What's up with that? Here are some things you should know:
What are some of the health advantages of lots of fiber in your diet?
*It can help prevent and relieve constipation.
*It can help lower your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
*Lowers blood cholesterol levels.
*Helps control blood sugar levels. (It helps make food slower to digest, so you don't have as dramatic swings in blood sugar. More about blood sugar next week.)
*Aids in weight loss. High fiber foods are less calorie dense, so we eat less calories for the same volume of food. They make us feel full longer.
What is the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber?
Fiber is classified by how it mixes with water. Insoluble does not mix with water, soluble does. Both types are necessary and to be healthy we should eat both types. Here is some info from Mayo Clinic:
- Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts and many vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber.
- Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fiber/NU00033
How much should we get? What are ways to get more?
It is recommended that we get 21-25 grams of fiber every day for women and 25-38 for men. Under 50 years of age you may need the lower end amount. Most of us don't get that much! How can we get more?
*Eat whole grain foods. (whole grain leaves the fiber on the grain with the added vitamins that come with it.)
*Whole fruits and vegetables, including the peel when possible.
*Legumes--- beans, peas, lentils, etc. (great source!)
*Nuts and seeds (watch the fat content)
Fiber supplements are not as good because they do not provide the vitamins and minerals that come with whole foods. Supplements may be necessary to treat medical conditions, so talk to your doctor about them. Some people can become dependent on them.
Limit the about of processed foods you eat. Processing usually takes out the fiber and nutrients your body needs. Do your body a favor and eat foods as close to the way God made them as possible. God made them. He knew what he was doing. :-)
Here is an example of a high fiber diet from Livestrong.com
(Be careful if you are not used to high fiber foods to increase your fiber gradually to minimize stomach cramping until you get used to it.)
A good fiber breakfast meal may include 1 cup of whole grain ready-to-eat cereal with 1 cup of sliced strawberries and 1 cup of milk. Foods with 5 g of fiber or more per serving rate as high-fiber foods. Your breakfast meal should contain 5 to 10 g of fiber. Another good fiber breakfast meal includes two slices of whole-wheat toast with one slice of low-fat cheese, one container of high-fiber yogurt and a fresh orange.
Lunch should contain about 5 to 10 g of fiber. A fiber-rich lunch meal includes 2 cups of mixed greens with grilled chicken, 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts and 2 tbsp. of raisins with low-fat salad dressing, served with 10 whole-grain crackers and one medium pear. Another fiber-containing lunch meal includes 1.5 cups of cold quinoa salad made with cooked quinoa, dried craisins, green onions and slivers of almonds, served with raw carrots and a fresh apple.
A good fiber dinner meal may include grilled salmon with 1 cup of cooked spinach, a 6 oz. baked potato with the skin and a tossed salad with low-fat salad dressing. Another good fiber dinner meal may include a bean burrito made with 1/4 cup of black bean paste spread on an 8-inch whole wheat tortilla with low-fat cheese and served with salsa and brown rice and beans. Aim for 5 to 10 g of fiber at dinner.
Include one to two high-fiber snacks in your diet. Examples include a small piece of fresh fruit, 1/4 cup of nuts, five whole grain crackers or 3 cups of air-popped popcorn.
Check out the fiber content of some of these foods:
I found that at:
Here is a link to a site where you can look up the fiber content in many foods:
On Wikipedia I found some example of different types of fiber, we need both:
Some plants contain significant amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber. For example plums (or prunes) have a thick skin covering a juicy pulp. The plum's skin is an example of an insoluble fiber source, whereas soluble fiber sources are inside the pulp.
Soluble fiber is found in varying quantities in all plant foods, including:
- legumes (peas, soybeans, lupins and other beans)
- oats, rye, chia, and barley
- some fruits and fruit juices (including prune juice, plums, berries, bananas, and the insides of apples and pears)
- certain vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and Jerusalem artichokes
- root tubers and root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and onions (skins of these are sources of insoluble fiber)
- psyllium seed husk (a mucilage soluble fiber).
- whole grain foods
- wheat and corn bran
- nuts and seeds
- potato skins
- flax seed
- vegetables such as green beans, cauliflower, zucchini (courgette), celery, and nopal
- some fruits including avocado, and bananas
- the skins of some fruits, including tomatoes
Try a higher fiber diet! Your body will thank you and I bet you will feel better!
Get healthier today--- :~)