Surprising Fruits That Have Almost Zero Fiber

Most Americans need to get more fiber in their diets. According to the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, only 1 in 20 people in the U.S. eat enough fiber every day.

There are some people, however, that have the opposite problem. They have to limit certain types of fiber in their diet to prevent painful health problems. This can be very tricky because it means finding a careful balance between nutritious natural foods and low-fiber options.

Why Do Some People Need To Control Fiber Levels?

Fiber plays an important role in gut health and digestion, softening stool, lowering cholesterol levels and balancing blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, some health conditions are sensitive to fiber:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Ulcerative colitis (UC)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diverticulitis (an inflammatory condition of the colon)

Sometimes, your doctor will tell you to follow a low-fiber diet after surgery or before a colonoscopy. Make sure to ask your doctor before reducing the amount of fiber you eat.

What Kind of Fruit Is Low in Fiber?

The purpose of eating less fiber for a while is to give your colon a chance to rest and heal. After that, you can usually go back to eating a normal amount of fiber. Here are the best fruits to eat while following a low-fiber diet:

  • Watermelons: 0.8 g (1 cup)
  • Papayas: 2.5 g (1 cup)
  • Cantaloupes: 1.3 g (1 cup)
  • Peaches: 1.7 g (1 peach)
  • Plums: 1.0 g (1 plum)
  • Cherries: 1.3 g (10 cherries)
  • Nectarines: 2.2 g (1 nectarine)

Real fruit juices (not the concentrated stuff with added sugar) without pulp are another great source of vitamins. These juices have next to no fiber.

What Type of Fiber Should You Limit With IBS?

If you have IBS, you don’t need to rush to cut all fiber from your diet. It’s smart to talk to your doctor first. In reality, you may not need to cut many fruits or veggies out of your diet at all.

Fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water. It’s there to help your gut and smooth things out. People who have IBS need more soluble fiber, not less. Where can you get it?

  • Low-FODMAP veggies: Broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, fennel, bell peppers, avocados and olives
  • Low-FODMAP fruits: Bananas, blueberries, strawberries, lemons, limes, oranges, pineapples, kiwis, cantaloupes and honeydew melons
  • Cooked/sauteed greens: Bok choy, spinach, arugula, collard greens and cabbage

On the other hand, insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve; it’s the roughage that pushes waste through the intestines. For people who have IBS, insoluble fiber can sometimes trigger symptoms such as pain and bloating.

How Long Should You Follow a Low-Fiber Diet?

Normally, you should only limit fiber intake for as long as your doctor tells you. If you're recovering from a specific surgery, for example, you may follow a low-fiber diet for about a month. After that, go back to eating good levels of fiber so your digestive system stays happy and healthy.

In the case of IBS, it's not a question of following hard and fast rules. You need plenty of fiber normally, but you also want to avoid flareups. Usually, you need to discover which foods trigger problems personally and look for healthy alternatives. If you're sensitive to raspberries, eat cranberries or blueberries instead.

5 of the Biggest Coffee Myths Debunked!

For a long time, coffee was a guilty pleasure. Now, you can raise your head proudly and tell the whole world that you love coffee! Don't let these five coffee myths stop you from enjoying a cup of dark and delicious java.

Myth: Coffee Dehydrates You

Drinking more water is always a good thing, but your morning cup of joe isn’t responsible for dehydration. Coffee is a mild diuretic, which can make you go to the bathroom more, but the effect is so slight that it doesn’t make a noticeable difference. In case you were wondering, the water in coffee does count toward your goal of 2 liters of water per day.

Myth: Coffee Isn’t Healthy for You

Coffee is rich in antioxidants, nutrients that help protect your body. Many people get more antioxidants from their daily dose of coffee than from fruits and veggies!

All of these antioxidants can add up to major health benefits. People who drink coffee regularly have a far lower risk of many diseases:

  • Heart disease
  • Liver problems
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

Plus, caffeine from coffee can increase your metabolism and help you burn more fat from exercise. Coffee can improve your energy level, alertness, memory and mood!

That said, you can have too much of a good thing. Excess caffeine can raise your blood pressure. How much is OK? Stick with two to five cups a day and you’ll be fine.

Myth: Dark Roast Has More Caffeine Than Light Roast

Dark roast coffee has a stronger flavor, so it must be higher in caffeine, right? Wrong. Actually, light roasts usually have a bit more caffeine ounce for ounce because the beans are smaller.

Myth: Coffee Is Addictive

Some people have given up drinking coffee because family members say the person is “addicted.” Honestly, this one gets me upset. Comparing coffee to other addictive substances is a real stretch of the imagination. There’s no reason to feel guilty for liking coffee (or dark chocolate or other perfectly natural foods with caffeine).

Why the whole “addicted” shtick? Caffeine is a stimulant, so it can technically produce a tiny amount of physical dependence. If you stop drinking coffee abruptly, you may get a headache or have trouble concentrating for a few days. That’s it.

On the other hand, addiction to alcohol or opioids requires professional rehabilitation and has life-threatening health risks. There’s just no point of comparison between those things and a harmless cup of coffee.

Myth: The Freezer Is the Best Place To Store Coffee

You bought a few bags of your favorite coffee beans from a store you only visit every few months. You want to keep that oh-so-irresistible aroma smelling fresh. Where should you store the beans? Not in your freezer!

For the freshest coffee, keep those magical beans in a cool, dry place. Your freezer may be cool, but it’s not dry. Freezers have a lot of moisture. They can strip your coffee of its delightful freshness and ruin its flavor with weird smells.

The best place to keep coffee beans is in an airtight container in your cupboard. Give each bag its own container and enjoy rich, intense flavors for months!

Enjoy Fall All Year Long With These 3 Sweet Recipes

Everyone knows the fall is all about sweet treats, which nutritionists often tell you to avoid. However, there is nothing wrong with a bit of indulgence now and again if you maintain control.  

The problem with autumn treats is they only come around once a year, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Some fall recipes are just as delicious throughout the year. Why not allow your sweet tooth a taste all year long?

1. Apple Fritter Bites

Hailing from Say Yes contributor Brittany, these apple fritter bites are easy to make, light on the stomach, and delicious. The best part, you can whip up about two dozen of these tiny, golden joys in 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored, and cubed)
  • 2 Beaten eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 Teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ Cup milk
  • 1 ½ Cups flour
  • ¼ Cup granulated sugar
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Glaze Ingredients:

  • ¼ Cup milk
  • 1 Cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ Teaspoon salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Using a pan or fryer, heat the oil to 350° Fahrenheit. Mix the baking powder, sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
  2. Using another bowl, beat the eggs and add milk and vanilla, mixing thoroughly. Combine dry and wet ingredients, folding to a thick, nearly-combined consistency.
  3. Then, add the melted butter and apples to the mixture.
  4. Place 1 tablespoon of batter into the heated oil. Allow the batter to remain in the oil until golden brown.
  5. Remove the fritter from the oil and place it on a paper towel to drain. Finally, dip the warm cakes in the glaze. Let the fritter sit for about 30 minutes before eating for the best results.

2. Pumpkin Loaf Cake

Coming from Ashley over at Sugar & Cloth, this pumpkin loaf cake is a Thanksgiving treat that is sure to give you those warm feelings all year long. The recipe makes a 9-inch loaf.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ Cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
  • 1 Cup canned pure pumpkin
  • ½ Cup room temperature, unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ Cups Sugar
  • ⅓ Cup whole milk
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ Teaspoon salt
  • 3 Large eggs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  2. Sift the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Using a large bowl, either by hand or using a mixer, beat the butter smooth. Add in the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin.
  4. Once the butter mixture is mixed thoroughly, add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk.
  5. Pouring the batter into a 9-inch loaf pan, bake it for 55 minutes.

3. Hot Chocolate Popsicles

Who said hot chocolate was just for the colder weather? With this Paper & Stitch recipe, you can enjoy your favorite hot chocolate all year long.

Ingredients:

  • Milk
  • Small marshmallows
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Your favorite hot chocolate mix
  • Popsicle mold
  • Popsicle sticks

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the hot chocolate as instructed, but be sure to use milk, not water.
  2. While brewing the hot chocolate, place a few marshmallows into each popsicle mold. Pour the hot chocolate, filling each mold about a third of the way. Freeze for one hour.
  3. Remove from the freezer, add popsicle sticks, and a thin layer of chocolate syrup. Add more hot chocolate. Freeze and repeat once more.
  4. Freeze thoroughly and enjoy.

Will you try these recipes? Leave a comment.

8 Tips for Creating Healthy Sleep Habits

It seems like everyone has more stress lately. This can make it hard to fall asleep at night. One thing that helps is creating healthy sleep habits. What habits are important for sleeping great again?

1. Change How You Look at Sleep

Could one reason you’re not sleeping enough be because you feel like you have more important things to finish first? In that case, it’s good to remember that sleep isn’t “wasted time.”

A great night’s sleep helps you concentrate better the next day, makes you more productive at work and increases your overall happiness. It also strengthens your immune system and gives your body time to heal itself naturally.

2. Create a Relaxing Bedroom for Sleep

If you decorate right, being in your bedroom should automatically make you feel like snoozing (or having sex). What’s the secret?

  • High-quality sheets: Cool, soft, breathable sheets feel great on your skin all night long.
  • Great mattress and pillow: Trust me, you’ll never regret buying the most comfortable mattress you can afford. Make sure your pillow gives your neck enough support, too.
  • The right temperature: Everyone is different, but a cool-not-cold bedroom (around 65 degrees) tends to help people fall asleep more quickly.
  • Relaxing scents: Use candles or diffusers to give your bedroom a gentle aroma you enjoy. I love lavender, but some people prefer vanilla or cinnamon.
  • Fresh feel: Give your room a spacious feel by letting in natural light during the day and keeping clutter to a minimum.

3. Choose a Bedtime

The first step in creating a positive sleep routine is setting a target bedtime. It helps your body get into a flow so you feel sleepy when you’re ready for bed. This is called the circadian rhythm. Aim to get between seven and eight hours of sleep every night.

4. Keep Afternoon Naps Short and Sweet

A nap in the afternoon can be great for your mental focus and energy levels. Just avoid sleeping too late or too long. After lunch is the perfect time for a 15- or 20-minute snooze.

5. Enjoy Your Morning Joe in the Morning

I love coffee, so I would never tell you to stop drinking it. That said, if you’re having trouble sleeping at night, it’s best to enjoy java in the morning only, or maybe right after lunch if you want to stretch it.

6. Exercise Outdoors

Scientists aren’t sure why exercise helps sleep, but it does. Maybe working out makes you feel less stressed, which is amazing for sleeping soundly. Another possibility is that tired muscles signal your brain to sleep and regenerate.

A healthy dose of sunlight during the day helps your body get the hint when it’s dark outside. Going for a walk, bike ride or jog outside is one of the best ways to sleep better at night.

7. Make Relaxing Your Goal, Not Falling Asleep

For some people who have insomnia, stressing about falling asleep actually makes it harder to become drowsy. Instead, your goal should be to relax. Let sleep come naturally with these activities:

  • Listen to soft music
  • Read a book or do a crossword puzzle
  • Write in a journal
  • Take a warm bath
  • Talk on the phone to a loved one
  • Eat a light, healthy snack
  • Sip tea (valerian, lemon balm and lavender are my favorites)

Setting aside time for a healthy sleep routine is one of the smartest investments you can make. It helps you feel less stressed during the day, too!

5 Low Calorie Snacks To Curb Those Hunger Pains

Everyone knows that part of weight loss is cutting calories, which can lead to challenges like hunger pains. Many low-calorie foods just won’t cut it when it comes to filling you up and leaving you satisfied until your next meal. When you don’t feel full, it is easier to give in to temptation and overeat or indulge in less than ideal foods. Thankfully, there are plenty of healthy options that are both lower in calories and surprisingly filling.

1. Oats

If you are looking for something to fill you up at breakfast, consider adding oats to your meal. At only 148 calories, a half-cup serving of dry oats contains about four grams of fiber and five and a half grams of protein — each of these nutrients will help curb your hunger and appetite until your next meal.

According to one study, a serving of oatmeal can increase feelings of fullness and reduce calorie intake at your next meal. Another study found that instant and old-fashioned oatmeal can improve appetite control over four hours compared to traditional breakfast cereal.

2. Soup

While traditionally hailed as an appetizer or precursor to the main course, soup is satisfying alone, and some research has suggested that solid food is less filling than soups. According to one study, soup can slow the emptying of the stomach, promoting feelings of fullness for more extended periods, leading to fewer indulgences. Another study found that people can decrease their calorie intake by 20% by eating soup before a meal.

However, while soups are often low in calories and provide many benefits, you need to pay attention to the type of soup and the sodium content. Creamier soups tend to be higher in calories. To maximize fullness and minimize calories, you want to focus on lighter options, like broth and stock-based soups.

3. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a protein powerhouse, with 11 grams per serving; it is also a low-calorie and filling snack option. At only 130 calories, Greek yogurt is proven to promote weight loss and reduce calorie intake among women. One study found that women who ate yogurt between lunch and dinner consumed about 100 fewer calories at dinner. Additionally, a second study found that high-protein snacks like Greek yogurt improved feelings of fullness over lower-protein options.

4. Berries

If you love berries, indulge in them. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. While all of the nutrients are excellent for improved health, the fiber content matters when considering hunger. A single cup of blueberries has nearly three and a half grams of fiber. However, it is the type of dietary fiber found in berries that matters most: pectin.

Pectin is a type of dietary fiber that is proven to slow stomach emptying, which leads to increased feelings of fullness. By consuming berries as an afternoon snack, you can reduce feelings of hunger and your calorie intake at larger meals.

5. Popcorn

Popcorn is perhaps the most filling low-calorie snack when it is not coated in butter and salt. The surprisingly flavorful plain popcorn boasts only 31 calories per cup and includes about 5% of your daily fiber needs. Not only can popcorn lead to greater satiation, but it can also help stabilize blood sugar, which in turn prevents cravings and hunger. However, to enjoy the low-calorie benefits of popcorn, it must be air-popped and not ready-made.

Low-calorie and filling snacks are not impossible to find. Do you know of any others? Leave a comment.