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Nutritional Issues

Apples and Oranges Welcome to
Apples and Oranges "

We're back!. But, just in case you didn't see the first "Apples and Oranges", we will briefly re-introduce ourselves and restate the purpose for "Apples and Oranges". "Apples" and "Oranges". (Net Names) are by profession, Registered Dietitians. We created "Apples and Oranges", the Title of our articles, with the mission to inform you of nutritional issues and provide you with information to help you make intelligent decisions. Our main goals are for you to enjoy eating and remain healthy.

The current topic is Fiber, Foods, and Fluids for Fitness

We all know that as we become older, we tend to slow down a little--we walk rather than run, we find it a little harder to bend and reach our toes, and we often say we can't do as much as we used to. Along with the aging process often times our digestive tract slows down. It doesn't seem to work as well as before and we may tend to have increased constipation and irregularity. We need information to help our digestive tract work better and more efficiently.

There are many common and simple things you can do to help your digestive tract do a better job for you. And we suggest that you start at the beginning. First, you need to think about how you eat. How we chew and swallow are important. Ask yourself, does your teeth and/or dentures allow you to chew your food properly? Is your mouth sore or is there discomfort or pain with chewing or swallowing? If you have a problem eating due to difficulty with chewing, swallowing or discomfort or pain, you may want to consider visiting your dentist or physician.

Next, let's discuss fiber and it's role in helping us keep fit.

The publicity and attention the word Fiber has received in recent years could fill volumes of books and magazines. Fiber is the coarse, indigestible part of certain foods., and is also known as bulk and roughage. What we found very interesting, when consulting the dictionary, the words "bulk" and "roughage" referred us to fiber. Fiber, when eaten, stimulates intestinal peristalsis and that, in turn, assists us in moving food waste or fecal matter from the intestines to the bowel for elimination. Fiber helps in maintaining regularity and helps prevent constipation.

It is recognized that for some people, high fiber foods are hard on their digestive tract and may not agree with their stomach, colon, or bowel. That could pose a problem. Please, read on we will include suggestions on ways to get fiber with minimal digestive problems.

The best sources of fiber are found in fruits, vegetables and whole grain breads and cereals. Fresh and dried fruits are excellent sources of fiber. Some contain more fiber than others. Fruits with the highest amounts include Apples , Bananas, Nectarines, Oranges, Pears, Prunes, Raisins, and Raw Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, and Raspberries, Dried fruits include Apples, Apricots, Prunes and Figs. Canned fruits contain a lot of fiber, maybe not as much as their fresh counterpart, but, we also recommend them as well as fruit juice. For good nutrition and eating for fitness, we remind you that the Food Guide Pyramid recommends that we eat two to four servings per day from the Fruit Group.

If you can't chew or tolerate fresh or canned fruits, there are alternatives. Try fruit juices. Prune juice and orange juice with pulp are good sources. Having problems with high fiber juices? Try diluting them with water. Remember, juice is a fluid and fluids are essential for making the digestive tract work. More to come about fluids later on.

Vegetables - fresh and cooked contain fiber. Vegetables highest in fiber are Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Corn, Parsnip, Peas, Potato with skin, Spinach, and Lima Beans. All vegetables have some fiber and vegetables contain important vitamins and minerals so please, for your health, eat veggies! The Food Guide Pyramid recommends that we eat three to five servings per day from the Vegetable Group.

Salads made from fruits and vegetables - an excellent choice!

Legumes are extremely high in fiber, and the figures for Baked Beans are highest on the list. Good news for New Englanders. Other legumes are cooked kidney beans and navy beans,(other New England favorites), dried peas, lima beans. and lentils.

Breads and Cereals play a big part in supplying fiber. Consider whole grain and dark breads such as whole grain wheat, cracked wheat and pumpernickel bread. We suggest that you try some of the new multi-grain and other high fiber breads for variety. Most are tasty, and you may find they are a good substitute for white bread. (You may wish to check the manufacturer labels for fiber content).

Whole grain cereals, and cereals made with bran such as All Bran, Bran Buds, and Raisin-Bran have high amounts of fiber. Wheat Germ is another excellent source.

Pastas and Rice also contain fiber. Have you eaten whole wheat spaghetti, or dark or wild rice? Think about purchasing them the next time you go grocery shopping. The Food Guide Pyramid is extremely generous with the daily number of servings for the Bread, Cereal, Rice and Pasta Group. The number of servings recommended are six to eleven.

Fluids are essential for regularity as well as for general good nutrition and good health.. Fluids aid in the digestion of foods and the elimination of waste from the body. Water is probably the most common fluid we drink and our bodies should have six to eight glasses a day. If you have increased your fiber in your meals, you must also increase your fluid intake, in particular, your water intake. Fluids are needed to assist the fiber to move through the intestines. colon and bowel.

Another helpful hint is to plan regular meal times.

Exercise - another popular word in the health field today! Yes, we recommend exercise. Now, we're not suggesting you run 5 miles a day! But there are some simple exercises you can do. Walking is one. But let's look at some alternatives – Some you can do sitting down. Move your hands and arms from the front to the side, several times in a brisk-type movement. Try it, you can feel your muscles move. Try raising your arms over your head, and do this a few times. Bet you'll feel the effect of the exercise! You can move your legs up and down. Here's two exercises you can do sitting down. Now, try bending, at your waist, bend down and up, remember, your sitting, but do it slowly, we don't want you to become dizzy. We're sure you can come up with some exercises suitable for you. We encourage you to experiment and design your own exercise program.

For residents in long-term care facilities, or if your family member or friend is in a long-term care facility, we urge you to speak to the Registered Dietitian to plan your meals to include more fluids and high fiber foods. You may ask the Food Service Director for additional fruit juices, fruits or vegetables at meals. You may wish to include a high fiber cereal for breakfast. Discuss the possibility of the facility adding bran muffins and other high fiber items to the menus. Think about asking for juice for between meals, and ask nursing to arrange for water to be available to you upon request. We recommend you attend the activities programs in your facility. Often times they offer some type of exercise. Walk the hallways of your unit. Consider eating your meals in the dining room, and walk to the dining room for meals.

Our Best to You and Consider Fiber, Food and Fluids for Your Health and Fitness.
Bye for now. See you next time on the Net

'Til then---HAPPY EATING

Apples and Oranges

Information was obtained from the "Diet Manual for Long Term Care", Massachusetts. Dietetic Association, 1993, and "Exchange Lists", American Diabetes Association, Inc. and :The American Dietetic Association, 1986, and The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed from InfoSoft International, Inc.

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