Avoiding Nutritional Deficiencies in a Gluten-Free Diet

I was watching an episode of one of my favorite shows, Parenthood, and the topic of wheat allergy came up for one of the children. The solution: eliminating wheat. However, when you eliminate wheat, the risk of nutritional deficiencies may occur, especially if there is inadequate variety in the diet.

Celiac disease is an immune reaction to a protein in wheat, called gluten. If left untreated, malabsorption may occur, also leading to deficiencies in iron, magnesium, B vitamins and fiber. By eliminating gluten (rye, oats, wheat, barley and spelt), most symptoms are alleviated. However, even after going gluten free, some individuals with celiac still experience chronic diarrhea, which can impact nutritional status.  Continue reading “Avoiding Nutritional Deficiencies in a Gluten-Free Diet”

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More Reasons to Eat More Fiber

Eating a fiber-rich diet has many health benefits, including supporting cardiovascular health, blood sugar balance, promoting digestive and colon health, supporting weight management, and cholesterol reduction. And now, a recent meta-analysis shows that a high-fiber diet is also associated with a lower risk of breast cancer.

Nutrition and health experts recommend that men and women eat at least 25 grams of fiber daily, if not more. Unfortunately, many people tend to fall short of this suggested amount. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes provide the body with great sources of fiber. These foods provide different forms of fiber (insoluble and soluble) and we need them both for optimal health.

Insoluble fiber (mainly found in whole grains and vegetables) tends to act like a bulking agent and can help speed elimination. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve and therefore can help with the feeling of fullness and aid the body in toxin removal. Soluble fiber (found mainly in legumes, vegetables, and fruits) can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol by forming a gel-like substance that slows down digestion and the absorption of cholesterol. Continue reading “More Reasons to Eat More Fiber”

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Getting Regular

Did you know that you should have 2 to 3 bowel movements per day? The idea is that it takes 24 hours for your food to go through your digestive tract, so if you eat 3 meals per day, ideally you should have 3 bowel movements per day.

In order to have regular bowel movements, your body needs two things: water and fiber. The colon must be hydrated. One way to hydrate the colon is by taking magnesium. Magnesium helps bring water into the colon, ensuring hydration without becoming habit forming. Also, aim for 8 to 10 glasses of water per day.

Fiber is also very important. The ideal amount of fiber should be 30 to 40 grams per day, and many of us get less than half of that. Fiber works to create bulk in the colon and to tone the colon so the muscles are strong. Getting fiber from different sources will ensure that you are getting a variety of soluble and insoluble fiber. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are key sources of fiber and should be a regular part of a healthy diet. If you are having a hard time getting fiber, a fiber supplement can also help. If you haven’t been taking in a lot of fiber, increase slowly. Getting a lot of fiber all at once can be a cause for some minor discomfort.

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