CAT | Digestive Health
Everyone knows fiber supports digestive health and is great for helping to keep you regular, but really that’s just the tip of the iceberg.‡ A diet high in fiber is good for your whole body, and in fact studies have shown that a high-fiber diet offers the following benefits:
- Helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels‡
- Supports normal blood sugar‡
- Promotes cardiovascular health‡
- Helps remove toxins and waste‡
- Curbs appetite by helping you feel full‡
Now for the bad news: according to the National Institutes of Health, Americans aren’t getting nearly enough fiber—on average only 10 to 15 grams per day.
Add More Fiber with the Love Your Heart Eating Plan
Foods high in fiber are encouraged in Brenda Watson’s Love Your Heart Eating Plan because fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is not digested by enzymes in the digestive tract. High-fiber foods decrease the absorption of carbs after a meal, in turn helping to control blood sugar and insulin response to carbohydrates.
Brenda recommends eating 35 grams of fiber daily from plenty of non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits. The addition of a fiber supplement is also a great way to ensure you get enough fiber each day;‡ just be sure to look for a supplement that is:
- Made with natural and organically grown ingredients
- Made with lignan-rich flax fiber, soluble acacia fiber or natural chia seed
Psyllium-free to prevent cramping, gas and/or bloating
At a time when antibiotic resistance is one of the major problems facing America and parents are being cautioned against widespread antibiotic use among children, more and more people are beginning to realize that bacteria is not such a dirty word after all.
In fact, there are trillions of “friendly” bacteria called probiotics that reside in the gut and help support digestion and immune health—and results from a recent study out of Mexico City show that daily probiotics may be the key to promoting a balanced intestinal environment in younger children and, as a result, supporting overall health.‡
In total, more than 300 preschool children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years participated in the study. While half of the participants received a placebo, the other half received the beneficial probiotic Lactobaccillus reuteri each day for three months. In the latter group, researchers saw a significant effect in reducing episodes and duration of occasional diarrheai along with fewer missed days at preschool (as well as fewer missed work days for the parents).‡
Results of the study were published in the March 2014 issue of Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.