Benefits of Fiber

You know you are supposed to have fiber in your diet, but do you know why? Here are four perks to having a diet rich in fiber as well as a list of fiber rich foods.

  • Fiber slows the rate that sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. When you eat foods high in fiber, such as beans and whole grains, the sugar in those foods is absorbed slower, which keeps your blood glucose levels from rising too fast. This is good for you because spikes in glucose fall rapidly, which can make you feel hungry soon after eating and lead to overeating.
  • Fiber makes your intestines move faster. When you eat whole grains rich in insoluble fiber, it moves faster through your intestines, which can help signal that you are full.
  • Fiber cleans your colon. Fiber helps clean out bacteria and other buildup in your intestines, and reduces your risk for colon cancer.
  • Fiber helps keep you regular. A high-fiber diet helps you have soft, regular bowel movements, reducing constipation. We all want to be regular!

How to get more fiber rich foods in your diet:

  • Beans, raspberries, pure bran, whole grains, oatmeal, prunes, avocado, raisins, and most green vegetables are key foods to provide fiber.
  • Start your day with whole grains – try whole-grain cereal or oatmeal with 3 or more grams of fiber per serving. Add fruit and you are on your way to the daily goal of 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women.
    • Here is one of my families favorite breakfasts – I eat 1/2 cup of the cereal, 1/2 cup of the Kefir yogurt, 1/2 cup of berries (you can use frozen, fresh, whatever you have on hand), 1-1/2 teaspoons of chia seeds and 1 teaspoon of flax seed meal. This is not only delicious, but filling and healthy as heck……lots of fiber, healthy nuts, and probiotics. Remember….don’t skip breakfast. It really is the most important meal of the day……it sets you up for the rest of your day…..energy and how much you eat and don’t eat. IMG_2232
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  • Fresh Fruit – Of course fresh fruit is healthy, but when it comes to fiber, all fruits are not created equal. One large Asian pear has a a whopping 9.9 grams of fiber. Other high-fiber fruits include raspberries (4 grams per 1/2 cup), blackberries (3.8 grams per 1/2 cup), bananas (2.4 grams each), and blueberries (2 grams per 1/2 cup). Pears and apples (with the skin on) are also high-fiber choices.
  • Eat whole-grain bread and crackers
  • Vegetables – here are some high-fiber veggies: artichoke hearts, green peas, spinach, corn, broccoli, and potatoes. Add vegetables to omelets, sandwiches, pastas, pizza, and soup.
  • Dried fruit – figs, dates, raisins, and apricots
  • Beans are high in fiber, packed with protein, and low in fat. Use them in soups, stews, salads, casseroles, eggs, and with rice and pasta dishes. My family loves to add beans to our taco salads.
    • Taco Salads ((((((insert photo))))-romaine lettuce, ground turkey, brown rice, beans (you could do pinto or black, they’re healthier than refried), cheese, tomatoes, avocado, salsa, and sour cream. Instead of sour cream try this spicy sauce I have created……1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. This is yummy and so much better for you than sour cream. Add pepperoncini’s for added flavor.
  • Nuts & seeds – I know you’ve been told how fattening nuts are so you steer clear, but they are a great source of fiber and other nutrients……eat them in MODERATION!!! Try adding chopped nuts or seeds to salads or yogurt. I like to chop up almonds, walnuts and pistachios (salt & pepper flavored are awesome in this recipe) and sprinkle on top of my salad.
  • Whole grains – eat brown rice instead of white, whole grain pasta, or quinoa. Quinoa is bland flavored so a perfect food to add any type of flavor to you like……olive oil, tomatoes and Parmesan cheese or a jarred sauce. You can substitute quinoa for oatmeal in your breakfast. Add honey and almonds or brown sugar and maple syrup or berries (frozen or fresh).
  • Flaxseed – to reap the full benefits of flaxseed use ground not whole seeds. The whole seeds just go through your system and your body does not absorb the nutrients. Sprinkle ground flaxseed in your smoothie, on cooked vegetables or with your cereal in the morning.

These are all fiber rich foods and would be advantageous to you to include in your diet.