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Why Eat More Fiber and Whole Foods?

Why Eat More Fiber and Whole Foods?

We’ve all heard many times that eating a diet rich in fiber and whole foods is good for us, but why? Is it merely because it keeps us, ahem, regular?  Well actually, the benefits of fiber and whole foods diet are a lot more than merely aiding digestive health. Here’s more on the benefits of fiber and whole foods.

What is Fiber?

Fiber is the part of plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and beans) that passes through the body undigested. Because of this, eating fibrous rich whole foods keeps your digestive system clean and in good working order. Fiber flushes out cholesterol and harmful carcinogens in addition to easing those bowel movements. In general, the more unprocessed the food, the higher it is in fiber which is why eating a diet rich in whole foods is greatly beneficial.

It’s important to understand that there are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble.

Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble does not dissolve in water -- the type that helps prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber is found in whole foods such as whole grains, wheat cereals, and vegetables like carrots.

Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber as the name suggests does dissolve in water. Because of this it helps reduce cholesterol and control blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber is found in whole foods such as oatmeal, beans, barley, nuts, apples, citrus fruits, berries, and pears.

Benefits to Digestive Health

As noted, dietary fiber normalizes bowel movements. It does this by bulking up stools and making them easier to pass thus helping relieve and prevent both constipation and diarrhea. Eating plenty of fiber can also reduce your risk of gallstones, kidney stones, hemorrhoids, and relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Benefits for Weight Loss

Eating a diet rich in whole foods and fiber adds bulk to you meal and can aid weight loss since this bulk makes you feel fuller sooner. On top of this, fiber stays in the stomach longer than other foods, so that fullness stays with you making you feel satiated and likely to eat less. High-fiber, whole foods like vegetables and fruits are often low in calories, meaning you’re likely to consume less calories overall.

Benefits to Heart Health

Soluble fiber, in particular, can help improve your heart health. It can lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and reduce your risk for metabolic syndrome (risk factors linked to diabetes, coronary heart disease, and stroke). Fiber can also help to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and shed excess weight around the abdomen, or visceral fat, which has been shown to be the most dangerous area for weight gain.

Benefits to Blood Sugar Levels

Insoluble fiber from cereals can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. If you are already diabetic, it can improve your blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar.

Benefits for Cancer Prevention

Studies show that eating a high-fiber diet can help prevent colorectal cancer. There are also some links (though not all studies show this) between high-fiber diets and a lower risk for other digestive system cancers, such as stomach, mouth, and pharynx.

3 Reasons Why Eating Healthy Whole Foods Is the Best Diet

3 Reasons Why Eating Healthy Whole Foods Is the Best Diet

Most of us understand instinctively that natural, whole foods, without a ton of ingredients you can’t pronounce, are the best choice when it comes to a healthy diet. And yet so many of us all too often reach for the highly processed stuff out of sheer convenience.

Healthy whole foods are basically foods in their most natural state, for example, eating an apple versus apple juice or eating a baked potato rather than fries. While it’s not possible to eat whole foods the entire time - many healthy foods have to go through a degree of processing to be edible, for example I don’t think any of us fancy eating raw rice kernels - eating foods that have been through less intensive processing techniques is better for us because the vitamins, nutrients and minerals are left intact.

While it might seem harder to fit eating healthy whole foods into your schedule, here’s 3 reasons why eating them is worth the time investment…

You’ll Reduce Your Risk of Illness

The nutrients found in whole foods help keep your immune system strong and protect you from disease. Diets high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains are associated with reduced risks of diseases including many types of cancer, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. This is down to the fact that whole foods contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, the latter of which protect against cell damage.

The main problem with highly processed food is that many healthy nutrients are removed. When you refine whole grains for example, the bran and the coating are removed meaning you lose significant amounts of fiber and other nutrients. You may be tempted to think that certain types of processed foods that contain added fiber make up for this but in fact the final product is likely to be far less nutritious than the whole grains in their original state.

It’s An Easier and More Effective Way to Get The Right Balance of Nutrients
Nutritional science has come a long way since 1912 when Dr. Casmir Funk first coined the term “vitamins.”  Since then a multibillion dollar industry has sprung up based on telling us the different added vitamins, minerals, and supplements we should be taking to get our recommended daily allowances. But why drive yourself crazy trying to make sure you’re getting enough B12 or Omega 3 when the easiest way is eating a colorful variety of fruit, vegetables and whole grains? In fact, not only do whole foods give us a great selection of the nutrients we need without the brain ache, time and again they have been found to be more effective in producing favourable results than supplements.

You’ll Avoid Dangerous Additives

It’s not just what’s taken out of processed foods that makes them bad choices, but what’s been added in too.  And while you may be wary of the scary sounding additives with the fancy names, it’s actually the more familiar ones like sugar, trans fats, saturated fats, and salt that can cause the most damage.  Processed foods are often pumped full of these additives to make them taste delicious but they can have disastrous effects on your health resulting in weight gain and high blood pressure.

Luckily, making sure your diet is filled with whole foods needn’t be a chore. In fact, Jeca energy bars and energy cookies are made with high quality, whole foods and small batch techniques to ensure that with every convenient bite you get nutritional bang for your buck.



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