By Henry Gould – April 11th, 2019
First they tell us eggs will kill us, then they tell us they’re good again, then back and forth and back and forth… same with alcohol, lard, bread, coconut oil. It’s enough to make you give up and just drink Soylent for all 3 meals.
Instead of reporting back on another article saying what foods were definitely, 100% sure, no-if’s-and’s-or-but’s going to kill us, I found the below article interesting for saying what foods we WEREN’T eating as the biggest problem.
According to the study, not even smoking and high blood pressure are bigger risk factors for premature death than lack of a healthy diet consisting of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Diets high in sugar, trans fats and salt obviously contribute greatly, but it seems those particular things could be somewhat outweighed if the rest of the diet was made up for in healthier foods.
One of the most consistently underrated elements of any healthy diet is Fiber.
What Is Fiber?
Fiber is any part of a plant that can’t be digested by the body. This can be broken up into two parts:
- Dissolves in water to form a gel
- Found in oats, beans, apples, barley and other grains
- Ever opened a can of chickpeas and drained that gel-like liquid, or chia seeds in water? That’s soluble fiber
- Insoluble, can’t be digested by the body
- Promotes “movement” of food through the digestive tract
- Whole wheat flour, bran, nuts, potatoes are all examples
Fiber has many crucial benefits on human health, and cannot be overstated how essential it is to a healthy diet. The majority of the time, it’s less about the vitamins and minerals you might be getting from a few carrots and celery, and more so the fiber they contain.
Some of the reasons fiber is so important to our diet include:
- Fiber makes you feel full, and for longer
- Eating a diet high in fiber allows you to feel satiated after a meal without ingesting excess calories elsewhere
- Imagine eating a can of unseasoned chickpeas… you probably couldn’t do it, but if you did, you’d feel full for hours. That right there is fiber at work!
- A diet high in fiber has been shown to regulate low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, by stopping the re-uptake of them into the bloodstream
- The fiber acts as a barrier to these LDL’s being reabsorbed from the gut into the bloodstream, therefore lowering their levels systemically
- Also been shown that high fiber foods can lower blood pressure and inflammation
- The good bacteria in your gut feed off severals things, one of which is fiber, which our bodies can’t digest on their own
- These good bacteria eat the fiber, giving off chemicals that promote healthy gut function, among other positive benefits
- A diet high in sugar and other processed foods amplifies the bad bacteria in our guts, who eat these things and overpopulate the good bacteria, leading to negative health effects like increased risk of colon cancer
- As we’ve known for a long time, fiber keeps you… “regular”
- Obviously this is good for its own sake, but has other improved benefits on the overall health of the body
- Fruits and vegetables contain sugar – some more than others – but because a lot of the sugar is locked into fiber, we can’t get access to all of it
- Imagine a glass of orange juice, which might have taken 4 oranges to make. You likely wouldn’t sit there and eat 4 oranges whole, but if you did, you still wouldn’t be able to get all of the sugar out of those oranges because a lot of it would be trapped in the fiber of the orange
- If you juiced the 4 oranges and drank it, that’s basically an IV bag of straight sugar into the bloodstream… not good!
Whether this means you can eat fast food all the time just so long as you have some raw vegetables along with it, I’m not so sure. But it should inform our thinking and how and what we eat, particularly if you’re living an active #YardHard lifestyle.
Think less about what specific fruits, vegetables and grains you’re eating for their supposed health miracles (i.e kale, acai berries) and more so the fiber they contain as being just as important, if not more so.