Unpredictable multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms like fatigue can make it difficult to consistently bring breakfast to the table, but missing breakfast means a lack of nutrients, which can have ramifications for the energy you have every day.
The benefits of breakfast are seemingly endless. According to the Cleveland Clinic, not only will breakfast replenish your daily energy stores, it will also promote your heart health, reduce your risk of diabetes, and help alleviate brain fog.
How skipping breakfast leads to nutritional gaps
The results of several recent studies indicate the risks associated with consuming sufficient amounts of nutritious foods.
In a study published in The Lancet in April 2019, researchers identified sub-optimal diet as an important and preventable risk factor for chronic noncommunicable diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
The researchers assessed eating patterns of people in 195 different countries and collected data from nearly 30 years. The study showed that the United States had insufficient intake of whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. In other words, if we don’t eat enough of these foods, it is bad for our health.
A recent analysis of the breakfast habits of 30,000 American adults highlights the role breakfast plays in meeting your nutritional needs. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society in April 2021, suggested that people who skip breakfast are missing out on important nutrients like folic acid, calcium, iron, and select vitamins. In addition, the study found that people who miss nutrients at breakfast stop consuming them later in the day.
If you’re one of those Americans who skips breakfast sometimes or all of the time, try these quick, easy, and tasty strategies to make breakfast a more regular part of your day – and make sure you’re getting your daily nutritional needs.
CONNECTED: 8 anti-inflammatory foods for multiple sclerosis
What should you include in your breakfast?
Breakfast is a great time to get a variety of important daily nutrients:
- Complex carbohydrates These nutrients are found in whole grains, beans and legumes, colorful fruits and vegetables. Tip: The developers of the MIND diet specifically identified leafy greens and blueberries as foods that support brain health, which is important for MS.
- Proteins You can get your morning protein fix from eggs, Greek yogurt, milk or soy milk, tofu, tempeh, nuts, nut butters, and seeds.
- Heart-healthy fats Nut butters, avocados, oily fish, nuts, and seeds are great options.
- calcium Meet your daily calcium needs by drinking low-fat or skimmed milk. Tip: If for whatever reason you are cutting out dairy products, make sure your alternative is fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
- Folate Start your day by including folate-rich foods like green leafy vegetables, cereals fortified with folic acid, wheat germ, and orange juice in your breakfast menus.
- iron Fortified breakfast cereals, tofu, quinoa, and leafy vegetables like spinach are all sources of iron.
CONNECTED: 7 foods to ask your doctor about if you have MS
Fast and flexible breakfast to try
If you have MS, then you should try one of these simple and quick ideas:
- Smoothies Mix together colorful berries, frozen pieces of banana, leafy greens, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, nut butters, and milk or a fortified milk alternative.
- full grain Prepare a whole grain like oatmeal or quinoa with milk, or divide milk and water. Serve with berries and walnuts for flavor and nutritional boost.
- Toast with avocado or guacamole Buying guacamole in single-serving cups like Wholly Guacamole’s saves you time.
- cereal Dry muesli with low-fat milk is as easy as it gets – but not all breakfast cereals are created equal. Look for products that contain at least 3 grams (g) of fiber and have less than 6 grams of sugar per serving. Top with colored berries or cut fruits for more nutrients.
- Breakfast rolls There is more than one way to make a breakfast sandwich:
- Scrambled eggs or tofu with leafy vegetables, peppers and onions
- Egg Salad Sandwich or Tofu Salad Sandwich
- Peanut butter and jam. Tip: With wholemeal bread, this old-school classic is easy to prepare, easy to travel and makes for a balanced breakfast. And for a change, replace the jelly with a sliced banana.
If you’d prefer to have a head start at breakfast, you can try a cook-to-order breakfast:
- Reused leftovers If you like hearty foods in the morning, consider repeating last night’s dinner. For example, baked sweet potatoes with sautéed vegetables and an egg would be a colorful way to start the day. Or if you have salmon left over, add it to scrambled eggs or scrambled tofu, or add it to a sandwich.
- Pre-portioned smoothie bags Put your favorite ingredients in a resealable bag, date them, and store them in the freezer until it’s smoothie time in the morning.
- Baked Mini Frittatas or Egg Muffin Cups Use a muffin pan to make your favorite frittata recipe and enjoy all week.
- Breakfast quesadillas or taco fillings Prepare the fillings for these dishes in advance. They could include eggs, tofu, tempeh, beans, and lots of colorful vegetables.
- Overnight Oats There are so many overnight oats recipes out there! Using milk or yogurt to make overnight oats gives you a protein boost – and add fruits, nuts, and seeds for texture, fiber, and more nutrients.
CONNECTED: 10 immune boosting smoothie recipes
Tips for a lighter breakfast in MS
While MS symptoms like fatigue can thwart your plans, these strategies can help keep your morning meal from derailing:
Write down 3 to 5 quick and easy breakfasts that you and your family enjoy
Once you have selected a few meals, make a list of all the foods required to prepare them. Display your list on the refrigerator, on a whiteboard, or anywhere else where it’s easy to see.
When items are needed, add them to the grocery list to replace them to ensure you always have what you need around the house.
Simplify breakfast time
Look for breakfast dishes that take 30 minutes or less and use very few ingredients.
Tip: If you want to use a slow cooker or instant pot pressure cooker, you can find breakfast recipes that take advantage of these time and energy savers.
Have a backup plan
Life is busy, schedules change, and MS symptoms can show up and use up your energy when you least expect it – so plan for it by having some foods on hand that require little or no preparation.
Meal planning simply means anticipating your needs in advance and developing a strategy for what to do when the inevitable happens. Do your best to keep your backup plan simple.
CONNECTED: Healthy eating habits in multiple sclerosis
MS Fatigue: How to Stack the Deck in Your Favor
It’s hard to explain what it feels like to live with a chronic disease like MS, especially when it comes to symptoms like fatigue. Christine Miserandino developed a metaphor called the spoon theory to describe the amount of mental or physical energy a person with a chronic illness has available for daily activities and tasks.
In her metaphor, Miserandino, who has lupus, describes how she starts each day with a finite number of spoons. Each task or activity she participates in costs her a certain number of spoons. When she runs out of spoons, she has no energy.
I love the spoon theory because it helps quantify how a chronic illness like MS affects your energy levels – something that is otherwise intangible.
I like to combine the spoon theory with another metaphor: the human body as a motor. And with people like me who have MS, that engine is less efficient.
Ideally, a person would start each day with a full tank, but people with MS start their day on just a gallon or two and we run out of energy quickly. This helps explain why tweaking our fuel choices is so important – and using another automotive reference of why it’s so important not to skip a pit stop like breakfast!
What research shows on diet and MS fatigue
Although there is no diet that generally improves MS symptoms, research has shown that a variety of diets can improve levels of fatigue in people with MS.
A study published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders in July 2016 showed that a very low-fat, plant-based diet was linked to significantly improved fatigue in people with MS.
Another study published in Degenerative Neurological and Neuromuscular Disease in January 2017 showed that the paleo diet can help reduce perceived fatigue in people with MS. However, the number of graduates in this study was very small.
Although these two diets differ in the foods they include and exclude, they similarly call for higher vegetable intake than a typical American diet, and both emphasize whole, unprocessed foods. These are changes that anyone can make without following a specific diet.
CONNECTED: 7 Ways To Combat MS Fatigue With Your Fork
Conclusion for breakfast
Breakfast matters. It’s an opportunity to energize your body and support the health of your brain – and perhaps more importantly for people with MS, a chance to start your day with a few more “spoons”!
If you find yourself skipping breakfast due to loss of appetite, be sure to tell your doctor. And if MS creates barriers that make it difficult to navigate your kitchen, you should ask your doctor for a referral to an occupational therapist (OT). If you have any nutrition-related questions, your doctor can refer you to a registered dietitian.
What’s the Best Diet for Runners? Nutrition Tips and More
Before shopping for groceries for running, it is important to understand the science behind it.
The three macronutrients that are important to your overall diet are:
In addition, a varied diet ensures that you are also getting micronutrients and antioxidants, which play key roles in muscle function and recovery.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and are essential for long distance running.
When you consume them, your body breaks down dietary carbohydrates into their simplest form, the sugar, glucose.
Glucose is a vital source of energy for humans. This is because your body needs it to produce your cells’ energy currency called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (1, 2).
During a run or exercise, your body can send glucose to muscle cells as an immediate source of energy. Any extra glucose in your bloodstream is sent to your liver and muscle cells to be stored as glycogen (1, 2).
During a run, your body first draws glucose from the blood to keep working muscles powered. When glucose levels start to drop, the body starts converting stored glycogen back to glucose through a process called glycogenolysis (1, 2).
Your VO2max is the maximum rate at which your body can consume oxygen while exercising, and it increases with higher exercise intensity.
This limits the oxygen available for energy production. As a result, your body engages in anaerobic (lack of oxygen) energy production that relies primarily on carbohydrates (3, 4).
When your exercise intensity increases, e.g. For example, when running and sprinting over shorter distances, your body uses carbohydrates as a primary source of energy and fat as a secondary source (2, 3, 5).
Because of the shorter duration of a sprint, most people have adequate blood sugar and glycogen stores to support their run (2, 3, 5).
During longer, lower-intensity runs, your body increasingly relies on fat stores to produce energy. This can happen, for example, on runs longer than 10 km (6 miles) (3, 4, 5, 6).
Additionally, most long distance runners also need to fill up on simple sugars to keep their run going. This is why many long-distance runners consume sports drinks or energy gels (5, 6).
Eating around 45–65% of total daily calories from carbohydrates is a good goal for most runners (7, 8).
Stored body fat is another great source of energy, especially when running long distances.
In general, you should aim to get between 20% and 30% of your total daily calories from mostly unsaturated fats. Avoid eating less than 20% of your caloric intake from fat (8).
Low fat intake is linked to a lack of fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids (8, 9, 10).
During long-lasting endurance training, your body falls back on its fat reserves as the primary source of energy.
It does this through a process called fat oxidation. Stored triglycerides are broken down into fatty acids, which your body then converts into glucose (1, 3, 5, 6).
While the process of fat oxidation is useful in long distance running, it is less efficient than using carbohydrates during high-intensity exercise. Because fat takes more time to be converted into energy, and that process also requires oxygen (8, 9, 10).
In addition, dietary fat is less efficient as a training fuel than carbohydrates, which are consumed very quickly and are more readily available during exercise (8, 9, 10).
So instead of consuming fat specifically for running, you should consume it as part of a balanced diet to support the functions of your body.
Dietary fat is crucial for:
- healthy joints
- Hormone production
- Nerve function
- General health
It also supports the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), making it an important part of your diet (8, 9, 10).
If you have stomach upset, eat low-fat meals in the few hours before running. Instead, try to eat higher fat meals during recovery periods (10).
Protein is not a primary source of energy during endurance training. Instead, your body supports (11, 12):
- Muscle growth and regrowth
- Tissue repair
- Injury prevention
- the production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells
- Total recovery
Your muscles break down as you run, which makes protein fueling important in rebuilding those muscles. Without protein, the muscles cannot be rebuilt efficiently, which can lead to muscle wasting, increased risk of injury and poorer performance (11, 12).
Although individual needs vary, most research suggests consuming around 0.6-0.9 grams of protein per pound (1.4-2.0 grams per kg) of your body weight per day.
This is sufficient for recovery and can prevent muscle loss in extreme endurance athletes (8, 10, 11).
Exercise puts a strain on your body’s metabolic pathways, so you need a diet high in micronutrients to support its function.
While every athlete has different needs, some micronutrients are particularly important (8):
- Calcium. This is a major contributor to bone health and muscle contraction. Most people get enough calcium-rich foods in their diet, including dairy products and leafy greens.
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for bone health as it supports calcium and phosphorus absorption. It can also contribute to muscle metabolism and function. You can get it through sun exposure, supplements, and foods rich in vitamin D.
- Iron. This is critical to the development of red blood cells, which provide oxygen to working muscle cells. Long distance runners, vegetarians, and vegans may need more than the recommended food intake – more than 18 mg per day for women and 8 mg per day for men.
- Antioxidants. Antioxidants help reduce cell damage from oxidation from intense exercise. Eating foods high in antioxidants – like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds – seems to be more effective than taking antioxidant supplements.
- Other nutrients and aids. Many athletes use supplements or consume foods to improve performance, such as beetroot, caffeine, beta-alanine, and carnosine. Some of these are backed by more research than others.
For most people, eating a variety of whole foods ensures that you are getting enough micronutrients.
If you think you have a deficiency or want to try a new nutritional supplement, speak to a doctor.
Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy during exercise. As you increase the distance and time of your runs, your body also begins to use stored fat for fuel. Prioritizing your diet can help improve your performance.
Good timing when eating can make all the difference in your runs. Your timing largely depends on:
- how long and far do you run
- your personal goals
- your tolerance
- Your experience
The best way to find out what works for you is through trial and error.
Diet before the run
Most people who run for less than 60 minutes can safely exercise without eating first. Even so, you may want to have a small, high-carb snack to provide a quick source of glucose. Examples are (13, 14):
- 2-3 Medjool dates
- Apple sauce
- a banana
- a glass of orange juice
- Energy gel
If you plan to run for more than 60-90 minutes, have a small meal or snack containing about 15-75 grams of carbohydrates at least 1-3 hours before your workout.
This gives your body enough time to digest your food (8, 13, 14, 15).
Examples of carbohydrates to eat are:
- a fruit smoothie made from milk and a banana
- Scrambled eggs and toast
- a bagel with peanut butter
Avoid high-fiber foods a few hours before running, as these take longer to digest and can cause stomach upset during exercise. Examples are whole grains, beans, lentils, and some vegetables.
After all, people who run for more than 90 minutes may want to recharge with carbohydrates a few days before an event.
This involves consuming a large amount of carbohydrates before a long distance run to make sure your body is storing as much glycogen as possible for quick energy supply (8).
While carbohydrate loading, many people attempt to consume 3.2-4.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound (7-10 grams per kilogram) of their body weight per day 36 to 48 hours before running. The best sources are complex carbohydrates like (8, 9, 10):
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole wheat pasta
- Brown rice
- Multigrain bread
- low fiber cereals
During your run
The only macronutrient that you need to focus on while running is carbohydrates. What you consume should largely depend on the length and intensity of your run.
Here are general guidelines you can follow for different run lengths (8, 9, 10):
- Less than 45 minutes. No high-carb foods or drinks are required.
- 45-75 minutes. You might want a high-carbohydrate mouthwash or small sips of a sports drink.
- 60-150 minutes. You may want to replenish your blood sugar level with 30-60 grams per hour of a sports drink or energy gel.
- 150 minutes or more. For long distance endurance runs, you may need to fill up with 60-90 grams of carbohydrates per hour. Most people prefer to stock up on high-carb sports drinks, gels, chewy candies, and bananas.
Whether you eat right after your run depends on the intensity of the exercise, the duration of the run, and your personal preferences.
If you want to eat right away, try a small snack with carbohydrates and proteins, such as chocolate milk or an energy bar.
Try to eat a meal that is high in carbohydrates and protein within 2 hours of your run.
Try to consume between 20 and 30 grams of protein. Research has shown that this can promote increased muscle protein synthesis.
Some examples of high protein foods are (8, 9, 10, 16):
- Protein powder (whey or vegetable based)
You should also replenish your glycogen stores by eating complex carbohydrates like whole wheat pasta, potatoes, brown rice, and whole grain bread, which provide a constant source of glucose for hours after your run (7, 8, 9, 15).
In most cases, food intake before, during and after the run depends on many personal factors. Try out some of these pointers and tweak them as needed to see what works best for you.
The benefits of fiber | 2021-09-21
The “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025” state that more than 90% of women and 97% of men do not adhere to the recommended intake of fiber, and such deficits are associated with health risks. This is where fiber fortification in baked goods, a traditional source of intrinsic grain-based fiber, helps consumers get closer to their intake goals. While there is a lot of fiber in it, bakers may want to explore those that give the recipe a function, such as: B. those that can eliminate gluten in bread or reduce sugar in biscuits.
Family-owned and operated Royo Bread Co., New York, launches a low-calorie, keto-friendly artisanal bread that has 30 calories, 2 grams of net carbohydrates, and 11 grams of fiber per slice. Wheat-resistant starch is the first ingredient. Other sources of fiber include wheat protein, wheat bran, whole rye flour, ground flaxseed, and psyllium husk.
“Flax seeds are high in omega-3 fats and fiber,” says Ronit Halaf, a registered nutritionist who started the company in 2019 with her baker husband, Yoel Halaf. “Psyllium husks are an important part of all of our products. It contains soluble fiber and insoluble fiber that will help increase fullness, slow digestion, and most importantly, help you stay regular. Wheat protein, also called wheat gluten, is essential to keep our products together. It contains traces of wheat and is a rich source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. “
For Nature’s Path, Richmond, British Columbia, the focus was on eliminating added sugar in muesli. But ingredient technology also added fiber to it.
“People worry about the amount of sugar they’re consuming,” said Arjan Stephens, general manager of Nature’s Path. “Our new granolas contain 0% added sugar and are still 100% delicious.”
The muesli is available in vanilla-almond butter and mixed berry flavors, with each serving containing 17 grams of whole grain products. That doesn’t mean everything in fiber, however, as one serving only contains 3 grams. This still enables a high-fiber claim. The secret of the muesli’s sweet taste is its main ingredient: date powder.
“Dates are also high in fiber, which is great for digestive health,” said Stephens. “And their fiber content makes dates a low-glycemic food.”
While most Americans are aware that they need to consume more fiber and less sugar, it is not an easy task. You are not ready to forego quality and enjoyment.
According to a study by ADM Outside Voice, more than half of consumers associate fiber with benefits like digestive health. In addition, 56% of consumers report adding or increasing fiber to their diet, the Hartman Group reports in their report, Reimagining Wellbeing Amid COVID-19, 2021.
“However, added fiber can also be linked to digestive problems,” said Sarah Diedrich, Marketing Director, Sweetening Solutions and Fibers, ADM. “Our research has shown that almost 70% of consumers would stop buying a product if it caused gastrointestinal problems.”
This article is an excerpt from the September 2021 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the full fiber optic feature, click here.
Safety, other foods, and more
People with diabetes can enjoy dill pickles as a snack or as part of their favorite dishes. You should be careful with sweet cucumbers, however, and those at risk for heart disease should consider the effects of the added sodium on their health.
Pickled and fermented foods can offer some benefits. People with diabetes who want to include in their diets could try putting vegetables and fruits at home where they can control how much sodium or sugar they are using.
The following article describes everything a person with type 2 diabetes needs to know about cucumber. It also provides information about other fermented foods, what to include in a diet and what to avoid.
A person with type 2 diabetes can eat cucumber as a snack or as part of their meal. There are some exceptions to this rule, and people still need to eat them in moderation.
Dill pickles are generally the best option as they contain less than 2 grams (g) of carbohydrates in a 100 g serving. The low sugar and carbohydrate content should help prevent blood sugar from rising after a meal or snack.
People with type 2 diabetes may also get other health benefits from dill pickles because of the vinegar they often bring with them. According to a 2018 systematic review, several studies have observed that consuming vinegar can help lower levels of A1C in the blood, which is beneficial in treating diabetes.
In another preliminary study from 2013, researchers found similar results. They found that healthy adults who ate vinegar with meals had better fasting glucose levels during the 12-week study.
However, dill pickles have one drawback. They are extremely high in sodium, at 808 milligrams (mg) in a 100 g serving. Since a person with diabetes is already at a higher risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, they should only eat dill pickles in moderation to avoid too much sodium in their diet.
Sweet pickles are not that suitable for diabetics. They contain about 18.3 g of sugar in a 100 g serving. To prevent blood sugar spikes, a person should consider eating protein like chicken and healthy fat like olive oil when ingesting a sweet cucumber.
Sweet cucumbers also contain around 457 mg of sodium in the same serving.
To be clear, sweet pickles include “bread and butter” and other sweeter pickles.
Pickles have relatively no nutritional value. Although they are often low in calories, they don’t provide many vitamins or minerals other than sodium, which can be harmful to a person’s health.
A person living with type 2 diabetes may find that adding pickled or fermented foods to their diet is beneficial.
Fermented foods can have health benefits, such as the provision of antioxidants. Numerous studies show that consuming antioxidants can help reduce the number of free radicals or harmful particles circulating through the body.
However, the American Diabetes Association lists pickled foods as high in sodium and says people should eat them in moderation.
Some pickled foods that a person can add to their diet in moderation are:
A person can also pickle vegetables and fruits at home, which means they can pickle almost any vegetable they want. Home pickling has some nutritional benefits as a person can control how much sodium or sugar they use in making the pickled foods.
If home pickling is not an option, a person should look for pickled foods that:
- low in sodium
- little sugar
People with diabetes should speak to their doctor about the best diet change based on their situation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that a person follow a nutrition plan based on the following criteria:
- individual taste
Although a eating plan can vary, they recommend a person eat the following:
- mostly whole foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains
- starch-free vegetables like broccoli, spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, green beans, and other leafy greens
- less sugar and refined grains like white bread, pasta, baked goods and candy
Find out more about the best foods for people with diabetes here.
People with diabetes should aim to limit foods high in sugar and processed carbohydrates. These foods can quickly raise a person’s blood sugar levels and are generally not beneficial for anyone’s health.
Some foods that you should avoid include:
- Energy drinks
- flavored milk
- Sports drinks
- sweetened tea
- fruit juice
- normal lemonade
In addition, a person should limit the following foods:
- ice cream
- white pasta, white bread, and other processed carbohydrates
A person with type 2 diabetes can consume cucumbers in moderation as part of their diet. You may find that the cucumber vinegar helps control your blood sugar levels.
A person should look for low-sodium and sugar-free varieties to reduce their sodium intake and prevent blood sugar spikes.
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What’s the Best Diet for Runners? Nutrition Tips and More
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