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The Importance of Fiber

​Fiber: it’s something many of us don’t think about, but we do our health a disservice if we are not paying attention to this important aspect of our food.

The recommended intake of fiber for adult women is 25 grams per day, for adult men it’s 35 grams per day. Most Americans are only getting a small percentage of this amount in their daily diet.

Fiber is especially important in the health of the colon itself, potentially helping to prevent the formation of diverticuli (easily infected pockets in the colon). It can also help to prevent constipation, and assist in appetite control.

To increase your fiber intake, please do not turn to a fiber supplement, unless you have no other option. Why? Most fiber supplements provide 4 grams of fiber - the same amount of fiber in one apple! If you simply add some high fiber foods to your diet, you also get the benefit of all the vitamins and minerals in the food, not simply a fiber supplement (often made of wood).

Committing to tracking your food intake can provide powerful insight into your diet. Tracking for a week (or longer) is great; even recording what you eat for as little as one weekday and one weekend day can give you useful information, and the advent of apps makes this extremely easy. My favorite food-tracking app is called My Fitness Pal. Since everyone who uses it can add information, it has a huge searchable database. This is both good and bad - it means you must exercise a bit of judgement in what you read, as some people are adding information without having researched it. For instance if you see a pint of ice cream listed as having 25 calories and 30 grams of fiber, it’s probably someone’s wishful thinking. But with some critical review, the app can give you a great deal of useful information.

I like to recommend that people use a food tracking system, even for a short time. I’ve found that many people simply aren’t familiar with the fiber content of foods, and can easily educate themselves by checking what they eat in a food database. For instance, most people believe that salad contains a lot of fiber, yet one cup of shredded lettuce only contains 0.5 grams.

Always stick to whole foods: vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes - don’t turn to boxed cereals, as, like fiber supplements, these are limited in the amount of vitamins and minerals they provide, and .often contain added sugars and other unhealthy ingredients.

Be sure to drink plenty of fresh, pure water as you increase your fiber intake. This will help to insure that everything moves easily through your digestive system.

Here are a few high fiber food suggestions:

Vegetables

Green Peas 1 cup: 8.8g fiber

Broccoli 1 cup: 5.1 g fiber

Fruit

Raspberries 1 cup: 8g

Pear (medium) with skin: 5.5g

Grains

Pearled Barley, 1 cup cooked: 6g

Brown Rice, 1 cup cooked: 3.5g

Legumes

Lentils 1 cup cooked: 15.6g

Black Beans, 1 cup cooked: 15g

Let me know in the comments how you are increasing the fiber in your diet! Happy eating!

 

 

Comments

  • .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) April 12, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    Hi Elijah! I too believe high fiber is beneficial to good health. My grandmother was obsessed with fiber to the point of drinking a tall glass of Metamucil every morning! (ewwwwwww!) This was because in her later years (her 90s) she couldn’t move around as much as she used to, and used to say her “tummy was sluggish” She knew the value of fiber, but also had false teeth, so couldn’t munch the stuff she craved. She gave me a lot of ideas about how to eat kale raw in salads, way before it was a standard on healthy menus. That is my favorite way to bump my fiber, it’s not as much as peas or broccoli, only 2.5 grams per cup, but it grows really well all year in my garden, so I don’t even have to shop for it! Yay for fiber, and thanks for the ideas, I will definitely be looking for local peas in the farmers’ markets this month to add to my salads! I also like the multi-colored quinoa. I like to make it ahead & fry up a patty nice and crispy in olive oil with a sprinkling of curry, with a soft egg on top! Quinoa is 5 grams of fiber per cup. I love barley too, in beef stew, or in this recipe instead of the bulgar wheat: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/02/vegan-chickpea-cakes-with-mashed-avocado-recipe.html. I am glad to knowof your blog & will look forward to reading more! Yay!

  • .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) April 13, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Thank you for the info and reminder!

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