Study details how high fiber diets make for healthier lives

This undated photo provided by America's Test Kitchen in December 2018 shows Tabbouleh in Brookline, Mass. (AP)
Updated 11 January 2019

Study details how high fiber diets make for healthier lives

  • A good target for those wanting to reap health gains would be to eat 25g to 29g of dietary fiber a day

LONDON: People who eat lots of high-fiber and whole grain foods have lower risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other chronic diseases than people whose diets are low in fiber, a study commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) says.
For every 8 gram increase in fiber eaten a day, total deaths and incidences of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer fell by 5 to 27 percent, the study said. Protection against stroke and breast cancer also rose.
A good target for those wanting to reap health gains would be to eat 25g to 29g of dietary fiber a day, the analysis found. But the data, published in a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyzes in The Lancet medical journal, also suggested higher dietary fiber intakes could give even greater protection.
“Our findings provide convincing evidence for nutrition guidelines to focus on increasing dietary fiber and on replacing refined grains with whole grains. This reduces incidence risk and mortality from a broad range of important diseases,” said Jim Mann, a professor at the University of Otago, New Zealand who co-led the research.
According to the study, most people worldwide currently consume less than 20g of dietary fiber a day. In Britain in 2015, an advisory committee on nutrition recommended an increase in dietary fiber intake to 30g a day, but only 9 percent of British adults manage to reach this target. In the United States, fiber intake among adults averages 15g a day.
Mann said the health benefits of dietary fiber — contained in foods such as whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruit — come from its chemistry, physical properties, physiology and its effects on metabolism.
“Fibre-rich whole foods that require chewing and retain much of their structure in the gut increase satiety and help weight control, He said. “(And) the breakdown of fiber in the large bowel by the resident bacteria has additional wide-ranging effects including protection from colorectal cancer.” (Reporting by Kate Kelland)


Discover Bahrain's Indigo Restaurant’s rooftop riches

Enjoy Asian-Mediterranean flavors at Bahrain’s five-star boutique hotel. (Supplied)
Updated 23 August 2019

Discover Bahrain's Indigo Restaurant’s rooftop riches

MANAMA: You wouldn’t expect to find a palatial and tranquil rooftop restaurant smack in the middle of Bahrain’s oldest and busiest commercial center, the Manama Souq. Yet just a few meters from the iconic 70-year old Bab Al Bahrain lies Indigo Restaurant, the in-house eatery of five-star boutique hotel The Merchant House.

From the moment you step into the restaurant foyer, this fine-dining establishment promises respite from the summer heat, traffic snarls and mayhem of the capital city down below. Once seated, take a moment to appreciate the stately décor. With plenty of floral furnishing, flora, and foliage in aureate lighting, it’s like sitting in a greenhouse (without the heat). Add in the rustic wood furniture and striking artwork (by local Bahraini artists) and Indigo Restaurant is an ideal venue for both a casual evening sipping mocktails with friends or a celebratory three-course meal with that special someone.

Large French doors open onto an expansive terrace with mist machines, a trickling pool, backyard lighting, and no-fuss seating. It’s a fairytale setting worthy of staging a production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The menu is a fusion of Asian and Mediterranean food, so patrons can expect a lot of fresh, seasonal ingredients paired with piquant Asian flavors. Take, for example, the restaurant’s best-selling appetizer, the Beef Rib Samjang — cherry wood-smoked beef rib served with Korean-style sweet-chili sauce atop crisp, Belgian endive. The appetizer comes with a side of the pipirrana salad — a Spanish classic. A simple goat-cheese salad is elevated with marinated figs, lavash crisps, and a Japanese-style yuzu hazelnut dressing.

To create such distinctive flavors, executive chef Robert Shipman draws on his two decades of experience in southern Europe and, later, with chef Nobu Matsuhisa (of the acclaimed Nobu Restaurant in Dubai and the more recent Nobu Jeddah pop-up). Shipman specializes in Asian cuisine and is renowned for his Greek-Japanese fusion meals in Cyprus. He also brings flavors from the Maldives, Ibiza, and Morocco to Indigo’s menu. Alongside cured and raw meats and sushi, the menu also features a small selection of burgers, including classics like mushroom and Wagyu burgers. The pasta and risotto offerings — tagliatelle Napolitana, risotto funghi, and prawn tagiatelle — are kept strictly Italian.

Shipman says he defers to restaurant patrons for a winning menu. A main that has won the popular vote is the sesame and nigella seed crusted and sautéed hammour. The crunch of the outer crust compliments the soft meat of the fillet and the accompanying bok choy and Moroccan chermoula sauce lend bitter and sweet flavors.

Although the flavor pairings remain more or less the same — meat slow-cooked with balsamic sauce, garlic, and thyme — Shipman’s 18-hour lamb shank stands out from those on other menus in the region. The lamb comes apart effortlessly, giving you a mouthful of meat soaked in balsamic sauces, buttery-soft herb polenta, and dry cherry. It is an ambrosial main.

A summer night calls for a light desert, and the frutti di bosco hits the right spot with assorted forest berries, airy honeycomb crisp, crème de Violette marshmallows, and a dollop of passion cream to offset the tartness of the berries. The Kaffir lime panna cotta with fresh mango sauce, and the yuzu white chocolate cheesecake with walnut halva also come highly recommended, but there is only so much one can devour in an evening. Still, the fresh flavors and the summer garden are enough incentive to come back for more.