Tag Archives: dietary fiber

Dr. Joe Galati Discusses Colonoscopy: Instructions for our Patients

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Thirty-One Days of Wellness: A Recap of the Month

During the month of January, Chuck Garcia and I posted 31 entries to reflect a broad range of topics related to health and wellness – topics that you can review for the entire year. To make them easily accessible, I have re-posted them on a single blog entry. Enjoy them again, and share them with your friends and family.

Day 1
A New Year, a New You

Day 2
Eating Salad for Breakfast

Day 3
Navigating the Grocery Store: Inner vs Outer Isles

Day 4
Foods Never to Eat 

Day 5
Foods Healing Power

Day 6
The Low Down on Wheat

Day 7
Gym Rules 

Day 8
Charles Barkley and Weight Watchers 

Day 9
Blueberries: A Superfood to Love

Day 10
Benefits of Coconuts 

Day 11
It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature

Day 12
Adding Eggplant to Your Diet

Day 13
Wondering About WonderBread 

Day 14
How Bad is Read Meat: Dr. Galati and Matt Patrick KTRH Radio 

Day 15
The Value of Cross-Training

Day 16
MLK Holiday: Off

Day17
Talking Health and Wellness

Day 18
Ultimate Abdominal Exercise 

Day 19
Zucchini: Another Food to Love

Day 20
Beach Body 10-Minute Trainer

Day 21
Exuberant Animal 

Day 22
Dan Campolieta: Number 1 Meal: Breakfast

Day 23
Salad Dressing: Olive Oil and Vinegar 

Day 24
Beets: Good Nutrition

Day 25
Cuisinart Hand Mixer

Day 26
Health Benefits of Boxing

Day 27
Strength Training: Benefits of Lifting Heavy Things 

Day 28
Frozen Fruits and Vegetables: Dr. Galati Explains

Day 29
Paleo Playground: Chuck Garcia Explains

Day 30
Paleo Playground: Part 2

Day 31
Healthy Recommendations and Books We Like

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Top 10 Tips for a High Fiber Diet

Top 10 Tips for a High Fiber Diet

40 Grams per Day

There is not a day that passes where I do not have a detailed conversation with my patients regarding the value of a high fiber diet. Diets high in fiber will help keep off unwanted weight, allow for regular bowel movements, control cholesterol, and help normalize blood sugar values. Because of the highly processed foods that we are lured into eating, it is difficult to find foods high in fiber. High fiber foods are unprocessed. They are found in their natural form, the way they were meant to eat. Period. Maintaining a diet high in dietary fiber does require work, as well as meal planning.  Knowing what foods are high in fiber is the first step towards your dietary fiber rehabilitation journey. 

People love to say “they already eat lots of dietary fiber” when I quiz them on their diet history. On detailed analysis, they are incorrect and fall short of the 35-40 grams of fiber I recommends daily. Unfortunately, bran muffins from Starbucks is a poor choice for fiber in the morning. Below I have listed the ten tips to reach your fiber goals. 

  1. Know Foods High in Fiber: the heavy hitters of dietary fiber include cooked lentils (15.5 g per cup), black beans (15 g per cup), pinto beans (14.7 per cup), lima beans (13.16 per cup), kidney beans (11.33 g per cup), chickpeas (12.46 g per cup), navy beans (11.65 g per cup), soybeans (10.32 g per cup), and cooked barley (13.60 g per cup). Understanding these foods, and making them a part of your regular diet is an excellent first step. Keep in mind that beans can be consumer for breakfast, as well as lunch, dinner, and as a snack. Consuming a couple of servings of beans per day will make your goal that much easier at reach.
  2. Do Not Rely on Fiber Supplements: taking one of a dozen fiber supplements is ok, but do not get duped into the sense that this is a significant contribution to your daily totals. Metamucil powder contributes between 3 grams of fiber per serving. In pill form, 2 to 6 fiber capsules provide 1 to 3 grams of fiber. While this is fine, keep in mind there is no additional nutritional value to what you just swallowed. One orange provides the same 3 grams of fiber, but with a whole heck of a lot more nutrition and antioxidants. Citrucel, another popular dietary supplement, is similar to Metamucil. These are fine products, and I recommend their use. The point is not to be fooled that this is the sole source of your fiber. Think of it as a small contribution to the big picture.
  3. Eat Fiber One Cereal in the Morning: the original version will provide 14 grams of fiber in each serving. This is excellent. Under their brand name, they have marketed an assortment of other Fiber One products. The problem I have is that if you follow this path, you’ll be consuming additional highly processed, sweetened foods you don’t need. Get their cereal, and get out of Dodge.
  4. Meal Plan: Every Sunday evening, I do my best, with my wife, to plan out the upcoming week, and the meals we plan to make. Making sure you have enough fruits and vegetables, and how you will put them all together, take about 10 minutes of planning. Salads, brown rice, and other high fiber components need to be secured from the start. Trying to figure out meals on the fly never works. The temptation to eat out or order in is far too tempting when you’re not prepared. Look at each meal and consider not only the global nutritional value, but keep an eye on the fiber. Build meals around the fiber content, and if your remain true to these concepts, you will be eating well balanced, nutritious food.
  5. Second Tier Fiber Foods:besides the beans listed in #1, knowing the fiber content of “rest of the food” is equally important. People are surprised at the sometime lack of fiber they believe are in certain foods. Commit this list to memory. Most fruits are a good to excellent source of fiber. Raspberries contain 8.34 g per cup, but cranberries only have 1.99 g per cup. Strawberries come in with a respectable 3.31 g per cup. Kiwifruit each provide 2.58 grams, while blueberries, fully of nutrition, contribute 3.92 grams in a cup. On the vegetable front, turnip greens have 5.04 g per cooked cup, while cauliflower contains 3.35 g per cup. Broccoli (4.68 per cup), collard greens (5.32 g per cup), swiss chard (3.68 g per cup), cabbage (3.45 g per cup), spinach (4.32 g per cup), eggplant (2.48 g per cup), winter squash (5.74 g per cup), carrots (3.66 g per cup), and yams (5.30 g per cup) round out the list.
  6. Eat Brown Rice: brown rice is far less processed that polished white rice. Milling of rice, that turns it white, removes 67% of vitamin B3, 80% of vitamin B1, and 90% of vitamin B6. Manganese and phosphorus is lost by half, plus 60% of the iron. All of the dietary fiber is lost as well. Brown rice is an excellent source of manganese, selenium, and magnesium. Clinical studies have been performed showing the diets high in brown rice will reduce cholesterol, as well as your risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes. One cup of brown rice provides 3.5 grams of fiber per cup.
  7. Oatmeal: most people have an affection for oatmeal. Oatmeal should be a regular component of your diet, full of nutrients and fiber. Original Quaker Oats, as well as their Steel Cut version, will provide between 4-5 g per serving. I always recommend staying away from any instant version of the foods. Added chemicals and processing remove the natural nutritional value.
  8. Go Nuts:as previously noted in earlier postings by Chuck Garcia, nuts are nutritious as well as a good source of fiber. One ounce of almonds (about 23 nuts) provides 3.5 grams of fiber. Pistachio and pecans provide 2.9 g per ounce. Nuts can be a fatty food, but contain the good fats. Eat nuts, but don’t devour nuts by the fist full. For years, there was the the feeling that nuts should be avoided if you had diverticulosis or diverticulitis. This has been overturned, and once again nuts are OK to eat if you have this condition.
  9. Putting it All Together: with all this knowledge, what are you supposed to do now? The answer is make a diet plan. I have constructed a few sample plans that you can follow, substituting one food for another, now that you know their fiber content.
    1. Breakfast 1:  Fiber Once cereal (14 g), one-half cup of blueberries (2 g), two slices of whole wheat toast (4 g): total 20 grams
    2. Breakfast 2: Oatmeal (4 g), cup of strawberries (3.31 g), Metamucil (3 g), one apple (3.37 g): total 13.68 grams
    3. Lunch 1: one apple (3.37 g), two slices whole wheat bread (with a meat) (4 g), salad (approximately 5 g), 2 vegetables (10 g), almonds (3.5 g): total 25.87 grams
    4. Lunch 2: cup raspberries (8.34 g), half cup brown rice (1.75 g), half cup black beans (7.5 g), 2 vegetables (10 g): total: 27.59 grams
    5. Dinner  : salad (5 g), 2 vegetables (10 g), half cup brown rice (1.75 g), half cup strawberries (1.6 g), cup cantaloupe (1.28 g), half cup pinto beans (7 g): total: 26.63 grams
  10. Are You Kidding Me?: The above examples consists of fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grains, and rice. Nothing out of  box, bag, can, or microwave. Yes, it is a lot of fruit, but we are supposed to eat 5-6 servings per day. Yes, this is a lot of vegetables, but we are supposed to eat 5-6 servings of vegetables everyday. We have been programmed to a a piece of fruit here, and a veggie there. To get the 35-40 grams of fiber we all need, you have to have a diet that mirrors what is listed above.

There are numerous resources on the web to learn about these fruits and vegetables, and how to prepare them in a flavorful fashion. Boiled carrots are the pits, and I’d push them away too. Read, educate, plan, and experiment. You can reach these goals. Let me know what you think.

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How Can I Have Diverticulosis?

How Can I Have Diverticulosis?

While this blog is indeed dedicated to the liver, I always promised that I would add additional topics of interest, including digestive health. Regardless of what your health status is, a finely tuned gut will always be beneficial.  In my own liver practice, it is a daily ritual to discuss diet and digestive health. Specifically, the role of dietary fiber. While a longer discussion of fiber will follow, the issue at hand now is what happens when you don’t have enough fiber in the diet?

The most common ailment of a low fiber diet is diverticulosis. Many people have small pouches in their colons that bulge outward through weak spots, like an inner tube that pokes through weak places in a tire. Each pouch is called a diverticulum. Pouches (plural) are called diverticula. The condition of having diverticula is called diverticulosis. About 10 percent of Americans over the age of 40 have diverticulosis. The condition becomes more common as people age. About half of all people over the age of 60 have diverticulosis.

When the pouches become infected or inflamed, the condition is called diverticulitis. This happens in 10 to 25 percent of people with diverticulosis. In this setting, there is pain, fever, bleeding and the risk of serious infections as well as perforation of the colon. This is a true medical and surgical emergency.

Symptoms of diverticulosis range from none, to chronic left sided, lower abdominal pain. In many cases, a history of constipation is also reported. For some, they are given the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome.

I have posted one of the best video images of diverticulosis I have ever captured. This short clip recorded a few weeks ago clearly shows what happens with diverticulosis. Food and stool get trapped inside these pouches. The pouches get irritated and infected, causing pain and all of the other complications. Through the colonoscope, I bombarded this particular spot until the stool was washed free. It took a few minutes of close irrigation to push it free. There was a big sigh in the room from the nurses once this little bit of stool was freed.

I recommend 35 to 40 grams of dietary fiber daily. Here is a link to get started looking at fiber content in foods. It takes work but very much worth it in the end.

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