakfast cereals, grains, fruits, protein-rich foods and snack foods.

Some varieties of white potato have a high glycemic index (GI), like russet potatoes but red and new potatoes have moderate GI scores.

The glycemic index of potatoes also depends on how you cook them.

Eaten cold (precooked) or reheated, potatoes have low to moderate GI value. Cooling cooked potato starch changes its structure making it resistant to digestion in the small intestine. Leave the skin on when you cook potatoes. It contains fibre and nutrients, and it helps retain the vitamin C in potatoes.

Parsnips

This vegetable has very little pigmentation, has all the disease-fighting phytochemicals or nutrients.

Parsnips Isolated on White

Parsnips are packed with falcarinol, a phytochemical with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Animal research suggests that falcarinol may reduce the growth of colon cancer cells. Parsnips contain five times more falcarinol than brightly coloured carrots.

Parsnips are also nutrient-dense. One cup of cooked parsnip, for example, serves up 5.5 g of fibre, 572 mg of potassium, 20 mg of vitamin C and almost one-quarter of a day’s worth of folate.

Enjoy parsnips roasted with herbs or cooked and mashed with other root vegetables such as carrot, turnip or sweet potato. Make parsnip chips. Slice parsnips thinly, brush with olive oil and bake until crisp.

Bananas

Bananas have a high potassium content 422 mg per one medium banana. They’re also an exceptional source of B6, a vitamin that’s needed for protein metabolism and to maintain healthy nerve and brain function. One medium banana supplies one-third of a day’s worth of the nutrient for adults aged 19 to 50 and 25 per cent of a day’s worth for older adults.

bananas

Bananas also provide fiber, vitamin C, folate, niacin and magnesium, and they also have a low glycemic index value of 51 (GI values less than 55 are considered low).

They have resistant starch so bananas are considered a prebiotic as well, a food that feeds beneficial gut bacteria.

Onions

This vegetable does more than add flavour to meals. It also provides a little vitamin C, folate, calcium and potassium.

Oninons

Onions are high in flavonols, phytochemicals that neutralize harmful free radicals and suppress inflammation. One particular flavonol, called quercetin, has been linked to protection from lung cancer, asthma and diabetes.

Observational research suggests that a moderate intake of onions may reduce the risk of colorectal, laryngeal and ovarian cancers.

Organosulfur compounds in onions, the same chemicals that give onions their distinctive flavour, have also been shown to have anti-bacterial, anti-cancer and cholesterol and blood pressure lowering properties.

 


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Summer fruits and their secret

Summer Fruit

The pits and seeds of many fruits contain amygdalin — a plant compound that your body converts to cyanide after eating. Symptoms of cyanide exposure include dizziness, headache, nausea, a rapid heart rate and convulsions.

Amygdalin stays safely in the pit unless you crack it open and eat the substance inside. The flesh of the fruit contains very little of the compound. Stay away from the contents of the pit and eat only the fruit.

What is Amygdalin

The pits of green plums have the highest amygdalin content, followed by apricots, black plums, peaches and red cherries and then Apple seeds.

Suumer Fuits

An adult who eats more than three small raw apricot kernels, or less than half of one large kernel, in one sitting can exceed safe levels of the cyanide-releasing chemical, per European Food Safety Authority.  For toddlers, even one small apricot kernel is risky.

You’d have to chew and eat the seeds of about 18 apples in one sitting to consume a lethal dose of cyanide.

If you just swallow an apple seed or cherry pit intact, the amygdalin shouldn’t get into your system, the shell is hard enough to pass through the digestive system intact.

Heat deactivates the cyanide, so seeds are safe if processed properly, which may involve soaking, drying, cooking, canning and roasting or perhaps fermenting.

People often eat the pits intentionally; some like the taste of apple seeds, while others believe the almond-like substance has health benefits.

Apricot kernels are the basis for laetrile, a purified form of amygdalin, and have been marketed as a cancer cure, but laetrile has shown little anti-cancer effect in studies, the National Cancer Institute noted.

The FDA recently warned more than a dozen companies to stop making claims about herbal products marketed to treat or prevent cancer. Eating apricot kernels poses risk of cyanide poisoning warns the European Food Safety Authority.

Normal fruit consumption of fruits is good for health so enjoy the flesh and skipping the pit.


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Gut Microbiome the Hidden Metabolic Organ

The human microbiome consists of trillions of bacterial cells that live and flourish throughout the body in places such as the skin, lungs, mouth, and urogenital and digestive tracts. Depending on their location in the body, these beneficial bacterial cells have different characteristics and roles in maintaining health.

Microbiome

The gut is home to over 1 000 different species of microbes, with an estimated 100 million to one trillion cells per milliliter, located in the large intestine alone. These microbes contain at least 100 times more genes than are found in the human genome. It has long been known that the bacteria and microbes in the gut are involved in several important functions including:

  • Participating in the synthesis of vitamins B12 and K, folate, and biotin
  • Enhancing the immune system
  • Providing a physical barrier to harmful pathogens
  • Producing short-chain fatty acids that provide energy for colonic cells through fermentation of nondigestible carbohydrates

Unlike the human genome, which is determined at conception, the gut microbiome coevolves with the individual over time and appears to be dependent on a multitude of factors, including: age, long-term dietary habits, lifestyle, environmental exposures, and stress.

Dysbiosis, or disruption of the healthy microbiota, is thought to be a trigger for many diseases. This can be caused by antibiotic use or it may also be a result of stress, or result of the quality and composition of one’s diet. Studies have found that those who eat typical Western diets, high in fat and protein from animal products, and low in plant foods, have less diversity in their gastrointestinal bacteria. Higher fiber diets, and especially those which contain a wide variety of plant foods, appear to promote a greater variety and numbers of healthy bacteria.

There is evidence of an association between the gut microbiome and the following diseases:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome: A lack of bacterial diversity may facilitate adhesion of pathogens to the bowel wall.

IBS

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis): While IBD has a strong genetic component, studies have also identified an over abundance of certain types of bacteria, which causes chronic inflammation and ulceration of the colon lining.

IBD

  • Colorectal cancer: Cancerous changes in the colon may be due to chronic inflammation caused by dysbiosis, and in turn, the cancerous tissue appears more likely to harbor an overabundance of Fusobacterium, a pathogenic bacterium.
  • Obesity: Obese individuals appear to have differences in the gut microbiome as compared to lean individuals. Consuming excess calories over and above what is needed for weight maintenance can alter the gut microbiota, regardless of the quality of the diet.

Obesity

  • Allergy: Certain allergic diseases such as atopic eczema, asthma, rhinitis, and some food allergies may be linked to dysbiosis, especially in infants. In many cases, those affected have less bacterial diversity, possibly due to the “hygiene hypothesis”—a high level of hygiene during the neonatal period that likely reduces exposure to microbes.

Allergies

  • Diabetes and insulin resistance: As in the case of obesity, individuals with diabetes appear to have similarities in their gut microbiome.

Insulin Resistance

Although research on the association between disease and the gut microbiome is still emerging, there appears to be significant evidence that diet plays an important role in developing and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, which in turn may promote wellness, and/or help to manage numerous diseases.

Diet

Consume a high fiber, plant-based diet that includes a variety of fiber sources, to increase the diversity of the gut microbiome.

fiber

Limit excess energy consumption, regardless of the composition of the diet.

Consume probiotic rich foods such as kefir, yogurt, and fermented vegetables, with live and active cultures.

Be aware that probiotic supplements may contain varying strains of bacteria, which may target different disorders.

Look for ways to reduce stress, especially if it results in unhealthy eating habits, and/or constipation or diarrhea.


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Cancer and Altered taste

Taste is a stimulus for appetite.  The most common taste disorder is the distortion of the sense of taste or dysgeusia.  Taste acuity declines with age but people more often  report dysgeusia (distortion of taste) when they experience an abrupt alteration resulting in an overly strong/weak taste. Among the seriously ill, dysgeusia can adversely influence nutrition and quality of life as well as lead to food aversions, distorted smells, and loss of eating pleasure.

Taste

 In cancer, dysguesia is most associated with chemotherapy and radiation; yet there is considerable intra-individual variability regarding the intensity of impact.  Patients with head and neck cancer and those exposed to tyrosine kinase inhibitors or taxane based regimens are most at risk.  Common non-malignancy causes of dysgeusia in the seriously ill include, infections, zinc deficiency, hypothyroidism, Cushing ’s syndrome, liver disease, sequelae from ENT operations, and medications such as psychotropics, opioids, and antihypertensives.

Patients often fail to volunteer symptoms of dysguesia. Hence, patients with cancer or other described risk factors should be routinely asked about distorted smell and taste.

Chemotherapy induced dysgeusia most often resolves within months. However, in that time, it can have a devastating effect. Because eating habits are shaped by life experiences and life experiences are shaped by eating habits, dysgeusia can alter customs within the family unit and lead to a reduction in socialization around meals.

Many with taste alterations try home remedies such as lemon juice, candy before meals, sweet drinks, plastic utensils, drinking from a straw, brushing teeth and tongue before meals, and using salt, soda or antibacterial mouthwashes. There is weak evidence for flavor enhancers (e.g. salt, sugar, monosodium glutamate, monopotassium glutamate) during chemotherapy.

There are a multitude of ineffective drugs: corticosteroids, vitamin A, gabapentin, gingko biloba, glutamine, and amifostine have all been shown to be non-beneficial, other medications may help, however the data are not fully convincing.  A randomized trial demonstrated taste improvement with alpha lipoic acid (available over the counter); however, other studies did not reproduce this finding. Dronabinol at low doses such as 2.5 mg twice daily may improve dysguesia in advanced cancer without improving appetite. Multiple randomized trials of zinc supplementation at doses between 30 to 50 mg three times a day demonstrated a modest improvement in taste acuity and taste quality among individuals undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation. This benefit was not observed in a non-cancer population.

Patients with taste distortion must try a variety of foods to pick the one that works for them, this time could be used to try various other cuisines that have multiple flavor’s, experimentation is the best option.


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Mystery of steel-cut oatmeal

Despite its super-nutritious image, steel-cut oats are similar in nutrition to other forms of oatmeal that don’t contain added sugar or sodium. All forms of oatmeal are whole-grain, containing the same vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber, including the soluble fiber shown to lower blood cholesterol. Both steel-cut and rolled oats are relatively slow to raise blood sugar and therefore classified as low in glycemic index (GI). Traditional oatmeal is referred to as rolled oats, because the whole-grain oats are softened by steam and flattened on rollers to form flakes. Steel-cut oats, also known as Irish or Scotch oatmeal, are oats cut by steel blades into small pieces without being flattened. Quick-cooking (one-minute) and instant oatmeal are steamed, cut and flattened in progressively smaller pieces to cook more quickly.

Oatmeals

Most of these basic kinds of oatmeal differ mainly in cooking time and texture. Steel-cut takes longest to cook and has a heartier, chewier texture. Quick-cooking oatmeal is 100 percent oats and has zero sodium. A serving of instant oatmeal may seem lower in fiber than other forms when you check label information, but that’s only because a packet usually makes a smaller serving. Instant oatmeal does have added salt with one packet having about the same amount of sodium as in 20 potato chips, almost one-tenth of the most sodium you should have in one day. Moreover, many varieties of instant oatmeal contain almost three packets of added sugar (12 grams). A few varieties of flavored instant oatmeal use zero-calorie sweeteners instead of sugar, and some add gums or soy protein isolate to add additional fiber or protein. Make sure to check Nutrition Facts panel information at the store to see what’s in oatmeal so you can compare the added sugar and sodium among the options.

Most children and adults in the U.S. are getting less than the recommended amounts of whole grains and dietary fiber.

whole grains and dietary fiber

Researchers found people who did eat the recommended three or more servings of whole grains each day also tended to consume the most fiber.

Whole grains are present in some types of hot and cold cereal and bread. Previous studies have tied whole grain intake to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease among adults. The health benefits are in part attributed to the fiber in whole grains.

fiber

Eating fiber has been linked to better gut health, less heart disease and lower weights. Fiber is found in whole grains in varying quantities as well as in fruits, vegetables and beans.

Dietary guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services say at least half of all grains consumed should be whole grains. That works out to a minimum of three one-ounce servings per day for adults.

Fiber recommendations vary by age. Young kids need 19 to 25 grams of fiber each day while older kids, teens and adults need anywhere from 21 to 38 grams per day.

Consumers can read labels and look for a special whole grain stamp when shopping.