The Healthy Alternative: Putting More Fiber in your diet!

 

Most nutrition experts will agree that putting about 20-35 grams of dietary fiber into your daily diet is helpful to your health. Most people only eat about 14-15 grams a day.

Where is fiber found?

Fiber is found in only plant foods. Fruits, veggies, grains. It is the part of the plant that is not digested in the human body.  There are 2 types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.

Both are necessary for good health.

Most foods that are rich in fiber contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.

 Soluble:

The sticky form of fiber that thicken the contents of the intestines, and slows the digestive process, making you feel full longer.

Examples: Pectin, gums and mucilage found in peas, dried beans, some fruits and vegetables especially oranges, apples and carrots, oats, oat bran, psyllium, flaxseed and barley as well as canned peas or beans such as kidney beans, white beans and black beans.

Insoluble:

Insoluble aides in the prevention of constipation, diverticulitis , hemorrhoids and some forms of cancer such as colon and rectal.

Examples: Cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin found in whole grains and cereals, especially wheat bran, barley and oats and the skins of fruits and many vegetables such as cauliflower, green beans, and potatoes.

Fiber Facts: On the topic of Cholesterol

Fiber can help with heart disease, especially  cholesterol problems. Studies have shown that soluble fiber can lower total blood cholesterol levels by as much as 2-6%, and also lower the LDL – bad cholesterol by 2-29%.

Just eating high intakes of soluble fiber such as dried beans and oat bran can lower total cholesterol and LDL levels significantly. even in people who consume as much as 37% of their calories from fat!

Fiber Facts: On the Topic of Diabetes:

A specific study on diabetes at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas studied 13 obese people with type 2 diabetes ( non-insulin dependent diabetes).

After consuming a high fiber diet ( one with 50 grams, half soluble and half insoluble), they found that the participants experienced lower glucose levels – as much as 10%, and lower insulin and blood lipid levels.

Taken in part from: Ternus, and Brothier.  (2007).Vitamins: Boost your Energy and Enhance your Body. Avon., MA. F and W Publications.