The Benefits of Fiber

Healthy FoodsI know for most of my avid readers, fiber is something that you all are familiar with and know a little something about it. I want to inform those who don’t know what fiber is and how it can benefit those that consume it.

What is fiber?
Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that can’t be digested and is necessary for the health of your digestive system. Fiber can be found in all plants, including fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. Current dietary guidelines recommend that adults consume between 26-35 grams of fiber daily. However, the average US fiber intake is only 4.5-11 grams a day.

What are the different types of fiber?
There are two principal types of fiber – soluble and insoluble:

Fiber / Fibra

Fiber / Fibra (Photo credit: . SantiMB .)

• Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber partially breaks down and dissolves in water to form a soft gel. Soluble fiber has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels by absorbing and excreting certain substances known to lead to high cholesterol. There is also some evidence that soluble fiber may lessen heart disease risks by reducing the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. Studies find that people on high-fiber diets have lower total cholesterol levels and may be less likely to form harmful blood clots than those who consume less soluble fiber.

Soluble fiber can be found in oats, legumes, brown rice, barley, fruits (especially apples), some green vegetables (such as broccoli) and potatoes.

• Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and is mainly responsible for adding bulk to stools, making it easier and faster to pass through your digestive system. Insoluble fiber is like a sponge, swelling up and absorbing many times its weight in water.

Insoluble fiber can be found in wheat bran and whole grains, as well as the skins of many fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts and dried beans.

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The Benefits of Fiber
Fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet. It keeps your digestive system healthy and functioning smoothly.

• Heart Health

Soluble fiber can help regulate blood sugar levels (by slowing the rate which sugar is absorbed by the body), and by lowering serum cholesterol, protecting against heart disease. As well, soluble fiber can possibly reduce excess blood fats and lower cholesterol.

• Weight Loss

Many people who are overweight have been shown to lose significant amounts of excess body fat simply by increasing the amount of dietary fiber, especially soluble fiber, in their daily diet.
Fibrous foods are often bulky and, therefore, filling. They also tend to be low in fat. Soluble fiber forms a gel that both slows down the time it takes to empty the stomach and the time for food to go through the digestive system. This extends the time a person feels full, while also delaying the absorption of sugars from the intestines – helping to maintain lower blood sugar levels and preventing a rapid rise in blood insulin levels, which has been linked with obesity and an increased risk of diabetes.

The extra chewing time often required of high fiber foods also helps contribute to feeling satisfied, and as a result, a person on a high fiber diet is likely to eat less food and so consume fewer calories.

• Cancer Protection

It has long been believed that increasing fiber intake will also help prevent certain cancers, such as colon cancer. There is a current debate going on in the scientific communities after a series of tests failed to show a concrete link between increased fiber consumption and a lower risk of developing cancer.

However, many argue that the antioxidants and flavanoids found in many high-fiber foods were key contributors to fiber’s cancer-preventing properties (the later studies were done using alternative fiber sources that lacked these cancer-fighting components). What is undisputable though is that a healthy, regular digestive system is necessary in the prevention of colon cancer, and getting enough fiber in your diet is essential for a healthy digestive system.

Pros and cons, to morning, afternoon and evening work out time frame.

Lets just get right into it. You can read my opinion here for a little more detail if you would like.

what time is good for you

Morning exercise pros 

Exercising in the morning can:

  • Get our metabolisms off to a flying start helping us burn more calories throughout the day
  • Promote more fat burning because our depleted glycogen stores force our bodies to turn to fat
  • Produce endorphins that stimulates us and helps us get off to a positive start to the day
  • Act like a cup of coffee and wake us up
  • Help us exercise more consistently by minimizing distractions
  • Can create time for exercise by forcing us to get up a bit earlier
  • Improve energy levels for the rest of the day ahead
  • Improve our mental sharpness for hours after
  • Allow us to exercise unaffected by summer heat
  • Minimize our exposure to air pollution exercising outside
  • Make it easier to get on machines in the gym without waiting and when time limits don’t apply

Morning exercise cons 

As well as having many positives, morning exercise also has some negatives.

Included in these are the facts that morning exercise can:

  • Force us to workout with less than optimal energy levels
  • Promote injuries by forcing us to workout with cold, stiff muscles
  • If exercising before eating, muscle (as well as fat) can be used as a fuel source
  • Make it difficult for us to form a habit for exercise (if we are not “morning people”)
  • Put some of us at higher risk for heart attack (research suggests a generalized increased risk) Continue reading

When is a good time to work out?

“Vince, when is the best time of day to work out, morning, noon or evenings?” This is what a colleague of mine asked when I told him I was

Timing isn’t everything.

headed to the gym after work. It was about 3:30 pm. Of course I gave him my two cents on the subject. I said to him, “it all depends on you and your schedule. I also said that’s like asking when is a good time to schedule an appointment or when is a good time to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, when is the best time to go grocery shopping. Of course there are experts out there that say mornings are the best time, but for me, it just depends on the person”.

I go when I can and when I feel like it. And if I have a work out partner (which I highly recommend) I go when we both are free. (Just as long as I get it in).
I do more weight lifting than cardio which is terrible. I hate cardio. I get better results when I fix my mind about 2 or 3 hours before going in the late afternoon. My muscles are at their best around this time because of my “internal clock” since I am use to going at that time. And there is no interference with my workout. We all have distractions and life is happening all the time that may cause us to leave the gym or where ever we work out, that may prevent us from finishing our exercises.
On the weekends I may go in the mornings. I don’t set an alarm to get up and go. I’m not a morning person. But after I crawl out of bed, get to moving around, see what’s on the calendar, do my bathroom activities, I may jump in the car and be there before 10:00 am.
I will even grab a protein shake or a bite to eat before I go. It’s not good to work out on an empty stomach because your body needs fuel. You will burn muscle and some healthy fats if you’re doing this.

The bottom line is that it is more important that we workout than when we workout. If we can’t workout in the morning, or don’t want to, but can work out in the afternoon or evening, that’s cool. Just get it in.
If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. If you currently have an exercise time and routine that is working for you, stick with it. Like Nike says, “Just Do It.”
Regardless of what the research says, every individual is unique, and as such, each person’s body chemistry, mentality, physical readiness and inner clock is different. What works best for one person may not work for another. In fact, what works best for us today may change in a couple of months or years.
The difference between working out in the morning, afternoon or evening is likely to be negligible at best. Just my two cents. Decide the best time for you to exercise based upon your personal goals, schedule and lifestyle. Ideally, you will pick a time that you are able to stick with consistently and make it a part of your daily or weekly routine.

Check out some of the pros and cons here if you like. I would love to hear what time works best for you. Just to see the differences. It will be a learning experience for us all. Please feel free to leave a comment or a reply.

    

C’mon…Get Pumped!

Whether you call it weightlifting, pumping iron, or bodybuilding – lifting weights both light and heavy has long been a great way to get in shape and stay in shape. Weightlifting or weight training has many health benefits for both men and women. There are weightlifting and weight-training routines appropriate for men, woman, even children of any age, any size, and any body type. If you want to build muscle mass, increase stamina, improve cardiac function, even stave off the symptoms of osteoporosis – you can accomplish all of that and so much more by adding a good weight training routine to your regular workout. 

To get the most health benefit out of lifting weights, you need to combine your weight training with other exercise. If you are not already doing some kind of aerobic or cardio workout everyday, you must do this in addition to weight lifting. It is not healthy to just begin to lift weights without a proper warm up. Of course before starting any workout routine, check with your doctor. Prior to starting your weight lifting workout you need to “get the blood moving” and your muscles primed for some heavy lifting. Just before hitting the weights, do a good ten minutes on a bicycle, take a short jog, or jump rope. Do a few legs and arm stretches as well. The key to successful weight training involves what are called repetitions. In lifting it is not so important how much you lift, but how many times you can lift the weight. A proper weight lifting routine will be designed to work out all of the major muscle groups of the body, which include: The Shoulders, Neck and Back, Biceps, Triceps, Quadriceps Chest, Abs, Hamstrings, Calves, and of course the Gluteus.

The next question on your mind is likely to be “should I use free weights or machines?” and “how much weight should I work out with?” You can use free weights or machines or maybe a little of both. If you are working out in a gym, of course they will have both and will likely be able to recommend a “circuit” of weight lifting exercises for you. If you intend to lift weights in the home, it all depends on your budget and physical space to determine of you want to buy a “Home Gym” type resistance trainer such as Bowflex – or a good set of free weights and barbells – or both. Weight machines are great for beginners because they have been designed to work a specific muscle or muscle group, and will insure that you are seated or standing in the right position to target that group when you lift. Free weights are the traditional barbells and dumbbells that have been around for centuries, and they work great. In fact some would argue that once you learn how to use them properly you get a better workout than machines because it is only the force of your muscles and your ability to balance the weight that keeps the weight and your muscles moving properly. There is no aid from the machine, so you are effectively using more muscle with free weights.

Lifting weights improves your strength and stamina. Lifting weights builds muscle and confidence, improves cardiovascular health and can actually help prevent other sports injuries. And lifting weights can help you lose extra pounds and keep them off – so what are you “weighting” for. Come on get pumping!