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Nutrition News: Sleep to Eat Better

Charlyn Fargo on

The bottom line? Your sleep is linked to making better food choices. Get a few extra zzz's each night.

Q and A

Q: How do cereals like oatmeal reduce LDL cholesterol?

A: The soluble fiber in many fruits, vegetables and grains - called soluble because it dissolves in water -- is known to slightly lower blood levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol. Normally, the liver uses cholesterol to make bile acid, which helps to break down dietary fats in the small intestine. After the bile is finished doing its job, the body recycles it. However, soluble fiber prevents bile from being recycled. In response, the liver grabs more cholesterol from the bloodstream and uses it to make bile. Studies suggest that soluble fiber can lower LDL cholesterol slightly. According to one study, adding 3 grams of soluble fiber from oats (3 servings of oatmeal, 28 grams each) to your diet can reduce your cholesterol by a few points - for example, from 100 to 97 mg per deciliter. So, if your LDL is significantly elevated, fiber alone won't solve the problem. But fiber is important for other reasons. Whole foods that people eat to get fiber are also nutritious in other ways. The benefits include increased insulin sensitivity and lower triglycerides. You can get fiber from a variety of whole foods and grains. For example, an apple, a half-cup of cooked carrots or broccoli, two slices of whole grain bread, or a half-cup of serving of whole-grain breakfast cereal or cooked oatmeal all provide 1 gram of soluble fiber. -- Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter.

RECIPE

This is the month we're all trying to work out more, so after that work out or for an on-the-go breakfast, try this smoothie from Cooking Light magazine. It offers 100 percent of your vitamin C and one-third your calcium for the day.

Citrus Sunrise Smoothie

1/2 cup unsweetened refrigerated coconut milk or skim milk

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

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1 small banana, frozen

1/2 cup frozen mango

1/2 cup plain 2 percent reduced-fat Greek yogurt

2 teaspoons chopped walnuts

Place milk and orange juice in a blender. Add banana, mango, and yogurt; process until smooth. Pour into a glass; top with walnuts. Serves 1, serving size: 2 cups.

Per serving: 307 calories, 14 g protein, 48 g carbohydrate, 33 g sugars, 0 added sugars, 8 g fat, 4 g fiber, 59 mg sodium.

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Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian with Hy-Vee in Springfield, Ill., and a spokesperson for the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For comments or questions, contact her at charfarg@aol.com or follow her on Twitter @NutritionRD. To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

 

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