Fall will come before we know it and one of the best things about the season is the food. It’s time to go to farm stalls to buy freshly roasted acorn squash halves, pick pumpkins, and drink back country cider. Seasonal eating has its advantages. Not only does food taste better when it’s in season, it can also unexpectedly help keep your intestines healthy.
Why is gut health so important?
First and foremost, why is gut health important? Our bodies are home to trillions of bacteria, collectively known as the microbiome. While bacteria can sound the alarm and think of a dirty kitchen counter, a lot of these bacteria are good. And there is a lot of that. We have around 40 trillion bacterial cells in our bodies and only 30 trillion human cells, and they are mostly found in our intestines and on our skin. And the thousands of types of bacteria that live in our gut are part of our gut microbiome.
Most of these microorganisms – “good” bacteria – are extremely important to our health and have been since the dawn of mankind. A large part of our immune system resides in our intestines. The way you take care of it can also affect how often you get sick during the flu season and year round. This is because a healthy gut bacteria population usually means a strong lining (lining of the gut) that helps keep harmful microbes at bay.
The more diverse the bacteria in your gut the better, and the variety of microbes can change depending on what you eat, where you live, whether you have pets, how much you move around, and more. And it turns out that eating in season can lead to better gut health. (Hello, fall. Take me to the apple orchard quickly.)
Studies have shown that groups that eat more seasonally tend to have a diverse gut microbiome. | istetiana / Getty
Wait, so can eating in season help keep your colon healthy?
Seasonal eating means eating foods that have peaked, typically around harvest time. To get the best feeling for the season, visit your local farmers market. In the fall, you will likely find an abundance of pumpkins and apples; Brussels sprouts and pears (or the rare pomegranate) in winter; Peas, radishes and rhubarb in spring and corn, zucchini, berries and stone fruits in summer.
A 2017 study of the Hadza people (a group of hunters and gatherers in Tanzania) found that their gut microbiome fluctuates seasonally. This is because their diet consists mainly of seasonal foods found in the forest. Researchers compared the Hadza people’s microbiome with hunter-gatherer groups in other countries, including Venezuela and Peru. Interestingly, the traditional hunter-gatherer groups had more diverse microbiomes in the rainy season, when berries are available, than in the dry season, when their diet was meat-heavy.
Lawrence David, an associate professor at Duke University who studies the microbiome, told NPR that this study “suggests that the changes in the microbiome observed in developed countries may not be permanent – that they are caused by changes in the Human nutrition could be reversible ”.
In other words, we can potentially improve our gut health by changing our diet.
It is true that on a Western diet, you can eat seasonally. But unfortunately, many of us don’t even eat enough fruits and vegetables. Compared to the Hadza in the study, the average Western diet is low in fiber and high in saturated fats and refined sugars. All of this, in one way or another, can result in a less diverse microbiome.
Long story short: eat your fruits and vegetables, and if possible, seasonally. Not only do foods taste better when in season, but they are also richer in nutrients, as foods that need to mature out of season (a common industry practice) have less time to absorb vitamins and minerals. Seasonal produce is also often cheaper, and if you are lucky enough to live near a farmers market, buy food that has a lower carbon footprint than products shipped across national and national borders.
So take a page from the Hadza playbook and try to adapt your diet to the seasons by emphasizing seasonal produce and local foods to protect your microbes and give them the support they need to really thrive. Here’s how you can eat seasonally to maintain your gut health in the fall:
Eat prebiotic foods
Prebiotics are a type of fiber that nourishes the good bacteria in your intestines and helps your digestive system function better. Our body cannot digest this fiber. Instead, they migrate to our lower digestive tract, where they feed our microbiome.
Many foods are considered prebiotics. In the fall, opt for seasonal products such as apples, Jerusalem artichokes and cabbage. Choose organic products if they are accessible to you. One study found that organic products contain more diverse bacteria than their conventional counterparts. Onions, garlic, and shallots are also prebiotics, as are hearty legumes that make stews and curries warm, such as chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans. Add high fiber carbohydrates to your meal by building a recipe around prebiotic grains like oats (try our easy overnight cinnamon apple oatmeal) and barley.
You can also get prebiotics through dietary supplements.
Eating fermented foods is one of the most famous ways to keep your gut healthy and happy. | Marta Dzedyshko / Pexels
… and probiotic foods. (Ferment, ferment, ferment!)
The process of fermentation has been used by humans for millennia and the foods are incredibly diverse. Fermented foods that are loaded with good, probiotic bacteria are easier to digest. They also make it easier for our body to absorb nutrients. Because they contain probiotics, fermented foods are also good for our intestines.
Finding fermented foods is easy. Sauerkraut, sourdough bread and non-dairy yogurt are some of the most common types you can find in supermarkets. And probiotic drinks like kombucha are growing in popularity. You might also find kimchi, miso, and tempeh.
But if you have the bandwidth, it’s worth making your own.
Lower your sugar intake
One study found that consuming lots of refined sugar can result in fewer types of good bacteria living in your gut. This can lead to inflammation over time. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to deny yourself the occasional sweet treat. Just think about your sugar intake. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2020-2025 recommend that added sugar make up less than 10 percent of your daily caloric intake.
Eating whole grains on a regular basis is another way to keep your intestines healthy. | Westend61 / Getty
Get the whole grains
Whole grains are the grains with all three parts intact: the endosperm, the germ, and the bran. This is in contrast to refined grains that only have the endosperm. Whole grain products are rice, barley, oats, teff, fonio, buckwheat and quinoa. Whole grain noodles and noodles also often contain servings of whole grain products. Studies have shown that people who regularly consume whole grains have a more diverse gut microbiome.
Move your body
If the weather changes, so could your exercise program. (Say goodbye to the outdoor runner I’ll never be.) But exercising regularly can also help your gut. A review of studies found that low-intensity exercise (physical activity that keeps your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes). Staying outdoors can also enrich microbial diversity and reduce inflammation. Pick a routine that you enjoy, be it biking, jogging, hiking, yoga, weight lifting, or whatever gets you moving.
Do Grains Go Bad? Yes, But They Don’t Have To
AAre you someone who goes to the grocery store every time you want to eat pasta or rice, or do you stay stocked with your favorite cereal forever? If you’re resonating with the latter, we have some news that may have shocked you: grain goes bad – but how quickly it happens is up to you.
“Grains have a longer shelf life than most foods, which makes them one of the best foods to stock up on at home,” says New York-based nutritionist Jennifer Maeng of Chelsea Nutrition in Manhattan, noting that she has one Offer range of health benefits.
“Compared to refined grains, whole grains contain all parts: bran, endosperm and germs. If all these parts of the grain are left intact, they will be rich in nutrients such as B vitamins, minerals, fiber, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants, phytochemicals, healthy fats, vitamin E, carbohydrates and proteins. “
Of these nutrients, she says the most notable is fiber. “The fiber contained in whole grain products slows down the breakdown of starch into glucose and thus prevents a high rise in blood sugar,” says Maeng. “Constant increases in blood sugar can negatively affect your energy levels, weight, and general health.”
Now that you know the benefits of storing grain in your kitchen, it is time to see the cons, too. Grains actually spoil and, thanks to their typical storage, can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Read on to find out more.
Does Grain Go Bad?
According to Maeng, the reason grain goes bad is because it is often stored incorrectly. With that in mind, she says grain should be stored in airtight containers (like OXO’s Good Grips POP storage containers) in a cool, dry environment.
“Whole grains can usually be stored (dry) for up to six months,” she says, noting that they can be kept for up to a year in the freezer. “Cooked whole grains can be stored in the refrigerator for four days and in the freezer for six months.”
Of all the grains there is, Maeng says that pasta, barley, brown rice, spelled, wheat, corn, farro, and rye are among the grains with the longest shelf life when dry.
And then there is white rice. “When properly (dry) stored, white rice can be stored for 25 to 30 years,” says Maeng. “As a study has shown, polished rice does not spoil and retains its nutritional and flavor profile for up to 30 years.”
Signs that your grains have gone bad
As with most foods, Maeng says you know your grains are spoiled if you notice a change in color, smell, or texture. “They tend to degrade in environments with a lot of humidity, heat, and temperature fluctuations,” she adds.
Speaking of changes in humidity and temperature, grains can serve as an abundant source of foodborne contaminants, according to the National Institutes of Health. “Unfortunately, whole grains usually have more pollutants than refined cereals, but they contain more nutrients that can combat these pollutants,” says Maeng. “The National Institutes of Health emphasize that despite an increased risk of contamination, the benefits of consuming whole grains outweigh the risk of contamination.”
Proper storage of grain
Remember: The best way to avoid spoilage and foodborne contamination is to properly store your grain. While dry and cooked grains require different storage solutions, Maeng says that “both uncooked and cooked grains should not be stored in environments with temperature changes, as this creates condensation and increases the risk of food contamination growth.”
That said, learn how to store your grains below.
As mentioned earlier, airtight containers and dry, cool environments are best for dry grain storage.
“The best temperature for storage is 40 ° F,” adds Maeng, noting that rice stored at 70 ° F (with the help of oxygen absorbers) can be stored for years.
Cooked grains, on the other hand, have a much shorter shelf life. “Cooked grains that are stored in the refrigerator should be used within a few days, ideally three,” says Maeng, noting that they can be kept in the freezer for up to six months. “The shelf life of already cooked grain is much shorter than that of uncooked grain due to the addition of water and its role in microbial growth.”
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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.
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