Nutrition Before During and After Cancer

Information on nutritional needs for cancer patients


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Tea Time

Tea Time

Tea is a source of many different types of antioxidants and phytochemicals, which may have wide-ranging health benefits. Black, green, white, and oolong are the most common forms of tea, and all come from different parts of the same plant. Herbal teas come from the flowers or roots of non-tea plants. Most of the research on tea has focused on green tea, because it is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, after water. The major phytochemicals in green tea include gallic acid, and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).

 

Possible benefits of tea

Green Tea

Stroke: Some animal studies have shown that green tea might help prevent stroke.

Cancer: Animal studies and cell studies have shown that extracts of green tea and tea polyphenols might help prevent the development and growth of many forms of cancer by limiting the growth of tumors, and stimulating the destruction of cancer cells.

Weight loss: Some studies have shown that, the green tea catechin epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) does aid weight-loss efforts. Some evidence shows that the polyphenol content of tea can increase endurance during exercise because of improved fat metabolism (Roberts et al., 2015).

Black Tea

Memory: It does appear hopeful that either green or black tea may help to slow the memory decline that occurs with aging. In one large study, it appears that people who drank either kind of tea at least five times a week had roughly a 30% slower rate of decline on annual Mini-Mental State Examinations than those who did not consume any tea.

Cardiovascular disease: The study of tea in relation to cardiovascular disease remains inconclusive regarding catechin effects on lipid levels, blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. The US Food and Drug Administration has deemed the evidence regarding green tea and heart health as “supportive, but not conclusive.”

Diabetes: Findings on diabetes and tea also are inconclusive, and the evidence seems even less convincing as more studies are completed.

Tea

Osteoporosis: A recent meta-analysis which examined the association between tea drinking and the risk of osteoporosis found that tea consumption can increase bone mineral density, but the researchers were unable to draw any conclusions about whether it can prevent fractures due to osteoporosis

Tooth decay: Both black and green teas seem to inhibit bacteria that cause tooth decay.

Parkinson’s disease: A study published in Parkinsonism & Related Disorders found that coffee, black tea, Japanese tea, and Chinese tea all decreased the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

Immune function and autoimmune disease: Research from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University shows that green tea increases the number of regulatory T cells that play a key role in immune function and suppression of autoimmune disease.

Tea terminology

Polyphenols: These are chemicals found in many foods, including tea. They are antioxidants.

Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) scores: ORAC is a measure of antioxidants. Tea and many fruits and vegetables are ranked on the ORAC score.

Flavonoids: These polyphenols may have anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties.

Catechins: These are a form of flavonoids.

EGCG: EGCG is the catechin most present in tea and the catechin most studied for health benefits. EGCG is not fully absorbed by the body and is not “readily available” to the body.

Bottled teas

Bottled Tea

A bottle of a popular tea beverage is not likely to do much for you. The content of actual tea in these drinks is very minor. To obtain any benefits from tea, freshly brewed tea is a much better option.

Decaffeinated tea

It is not known whether decaffeinated teas have the same polyphenols or level of polyphenols as traditional brews.

Milk in tea

Tea with Milk

Originally, it was thought that milk blocked the absorption of catechins. It is now known that it does not, unless you plan to make your tea with milk and then let it sit for 1 hour or longer before drinking it.

Tea Time 2

 

 

 

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Fat phobia

saturated-fat

Saturated fat, found in fatty animal foods like meats and dairy products, raises blood levels of cholesterol and is not healthy, but olive oil is beneficial for cardiovascular health and body weight. Olive oil, like canola, avocado and nut oils, is monounsaturated, and while it has as many calories as meat and dairy fat, it does not raise blood cholesterol or cause fat-clogging deposits in blood vessels. Human bodies do require intake of some fat. Not only does fat provide energy, it aids in nutrient absorption, provides essential fatty acids needed for various structures and molecules throughout the body, and contributes to satisfaction and fullness with food.

Healthy Oils

Low or Fat free
Food manufacturers have long produced reduced-fat and fat-free versions of many foods that were traditionally high in fat. Now it is simple to purchase items like cheeses, baked goods, crackers, ice creams, and salad dressings, among others, with less fat than the original product contains. Here is the catch: food manufacturers know that their reduced- and fat-free foods must still taste good in order to make sales. This often results in the addition of other ingredients in excess of what would normally be included, such as sugar or salt.

Low fat foods

Fat intake is linked to blood cholesterol. Eating unsaturated fats can decrease levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol, and possibly help to increase high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

Eating saturated and trans fats will increase LDL cholesterol, high LDL levels are often harmful. Trans fats, which are used in some commercial bakery products and fried foods, are unhealthy and should be avoided.

So, which foods should be eaten in their full-fat forms?

  • Yogurt: Plain yogurt or one without a lot of added sugar is best.

Yogurt

  • Frozen yogurt and ice cream: Lower fat, frozen desserts are likely higher in sugar, and may not be as satisfying as the full-fat version.

Yoghurt Berry Popsicle

  • Granola: Much of the fat in granola comes from healthy oils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Always check the label to be sure, and watch out for large amounts of added sugar.

Granola

  • Salad dressing: Full-fat salad dressing helps the body absorb several of the vitamins in the salad. Plus, lower fat salad dressings often include more sugar and starches as thickeners. Salad dressings made with olive or canola oil are the most heart-healthy.

salad-dressings

  • Butter: Butter is a saturated fat, but it may be a healthier choice than many margarines, or coconut oil. Use it in moderation, and wherever possible, substitute olive oil.
  • Peanut or other nut butter: Most of the fats in nut butters are unsaturated fats, and have been shown to have health benefits. Check the label to make sure there is no hydrogenated fat added, and no to minimal added sugar.

Peanut Butter

  • Avocados and olives: The fat in both of these foods is largely monounsaturated, and should be included as part of a healthy diet. Caution: both are high in calories, so eat them in moderation.

avocado-oil


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That sweet tooth

It would be a lot easy if we could extract them, but we have to make a conscious effort to overcome those cravings and once accomplished it becomes a life style and avoiding sweets a habit.

Some ways to overcome and change this habit

Remember added sugar increases risk of Obesity, Diabetes, cancer, heart disease and stroke. Avoid foods and drinks with added sweetening, be it natural or artificial, even so called caloric free. Artificial sweeteners, sugar, honey and agave are all added sugars.

Stay away from junk foods dressed as healthy, read the “Nutrition facts labels” if sugar is listed in the top three ingredients avoid it. Some good examples are store bought granola, ready to eat breakfast cereals, protein bars, protein smoothies.

Healthy Junk Food

Always have a shopping list and shop with intent, start with the produce section, dairy and then meat and fish section of any grocery store. Secondly move to the canned section for beans, canned fish and grains and spices. Never ever shop when hungry.

Shopping-List

Do not use caloric free or sugar free alternatives, even the naturals once like stevia. Sugar substitutes will maintain that sweet tooth which will make it difficult to say no to desserts.

Stevia

Buy and keep snacks ready with protein, good fat and fiber to combat those craving.

Redefine dessert, it should include dark chocolate, dehydrated fruits and of course fresh fruits.

dark-chocolate

Identify your weakness and prepare for that, then set a day of the week to have your favorite dessert if you must.

Do not treat yourself with dessert, cakes or any type of sweets, personally I would prefer shoes, and my husband prefers golf, but you can set a goal for a nonfood reward for celebrating your successes.

Avoid the “Low fat” trap, low fat foods will have higher refined carbohydrate, often sugar or its substitute, as a general rule avoid them.

light-fat-free-foods


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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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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.