A Consumer’s Guide to Digestive Health

Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure

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Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure

 Only 3% of Americans meet dietary fiber intake recommendations.

Thus, 97% of us are not eating enough fiber.

NHANES,National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure
What 50 Grams Of Fiber Looks Like
High Fiber Foods
Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure
Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure

Feeling Full Of It?

Maybe you really are. The good news is that the key to your optimal health requires fiber.

In the United States and most other Western countries, diet-related chronic diseases (eg., heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc.) represent the single largest cause of disease and death. They are epidemic in Westernized populations and typically afflict 50-65% of all adults.

In the US, these diseases cause seven of every 10 deaths. In addition, the annual tab amounts to 86% of all health care spending – or $258 trillion!


“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates

After almost 2,500 years of studies, research and tests, it turns out the ancient Greek physician commonly referred to as the “father of medicine” was pretty close when he made this declaration. Of course not every disease originates in the gut, but good digestion is the foundation for good health. When all functions as it should, we feel healthy, vibrant, and energetic.  When it doesn’t, we feel sluggish, uncomfortable and even ill.

According to a report by the National Institutes of Health, up to 70 million Americans have been diagnosed with some form of a digestive disorder. In fact, those numbers are on the rise. Add those with chronic problems yet to be officially diagnosed, and those with more occasional digestive problems and the list quickly grows to include just about everyone.

The good news is, there are a variety of health aids on the market designed to address and resolve many digestive issues and ensure a healthy gut. The bad news, you almost need to be a registered dietician or medical doctor in order to properly sort through the seemingly endless options.

Do I need fiber or a laxative? What is the difference between an internal cleanse and a detox? Can this be taken by men, women or both? Ugh! Before getting overwhelmed, check out this simple guide to help digest all the possibilities.

Starting with Fiber

Fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods that travels through the digestive system, absorbing water along the way and easing bowel movements. A diet high in fiber promotes a healthy digestive tract and increases regularity. Fiber can also create a feeling of fullness, a useful tool in weight control.

Additionally, a diet high in fiber can decrease your risk of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. According to the Institute of Medicine, the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. The problem is that most adults only get about half that, so fiber supplements are often recommended.

One of the most popular fiber supplements is psyllium, which comes from the ‘husk’ or outer coating of the psyllium plant’s seeds. On contact with water, psyllium thickens into a gel-like substance that acts like a broom to sweep waste from the digestive tract and colon.

“You want to avoid lower grade fiber products that grind the whole plant, including parts that are essentially fillers,” explains Craig Hays, Organic Chemist and Quality Assurance Manager at Yerba Prima (www.yerba.com), an innovator of dietary fiber and internal cleansing products. “Check the label to make sure that the psyllium plant seeds are used.”


If constipation is an issue, a fiber supplement alone may not be sufficient. If this is the case, a mild laxative may provide relief but should only be taken for a very short duration

Cascara Sagrada and Senna, two of the most common natural laxatives, both act on the colon to stimulate muscle contractio“In normal doses and for short periods of time they are effective,” says Hays. “If higher doses are taken they can over stimulate the colon and cause problems.”Senna or Cascara, taken along with fiber to provide bulk to your stool, makes for easier passage through the system. Some laxative formulations like Yerba Prima’s Fiber Plus Senna Powder, combine the two, along with other herbs designed to soothe the digestive system.


The digestive system is designed to expel toxins from our bodies. However, with the overwhelming amount of chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, environmental toxins, as well as drugs, alcohol, processed foods and added sugars that we are exposed to daily can put undue stress on the liver and the body’s elimination capacity. Detoxification is a popular strategy for aiding this process.

One of the most effective ingredients for a safe, natural detox is bentonite, a natural volcanic clay that attracts toxins through adsorption and is taken in a solution or capsule form. The clay is not digested, but passes through the gastrointestinal tract, where it binds to toxins and carries them out of the body through the bowel.

“Bentonite attracts toxins like a magnet as it passes through the body’s digestive tract,” says Hays. “When combined with psyllium, it is even more effective because that ‘ball of toxins’ is swept out of the body by the fiber.”

Total Body Cleanse

Because exposure to environmental contaminants, including industrial pollution and heavy metals, is cumulative, many experts advise performing a total body cleanse on an annual or semi-annual basis. The goal is to remove accumulated chemicals through all the body’s channels of elimination: the bowels, kidneys, lungs, liver, and lymphatic system.

“People do a cleanse when they want to jumpstart their system and get back on a healthy track,” says Hays, whose company developed the first whole body internal cleanse.  “It is popular as part of a new year’s resolution, in preparation to a change in diet or when starting an exercise regimen.”

A cleanse can be achieved by taking many individual supplements, however, it is considerably easier (and cheaper!) to take a product that provides a complete range of desired health effect“. Just as you would not run your car until it breaks down without maintaining it, you should not do that to your body,” adds Hays.

Gender Specific Formulations

Because men and women have different physiological and nutritional needs, there are different requirements for men and women when it comes to internal cleanses.

Female consumers should look for internal cleansing systems that are designed to enhance good digestion, nutrient assimilation, waste and toxin elimination, energy stability and hormonal balance. Certain herbs and extracts have been used for thousands of years to ease menstrual- related issues – like Chaste-tree berry and Dong Quai Root extract. The combination helps women feel healthier and more energetic throughout the month.

Similarly for men, formulations that contain a common base of powerful cleansing supplements, along with gender specific ingredients, can protect and rebuild elimination systems leading to overall better health.  This includes saw palmetto for prostate health, as well as Asian ginseng and sarsaparilla root extract to support male vitality.

“Whether you are taking fiber, detoxing or doing a total body cleanse, it is all about taking care of yours digestive health so you can look and feel your best each and every day,” concludes Hays.

For more information of digestive health contact Yerba Prima; www.yerba.com, sales@yerbaprima.com, or call (800) 488-4339 or International +1 (541) 488-2228.


What’s Your Fiber Fitness Level?

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Fiber Forever

There’s one nutrient you’re almost definitely deficient in.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m talking about fiber – the nutrient that up to 97% of Americans aren’t getting enough of on a daily basis. But it is absolutely one of the most important nutrients.

Our children are only at the starting line of dietary fiber intake. To our national shame, the adult conditions – constipation, overweight/obesity, and type 2 diabetes (markers of inadequate fiber intake) – continue to increase among them.

Sadly, very little research exists addressing either the dietary fiber intake of children or its effects on their health.

If their present health situation continues, very few will reach the finish line at a “healthy, old age”.

Soluble vs Insoluble Fiber

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

Soluble fiber can takes in water and turns into a gel-like substance. If you take a soluble fiber supplement (like psyllium husks), it’s a good idea to drink it right away. Soluble fiber helps slow down the digestion process. Slower digestion means more thoroughly digested food which means you’re able to get more nutrients out of your organic produce. Soluble fiber also feeds the probiotics in your gut.

Insoluble fiber has pretty much one job and one job only – to make your poop bigger and help it move through your colon. Getting enough insoluble fiber means you’ll spend less time on the toilet. The best sources of insoluble fiber are legumes and nuts. Certain vegetables such as cauliflower and green beans also contain a decent amount of insoluble fiber.

Fiber Benefits

I’ve already listed two benefits. Fiber helps feed the microbes in your gut. It also feeds the pathogenic bacteria in your gut. So be sure to flood your gut with probiotics before you get serious about taking fiber. It also helps you poop easier which means you won’t strain as much which means you’re less likely to get hemorrhoids.

Weight Loss

Fiber helps you lose weight. Because it slows down the digestive process you’ll feel fuller longer and won’t resort to the snacks hidden in your desk drawer or your pantry.

Heart Health

Ever wonder why Cheerios can say it’s heart healthy even though it’s not all that great for you? It’s because of its fiber content. People who get enough fiber every day have a 40% lower risk of getting heart disease.

Controls Blood Sugar

Again, thanks to its ability to slow down digestion, it slows down the digestion of sugar. I’m not saying you can go wild and eat an entire cake if you’re diabetic, but it certainly won’t affect your blood sugar levels nearly as much. If you’re not diabetic, it can help reduce your risk of diabetes.

How Much Do I Need?

How much fiber should you get every day? Somewhere between 20 and 30 grams. It’s simple but not easy. In fact, it’s very difficult to do. That’s why 97% of Americans don’t get enough. The only way you’re going to know how much fiber you consume is to start tracking your dietary choices.

There are many smart phone apps to help. If that’s not your tool of choice, you can get a small fiber reference book and go old school. It won’t take you very long, probably less than a week to find out you are at risk.

The good news is there are lots of foods and supplements you can use to help boost your intake. One caveat: be sure to increase the amount of water you’re drinking. You’ll soon find your groove and start having smooth moves.




Leftover Coffee Grounds Unlocking Unused Antioxidant Dietary Fibre

Leftover Coffee Grounds Unlock 6 Tons Of Antioxidant Dietary Fiber
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Spent Coffee Grounds As Food Ingredient In Bakery Products

A new use for a familiar favorite – coffee. Specifically spent grounds. Nothing like 6 tons of antioxidants and dietary fiber in our food waste streams. Here’s a novel way to extract high value from our food waste and get some much needed help with our chronically low dietary fiber levels.


•Spent coffee grounds are natural source of antioxidant dietary fibre.
•Coffee antioxidant dietary fibre is a food ingredient for use at high temperature.
•A food grade ingredient has been obtained from spent coffee grounds.
•Safety of spent coffee grounds can be easily controlled.
•Spent coffee grounds can be used in bakery products and other foodstuffs.

→  Read full article

Eating More Whole Grains Linked With Lower Death Risk

Nutrition News Great Grains Cover

The American Heart Association recommends a heart-healthy dietary pattern emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other nutritious foods and specifically that at least half of grain consumption should be whole grains. Whole grains provide many nutrients, such as fiber, B vitamins, and minerals, which are removed during the refining process.

Eating more whole grains linked with lower risk of death

DALLAS, June 13, 2016 — Eating at least three servings of whole grains every day could lower your risk of death, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Although dietary guidelines around the world have included whole grains as an essential component of healthy eating patterns, people aren’t eating enough, according to the analysis. In the United States average consumption remains below one serving a day, despite the long-time recommendation of three servings a day.

In the first meta-analysis review of studies reporting associations between whole grain consumption and death, researchers noted that for about every serving (16 grams) of whole grains there was a:

  • 7 percent decreased risk in total deaths;
  • 9 percent decline in cardiovascular disease-related deaths; and
  • 5 percent decline in cancer-related deaths.

The more whole grains consumed, the lower the death rate. According to researchers, when three servings (48 grams) were consumed daily the rates declined:

  • 20 percent for total deaths;
  • 25 percent for cardiovascular deaths; and
  • 14 percent for cancer-related deaths.

→  Read full article

Full bibliographic information Whole Grain Intake and Mortality From All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies (DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.021101.)

A New Standard For Whole Grain

The most comprehensive definition of whole grain termed to date has been published this week in the journal Food and Nutrition Research. The effort to create the definition, which is intended to assist in the production and labeling of foods rich in whole grains, was born of the HEALTHGRAIN EU project, the largest project ever focusing on cereals and health; and was led by a multi-disciplinary team from some of Europe’s leading universities and food research institutes.

Great GrainsHistorically, there’s been no complete, legally endorsed definition of whole grain flour and products,” explains Jan-Willem van der Kamp, corresponding author of the paper and Senior Officer of International Projects at TNO Food and Nutrition. “Most supermarkets today are stocked with foods that originate from many different countries. When you read ‘25% whole grain flour’ on one product label; the same claim on a different label could mean something quite different nutritionally. If use of this definition is adopted broadly, this inconsistency eventually would cease.”

The HEALTHGRAIN definition is the next step in reaching a precise, common understanding of what constitutes whole grain in food products – from breads to pasta to breakfast cereals – regardless of where they originate, adds van der Kamp.

Almost universally, the term whole grain indicates inclusion of all three components of the cereal grain kernel – endosperm (this is the largest part of the grain and provides mostly starch), germ (comprises only a small part of the grain; this is where sprouting begins) and bran (the grain’s protective outer layer; it is rich in dietary fibre). Variances, however, arise around the particular grains considered “whole”, precise combination of the three components once processed, and processing practices which can affect the resulting flour’s nutritional value. The HEALTHGRAIN definition addresses all three of these issues detailing a permitted list of grains and “pseudo grains” (such as quinoa and amaranth) and processing guidelines that take into account current milling practices.

The need for developing a more comprehensive, detailed whole grain definition was identified during the course of the HEALTHGRAIN EU project, an initiative intended to increase the use of whole grains and their health protecting constituents in food products for improved nutrition and health benefits. The expansive project has involved everything from research to better understand specific health benefits of whole grains to exploration of new ways to get products high in their healthy compounds onto the market.

The HEALTHGRAIN definition was developed by a committee led by van der Kamp, representatives of the Swedish Nutrition Foundation; DPR Nutrition Ltd., UK; and VTT and University of Eastern Finland; in cooperation with a multidisciplinary group of nutrition scientists, cereal scientists and technologists, plant breeders, flour milling specialists and experts in regulatory affairs from throughout Europe.

The article with the complete HEALTHGRAIN definition, including the permitted grains, can be accessed in the current volume of Food and Nutrition Research (http://www.foodandnutritionresearch.net/index.php/fnr/article/view/22100).


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