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What if I told you there’s a magical nutrient out there that can help you lose weight, keep your blood sugar healthy, and reduce your chance of heart attack? Oh yeah, it also helps you have the best, most regular dumps of your life. 

Well, dear reader, this magical nutrient is real. It’s dietary fiber. And chances are you’re not getting enough of it.

Read on for the glorious benefits of roughage and how to start eating more this year. 

What Is Fiber?

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is found in plant-based foods. Unlike other carbohydrates, fiber cannot be fully digested by the body. Instead, it passes through the digestive system largely intact, providing various health benefits along the way.

There are two main types of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. 

Soluble Fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in the colon. This type of fiber can help slow digestion, leading to a feeling of fullness and aiding in weight management. The gel-like substance that soluble fiber forms helps the stuff in your colon slide out nice and easy. Good sources of soluble fiber include oats, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and certain fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, apples, strawberries, peas, and potatoes.

Insoluble Fiber. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It adds bulk to your stool and acts as a brush in your colon to push things along in your intestinal tract, helping to keep your digestive system regular. Insoluble fiber can be found in the skins and peels of fruits and vegetables, legumes, and whole grains like wheat bran, whole wheat bread, whole grain couscous, and brown rice.

The Benefits of Fiber 

Fiber comes with many health benefits, which is why doctors and your mom encourage you to increase your intake of it.

Supports Weight Loss. If you’re trying to lose weight, increasing fiber consumption will help out a lot. Like protein, fiber promotes satiety, or a feeling of fullness. When you eat more fiber, you’ll experience hunger less often.

Soluble fiber, in particular, slows digestion, keeping you satiated for longer periods. What’s more, high-fiber foods tend to be less energy-dense, meaning they provide fewer calories for the same volume of food compared to low-fiber options. Two hundred calories of fruits and vegetables occupy more space in your tum-tum than 200 calories of Devil Dog. 

Regulates Blood Sugar. We’ve talked about insulin resistance and all the bad health outcomes that come with it on the podcast. Besides increasing exercise, one of the best things you can do to stave off insulin resistance is upping your fiber intake. One study found that increasing your fiber intake to 30-40 grams daily can reduce your risk of insulin resistance and developing type 2 diabetes by 20-30%.

Fiber helps regulate blood sugar by slowing down the digestion and absorption of dietary carbohydrates. Instead of having glucose spikes after you eat a meal with carbs, fiber puts a brake on things so your blood sugar stays in a healthier range.

Makes You a “Regular” Guy. Man, nothing feels better than having a daily constitutional. And nothing helps you have regular poops like fiber. 

Both soluble and insoluble fiber work together to keep you regular. Insoluble fiber gives your stool bulk and helps keep things moving along the tubes of your digestive tract; soluble fiber forms a gel that keeps your stool slick so you don’t have to strain when you take care of business. 

Supports Heart Health. Soluble fiber can help lower LDL cholesterol levels (aka the “bad cholesterol”) by binding to cholesterol in the digestive tract and preventing it from hitting your bloodstream. If you want to keep the ol’ ticker healthy, ask for an extra serving of veggies. 

Supports a Healthy Microbiome. There’s a lot of talk these days about “gut health.” When people mention gut health, they’re talking about your gut microbiome. This is a community of good bacteria that lives inside your digestive system and helps digest food as it passes through your body. Besides aiding digestion, our gut microbiome plays a vital role in our immune system. The gut microbiome has also been shown to affect our mental health. Studies have demonstrated a connection between the health of your microbiome and depression. 

You can increase your gut health by increasing the fiber in your diet. That’s because fiber acts as a prebiotic in your digestive system. Think of prebiotics as food for the healthy bacteria in your gut. When you increase your intake of fibrous food, you’re giving your gut bacteria the food it needs to aid your digestion, strengthen your immune system, and improve your mood. 

How Much Fiber Do You Need?

The American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association recommend that adults get 25 to 38 grams of fiber daily. The USDA recommends consuming 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you consume. So, if you eat 2,500 calories a day, you should aim to get 35 grams of fiber per day. 

However, most individuals fall short of these recommendations. One survey found that only 5% of Americans meet the daily fiber consumption recommendation. The average intake is around 16 grams per day. 

Don’t Go Overboard on Fiber

Due to fiber’s ability to aid in weight loss, the temptation might exist to ratchet up your fiber consumption to the max. 

Hold on there, pardner. 

While fiber is good for you, too much is no bueno. First, overeating fiber can leave you feeling bloated, gassy, and uncomfortable. Second, because the body can’t break fiber down into glucose, it can’t contribute to muscle glycogen synthesis. Fiber can’t help fuel your muscles for heavy training sessions or other strenuous activities. 

So aim for the daily recommended amount. Slowly work your way up to it to get your body used to the extra fiber and avoid uncomfortable side effects. Each week, add a few more grams to your daily diet until you’re getting around 30 grams a day. Then level off. Going above that amount won’t give you much more benefit. 

How to Increase Your Fiber

If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you’re not getting enough fiber. Fortunately, it’s pretty dang easy to hit your daily recommended amount. 

Up your intake of fruits and vegetables. Not only do fruits and vegetables provide fiber, but they also offer lots of good-for-you micronutrients.

Think whole grains. Bran, oatmeal, barley, and whole wheat are all high in fiber. Oatmeal is my primary source of fiber. I eat it for breakfast and even at lunch and dinner. (Yes, you can eat oatmeal savory!)

I’ve also used bran cereals to hit my fiber goals. Just dump some in Greek yogurt for a high-fiber, high-protein breakfast. 

Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds provide both soluble and insoluble fiber in addition to protein, healthy fats, and other vitamins and minerals. Chia seeds have been my go-to fiber-rich seed. A tablespoon has 4 grams of fiber as well as a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids which is good for heart health. I just put some in my yogurt for a snack.

Beans. Beans are the musical fruit that makes you toot. They may cause flatulence, but they’re a quality source of fiber. Cook yourself a big pot of pinto beans for the week and eat them for breakfast with your eggs or put them on some nachos for dinner. 

Fiber wraps. Eating low-carb/high-fiber wraps is a really easy way to hit your daily fiber goal. My go-to high-fiber wrap is the Xtreme Wellness tortilla. One large wrap gives you a whopping 17 grams of fiber, thanks to the whole wheat and flax seed. If you’re aiming for 35 grams of fiber a day, that’s half of your daily fiber with one wrap! Talk about bang for your buck. I scramble eggs and egg whites with a little cheese, put it in the wrap, and eat that for breakfast every day. (Here’s why I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every single day.)

Fiber supplements. If you increase the amount of the foods you consume from the above list, you should easily hit your daily fiber goals. If you’re still coming up short, consider supplementing with a fiber supplement. Most fiber supplements consist of either soluble or insoluble fiber. Either one is fine, but if you have an issue with bowel regularity, go with an insoluble fiber supplement. If your stool is hard, go with a soluble fiber to make it easier to pass. If you’re looking for a good overall fiber supplement, psyllium husk fits the bill; it’s mostly soluble fiber, but does have a bit of insoluble fiber, too. 

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By: Brett & Kate McKay
Title: You Need to Eat More Fiber
Sourced From: www.artofmanliness.com/health-fitness/health/you-need-to-eat-more-fiber/
Published Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2024 18:48:10 +0000

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Mens Health

The Future of Men’s Mental Health

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Part 1 — Men and Mental Health, What Are We Missing?

I have been interested in men’s mental, emotional, and relational health for a long time. When I was five years old my mid-life father became increasingly irritable, angry, and depressed because he felt he couldn’t support our family, my mother and me, doing the work he loved. In desperation he took an overdose of sleeping pills to stop the pain. Fortunately, he didn’t die, but our lives were never the same. He was committed to Camarillo State Mental Hospital.

My father had been an actor in New York and moved to California with the hopes of working in the emerging movie and television industry. But like many creative artists of the period he ran into the “red scare,” was blacklisted, and couldn’t find work. His time in the mental hospital only made him worse. I grew up wondering what happened to my father, when it would happen to me, and how I could prevent it from happening to other families.

After graduating from college I was accepted into U.C. San Francisco Medical School with hopes of becoming a psychiatrist. I hoped to learn and develop the skills to help men like my father as well as the families who love them. However, medicine, at the time, was too restrictive for me and I transferred to U.C. Berkeley where I earned my Master of Social Work Degree. My initial interest focused on addiction medicine, but I soon expanded my work to include Gender-Specific Medicine and men’s health. I later returned to school and earned a PhD in International Health. My dissertation research was published as a book: Male vs. Female Depression: Why Men Act Out and Women Act In.

Following the birth of our first son, Jemal, in 1969 and daughter, Angela, in 1972, I launched MenAlive.com as my window to the world to house my books, articles, and on-line programs. I’ve had seventeen books published including international best-sellers Male Menopause and The Irritable Male Syndrome: Understanding and Managing the 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression, as well as trend-setting books including Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Overcoming Romantic and Sexual Addictions, The Warrior’s Journey Home: Healing Men, Healing the Planet, Stress Relief for Men, and Long Live Men! The Moonshot Mission to Heal Men, Close the Lifespan Gap, and Offer Hope to Humanity.

The field of gender-specific healing and men’s mental health has grown considerably since I began in 1972. I estimate that there are now at least a thousand organizations that focus on various aspects of men’s health. In 2021, I invited several colleagues who were doing great work to join me in what I called my Moonshot Mission for Mankind and Humanity. We began meeting monthly to get to know each other, share ideas, and create an on-line hub to bring individuals and organizations together to help men live fully healthy lives.

            With the help and support of one of our founding members, Joe Conrad, Founder and CEO of Man Therapy, we developed a website and introductory film at MoonshotforMankind.com.  I believe that men are both the “canaries in the coalmine” alerting us to the problems faced by humanity and also they are the key players in solving the problems that undermine the health of all. The Moonshot site shares our vision and call to connect:

“The journey to heal humanity has begun.”

Our Moonshot vision can be summarized simply:

“We believe man’s mental, emotional, and relational health is the key to empowering men to live long and well. Our mission is to help men live healthier, happier, more cooperative lives—fulfilling lives of purpose and productivity, where men are supported and valued as they make positive contributions to their families, friends, and communities. When that happens, families grow stronger, communities prosper, and humanity takes its next leap forward.”

Men and Mental Health: What Are We Missing?

            According to report by Derek M. Griffith, PhD, Ayo Ogunbiyi, MPH, and Emily Jaeger, MPH at Georgetown University’s Center for Men’s Health Equity,

Men aren’t the problem. The way that we — society as a whole and health care providers specifically — treat them is.”

In an April 2, 2024 article titled “Men and mental health: What are we missing?,” they detail a number of important issues that we often fail to address including the following:

  • It is time that primary care physicians, mental health service providers, and policymakers look critically at the accuracy and utility of their assumptions and explanations for men’s rates of depression, anxiety, burnout, substance abuse, and other common mental health conditions.
  • 40% of men with a reported mental illness received mental health care services in the past year, compared with 52% of women with a reported mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the crisis of men’s mental health.
  • The uncertainty of the pandemic, loneliness from social distancing, financial stresses, relationship challenges, and other contextual factors contributed to increased rates of men having difficulty sleeping, alcohol and substance use, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
  • Traditionally, men are socialized to define their worth by their ability to contribute economically to a household. However, as the labor market has shifted away from traditionally male-dominated jobs, men must now redefine their worth outside of their employment, income, and home.
  • The notion of “precarious manhood,” which is the belief that manhood is an achieved social status that must be earned and constantly defended, means that men may feel it is their character — rather than their behavior — being judged during more tumultuous economic times.
  • Even when men seek care, that care often falls short. Data from Canada and the United States found that more than 60% of men who died by suicide had accessed mental health care services within the previous year.
  • When men do seek mental health care services, it is not uncommon for them to feel that providers mislabel and underestimate their needs, and that these providers do not seem to have a genuine interest in their problems.
  • The fact that men are diagnosed with depression at lower rates than women, despite their higher rates of suicide, substance use, and violent behavior, suggests that more could be done to improve the tools used to diagnose men with depression.
  • While some mental health care service providers may be gender sensitive and recognize the ways that aggressiveness, alcohol use, and risky behavior are part of the presenting symptoms men with depression may exhibit, there are few courses and trainings that focus on gender differences in mental health, potentially leading to mental health care service providers being less equipped to serve and offer gender-sensitive resources to men.

We need a new approach for addressing men’s mental health issues. In the second part of this series, I will address the reality that men’s mental health issues don’t just impact men. They impact everyone. If you’d like to read more articles like these, please visit me at MenAlive.com and receive our free newsletter with new articles and tools you can use to improve your mental, emotional, and relational health.

The post The Future of Men’s Mental Health appeared first on MenAlive.

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By: Jed Diamond
Title: The Future of Men’s Mental Health
Sourced From: menalive.com/the-future-of-mens-mental-health/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-future-of-mens-mental-health
Published Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2024 23:33:29 +0000

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Mens Health

Podcast #983: Grid-Down Medicine — A Guide for When Help Is NOT on the Way

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If you read most first aid guides, the last step in treating someone who’s gotten injured or sick is always: get the victim to professional medical help.

But what if you found yourself in a situation where hospitals were overcrowded, inaccessible, or non-functional? What if you found yourself in a grid-down, long-term disaster, and you were the highest medical resource available?

Dr. Joe Alton is an expert in what would come after the step where most first aid guides leave off. He’s a retired surgeon and the co-author of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Help is NOT on the Way. Today on the show, Joe argues that every family should have a medical asset and how to prepare to be a civilian medic. We discuss the different levels of first aid kits to consider creating, from an individual kit all the way up to a community field hospital. And we talk about the health-related skills you might need in a long-term grid-down disaster, from burying a dead body, to closing a wound with super glue, to making an improvised dental filling, to even protecting yourself from the radiation of nuclear fallout.

Resources Related to the Podcast

  • AoM Article: How to Use a Tourniquet to Control Major Bleeding
  • AoM Article: The Complete Guide to Making a DIY First Aid Kit
  • AoM Article: How to Suture a Wound
  • AoM Article: What Every Man Should Keep in His Car
  • AoM Article: Improvised Ways to Close a Wound
  • AoM Podcast #869: The Survival Myths That Can Get You Killed With Alone Winner Jim Baird

Connect With Joe Alton

  • Doom and Bloom website
  • Doom and Bloom on YouTube
  • Doom and Bloom on FB

Cover of "the survival medicine handbook," featuring a red first aid kit on a road under a stormy sky, by Joseph Alton MD and Amy Alton APRN.

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By: Brett & Kate McKay
Title: Podcast #983: Grid-Down Medicine — A Guide for When Help Is NOT on the Way
Sourced From: www.artofmanliness.com/health-fitness/health/podcast-983-grid-down-medicine-a-guide-for-when-help-is-not-on-the-way/
Published Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2024 12:37:37 +0000

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Mens Health

How to Become Successful at the Three Essential Marriages for Achieving a Great Life

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“Human beings are creatures of belonging which we achieve through three marriages. First, through relationship with other people and other things (particularly and very personally, to one other person in relationship or marriage); second, through work; and third, through an understanding of what it means to be themselves.” David Whyte, The Three Marriages: Reimaging Work, Self and Relationship.

For more than fifty years I have helped people achieve success in all three kinds of relationships. Like many I married young. My wife and I were together for ten years and had two children before our marriage broke up. After a time of pain and healing, I fell in love again, and remarried. Looking back, I can see that one was a rebound relationship and it too ended.

Endings are painful for everyone, but when you’re a marriage and family counselor who makes his living helping fix relationships, it is not only painful, but shameful as well. I talk about it on my website, MenAlive.com in an introductory video, “Confessions of a Twice-Divorced Marriage Counselor.” Fortunately, I got my own help, worked through unhealed trauma from my past, and learned what it truly takes to have a successful marriage. My wife, Carlin, and I have been happily married for forty-four years.

            We all want a life that is happy and joyful, but how to achieve success is not often clear and easy.

“If you have to make one life choice, right now, to set yourself on the path to future health and happiness, what would it be?”

This question was asked by two world-renowned social scientists, Robert Waldinger, MD and Marc Schulz, PhD.

Dr. Waldinger is professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Harvard Study on Adult Development. Dr. Schultz is the associate director. The Harvard Study is the longest scientific study of happiness ever conducted. It began in 1938 and offers the most scientifically supported guidance for achieving a great life.

The latest findings are reported in Waldinger’s and Schulz’s book, The Good Life: Lessons From The World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness. In a 2007 survey, millennials were asked about their most important life goals. Seventy-six percent said that becoming rich was their number one goal. Fifty percent said a major goal was to become famous. More than a decade later, after millennials had spent more time as adults, similar questions were asked again. Fame was now lower on the list, but top goals again included things like making money, having a successful career, and becoming debt-free.

            What does the data from thousands of interviews over eighty-six years tell us? If we want a great life what is the one thing that is more important than others? The answer can be stated in three simple words: Create Good Relationships.

“In fact, good relationships are significant enough that if we had to take all eighty-six years of the Harvard Study,”

say Drs. Waldinger and Schulz,

“and boil it down to a single principle for living, one life investment that is supported by similar findings across a wide variety of other studies, it would be this:

Good Relationships keep us healthier and happier. Period.”

The Three Marriages We Must Embrace to Have a Successful Life

            In his book The Three Marriages: Reimaging Work, Self and Relationship, David Whyte says,

“Despite our use of the word “marriage” only for a committed relationship between two people, “in reality everyone is committed consciously or unconsciously to three marriages.”

            Whyte goes on to say,

“There is that first marriage, the one we usually mean, to another; that second marriage, which can so often seem like a burden, to work or vocation; and that third and most likely hidden marriage to a core conversation inside ourselves. We can call these three separate commitments marriages because at their core they are usually lifelong commitments and, as I wish to illustrate, they involve vows made either consciously or unconsciously.”

For most of my life I tried to find a balance between my work life and my love life. The truth is that I was much better at work than I was at love. It is not surprising. I had my first job when I was seven years old. My father had left when I was five, committed to a mental hospital after taking an overdose of sleeping pills because he had become increasingly stressed and depressed because he couldn’t make a living to support my mother and me.

With my father gone, my mother had to find work outside the home. We had little money beyond what was needed for the essentials, so I learned early to work for anything I truly wanted. I got good at work, but like many who grew up without a father and mother at home, what I learned about having a healthy and happy married life was minimal and I was too busy hustling for my next job success to have time to wonder about what it meant to get to know my true self.

For too many of us we feel like we are going up and down on a teeter-totter with our work and love lives competing for our attention while our personhood often gets neglected and forgotten. David Whyte offers us all a great service when he suggests this basic reality:

“Each of those marriages, is at its heart, nonnegotiable. We should give up the attempt to balance one against another, of, for instance, taking away from work to give more time to a partner, or vice versa, and start thinking of each marriage conversing with, questioning, or emboldening the other two.”

            With the framework of the three marriages, we can ask ourselves where we might need improvement. Here’s a little scale I find useful.

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How would you rate yourself in all five areas? I feel successful in all five areas, but it has been a lifelong process of healing and learning. I still have a way to go yet, like all of us. My score was 24. How about yours?

Bringing It All Together

For me, I have come to see achieving success at the three marriages as a true hero’s journey, one that lasts a lifetime. My wife, Carlin, is part Native American. In our area, there are several women who weave beautiful baskets made out of local materials that grow in nature. A well-known basket weaver described a well-made basket as a metaphor for creating a great life.

            Here’s how she describes the process.

“Our life is a basket woven from many different strands, each essential for a strong container. Each part of our life is one strand in this basket.It’s impossible to weave multiple strands at the same time; we need to attend to the strand that requires our attention without losing awareness of the others. Every strand will get our attention—just not all at the same time. I know I give attention to where I am most needed, knowing that I will then move on to the next demand. The basket holds my life as I strengthen individual strands. I’m no longer on a teeter-totter—I am weaving my life into something whole and lovely.”

When I reflect on my own life, there are times when I must focus on my wife, Carlin, knowing that there are other parts of my life that will require my attention at another time. At other times, one of our five children or seventeen grandchildren all for my attention. Yet, I can’t ever forget my work and my commitment to my calling. Running through all these “strands of my basket” is my commitment to my deepest self, getting to know who I really am and learning to love the man I am with all my flaws as well as my gifts.

I have written about how I have integrated these strands in the books I have written. If you are interested in learning about me and my work, I recommend, Inside Out: Becoming My Own Man, 12 Rules for Good Men, and Long Live Men: The Moonshot Mission to Heal Men, Close the Lifespan Gap, and Offer Hope for Humanity.

If you want to learn more about me and my relationship life, I recommend The Enlightened Marriage: The 5 Transformative Stages of Relationship and Why the Best is Still to Come, My Distant Dad: Healing the Family Father Wound, and Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Overcoming Romantic and Sexual Addictions.

If you would like to take one of my on-line courses, I recommend:

Navigating the 5 Stages of Love.

Healing the Irritable Male Syndrome.

Healing the Family Father Wound.

If you would like to join our mission to improve the lives of men and their families, I recommend:

The Moonshot for Mankind and Humanity.

If you would like to do individual or couple counseling with me, drop me a note at Jed@MenAlive.com and put “Counseling” in the subject line. I will send you the information. If you would like to receive my free weekly newsletter with updates and new articles, you can sign up here.

The post How to Become Successful at the Three Essential Marriages for Achieving a Great Life appeared first on MenAlive.

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By: Jed Diamond
Title: How to Become Successful at the Three Essential Marriages for Achieving a Great Life
Sourced From: menalive.com/how-to-become-successful-at-the-three-essential-marriages/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-become-successful-at-the-three-essential-marriages
Published Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2024 20:02:04 +0000

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