Top 10 to increase Fiber Power
Fiber generally refereed to as
'roughage' is essential for the healthy functioning of your body.
though research continues to prove fiberís power, statistics show that
many people still arenít taking this nutrient seriously enough.
According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), most adults
consume less than 15 grams (g) of fiber daily, and yet the recommended
intake for optimum health is 20 to 35 g.
Here are 10 facts to help you fuel your
health with fiber.
Fiber Fights Disease:
A high-fiber diet
can help prevent heart disease, colon cancer and diverticulosis (an
intestinal disorder), and may help control
and prevent breast
cancer. Soluble fiber can lower blood cholesterol by 5 percent or more.
This type of fiber helps the body eliminate cholesterol by binding it in
the digestive tract. Fiber has been used to treat constipation for
thousands of years.
Fiber May Help You Beat
Overeating: High-fiber foods take longer to chew and digest, so you feel satisfied
longer. Foods containing water-insoluble fiber such as wheat bran, wheat
germ, whole grains, cracked wheat bran, brown rice, are not digested and
add bulk to the diet. Soluble fibers such as foods in the legumes
family, seeds, raw and dried fruits, and raw and cooked vegetables
become gel-like substances during digestion and delay the time food goes
through the intestines and thus helps you to keep full.
Most Popular Foods Are Not
High in Fiber:
According to the ADA, most commonly consumed grains,
fruits and vegetables contain only 1 to 3 g of dietary fiber. Unless you
eat a very healthy diet, you probably need to increase your fiber
intake. Its easy to make up your daily quote if you eat:
Three servings of
vegetables a day and
Two serving of fruits a
Two serving of pulses a
One serving of whole
grain product a day.
Legumes and Grains Provide the Most Fiber per Dietary
Serving: Dietary fiber is plant matter we cannot digest. The best sources are
legumes, whole grains and concentrated grain products. Fruits and
vegetables are also good sources, but they usually contain less than 2 g
per serving. Refined grains provide less than 1 g per serving. Make use
of the Food Guide Pyramind at:
to check what counts as 1 serving.
Fiber-Rich Legumes Deserve a Closer
Look: Legumes (beans and lentils)
pack an unusually strong fiber punch. In Nutrition for Women, author
Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, points out that three-fourths of a cup of pork
and beans provides 7 g of fiber (or more, depending on the brand). The
same size serving of pinto or kidney beans provides at least 13 g of
fiber. Preparing beans doesn't need to take lots of time: Canned beans
require little preparation, and lentils cook quickly and don't require
Kids Need Fiber Power,
Too: Children older than two (and up to 18
years of age) should consume a daily fiber intake equal to or greater
than their age plus 5 (in g). Research shows that a healthy, fiber-rich
diet in childhood may reduce the risk of heart disease and some types of
cancer later in life. Kids tend to be most receptive to the fiber found
in fruits, vegetables and presweetened fortified breakfast cereals,
according to the ADA. A cup of raisin bran cereal contains 7 g of fiber;
half a cup of cooked green peas has 4 g; and a medium apple (with peel)
has 3 g.
More Fiber Requires More
Water: To keep fiber moving through your
digestive tract, you need to drink plenty of
water. Make sure you
consume eight or more glasses each day, particularly when you are active
or the weather is hot.
You Can't Cook Out Fiber:
Don't worry about cooking your fruits and
vegetables--the fiber stays. By the way, all the fiber in fruits and
vegetables is not just in the skin or peel.
You Can Get Too Much of a Good
Thing: Eating more than 50 g of fiber
per day can cause diarrhea and bloating, and can interfere with your
body's absorption of zinc, iron and other minerals.
Getting Enough Fiber Doesn't Have to be
Hard: Here are some simple
ideas: Top pancakes with warmed fruit. Eat hot oatmeal for breakfast.
Sprinkle high-fiber cereal on yogurt, smoothies and fruit dishes. Top
pasta with steamed vegetables and beans. Eat fresh produce whenever
possible. (One pear or one cup of strawberries, broccoli or carrots each
offers 4 or more g of fiber.) Also remember to check labels for fiber
Donít just assume youíre eating enough fiber: Calculate your intake
over a few days. If it's below 20 to 35 g daily, youíre missing one of
your best opportunities to maintain your health and reduce your disease
For more on tips of increasing fiber content in your diet, simply log