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How to Stay Slim, Go Fiber!

 

More and more research is showing that a high-fiber diet may help prevent diabetes, heart disease, cancer and weight gain. According to new research from the University of Texas in Austin women who...

 

What’s Fiber?

Found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, fiber is the part of plant foods that we can't digest.

Insoluble fiber is the coarse, chewy part of a plant that does not dissolve in water. It forms a plant's structure and can be found in the outside tissues like fruit skins, stringy vegetables and crunchy whole grains. Insoluble fiber passes through the body largely intact, soaking up water like a sponge and adding bulk and softness to the stool. This not only prevents constipation but also speeds the rate at which food goes through your system. Whole-wheat breads, wheat bran, rye, most other whole grains, cabbage, beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower and apple skin are all loaded with insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber, on the other hand, is found inside plant cell walls and dissolves and thickens in water to form a sticky, gel-like substance. It gives oatmeal its gummy texture and cooked beans their mushy centers. As it passes through the digestive system, soluble fiber binds to dietary cholesterol, helping the body to eliminate it. Oats (which have the highest proportion of soluble fiber of any grain), oat bran, beans, peas, rice bran, citrus fruits, strawberries and apple pulp are full of soluble fiber.

How Can We Have Enough Fiber?

Current recommendations suggest that adults (including women who want to maintain their weight) need 20 to 35 grams of dietary fiber each day. Here are some easy ways to add more fiber into your diet...

  • Eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. Eat the skins that contains huge amount of Soluble fiber, and always eat fiber-loaded fresh fruits instead of having fiber-less fruit juices.
  • Look for bread, cereal, crackers and pasta that are 100% whole grain, which means NO refined flour. If you can’t find "100%" in the label, check the ingredient list for refined flour, such as white flour (usually listed as bleached or unbleached enriched wheat flour), semolina or durum flour, and rice flour.
  • Add other 100% whole grains in your diet, like brown rice, bulgur, oatmeal, barley, buckwheat, cracked wheat and quinoa.
  • Eat more beans. They load with soluble fiber, and plenty of plant protein. Put them in soups, stews, and salads, and replace bean-based dishes like lentil soup, bean burritos, or rice and beans for those made with meat.

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