Your doctor, nurse practitioner, or nutritionist may have recommended that you eat more fiber. But why? What is all the fuss about? Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds. It is the part of the food that is not digested or absorbed (calorie free). Instead fiber works hard to move food through our intestines and assists the body in eliminating waste products. There are two forms of fiber, insoluble and soluble. Most people, when they hear fiber think constipation, which is one excellent component. Insoluble fiber found in green beans, dark green leafy vegetables, whole wheat products, wheat bran, and fruit and vegetable skins works to keep you regular and your colon moving. It is your gut buster and constipation salvation! Insoluble fiber stays mostly intact as it travels through your body, bulking and softening the stool as it moves along, decreasing your chances of constipation. It is important when eating fiber to drink plenty of water; water is fibers sidekick in moving stool.
The second form of fiber is soluble fiber, which is found in oats, oat bran, nuts, ground flax seeds, beans, peas, barley, citrus fruits, apples, carrots, and psyllium husk. Soluble fiber gets broken down in the intestines and turns into a sticky goo. This soluble fiber gel slows down the time it takes the stomach to empty its contents, allowing sugars to be absorbed more slowly. This is extremely important in diabetics, to help prevent huge blood sugar spikes after eating. Soluble fiber also lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), reducing your risk for heart disease.
By adding more fiber into your diet you will not only become regular, but you will have better blood sugar control and will decrease your risk for heart disease and some forms of cancer.
Ways to increase fiber in your day. Start your morning off with a high-fiber cereal with 5 or more grams of fiber per serving, look for bran or fiber in the name. Choose whole wheat or whole grain breads with at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. Pick brown rice or pasta when cooking and add in some extra vegetables; spice up a pasta sauce with some spinach. When baking, substitute all or some of the white flour with wheat flour, just make sure you add more water or milk to the recipe. When reaching for a snack pick-up some raw veggies, fresh fruit, hummus, or some fat free popcorn. And remember to accompany fiber with a glass of water.
I sneaky, low calorie, and delicious way to add fiber and veggies into your day is making a vegetable Tapenade. A tapenade is a spread or dip of roasted veggies, great on sandwiches instead of mayo or dip in.
Recipe to be added soon:)
Check out this post on NYC’s Healthy Bytes website: http://healthbytesnyc.com/nutrition/full-of-fiber/