Dietary Fiber Cornerstone Of A Healthy Diet

By Greg Fox

Mainly found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, fiber has many beneficial effects on the body and is essential for your good health.

Hold on there.  Just because a Mounds bar contains little pieces of ground up coconut doesn’t mean it’s rich in fiber.  Put down that Mounds and grab an apple.  Or do what your mom told you and eat your lima beans.  You need the fiber!

Every nutritionist you ask will confirm the sad facts: 
The majority of us eat a diet that is horribly deficient in fiber.  Adults should get between 21 and 38 grams of fiber every day.  The unfortunate truth is we may not even eat 15 grams.   

Why eat fiber?  Your digestive tract, cardiovascular and immune system need it to keep you healthy.  Colon cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes are just some of the ailments that can be controlled or avoided by a fiber-rich diet.  Not to mention your increased energy!

Microorganisms that live in your digestive system, called microflora, break down the fiber in your food and convert it to energy.  They use it in many ways, including regulating your bowel movements and making vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting and strong bones.  Shortchange those microflora at your own risk.

When you eat probiotic foods, or foods that contain bacteria that are similar to those in your digestive tract, you help strengthen the microflora.  Examples of probiotic foods are kombucha, live cultured yogurt and apple cider vinegar.  But less exotic, more common fiber-rich foods play a major good-health role too.

There are two varieties of fiber:  Soluble and insoluble.  Soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar.  Insoluble fiber aids in digestion.  Neither is actually digested or absorbed into the body.

Make sure your daily diet contains at least five servings of fiber-rich fruits and veggies.  What foods are high in fiber? Corn, cauliflower and broccoli are great.  So are squash, cabbage and greens.  Craving some fruit?  Try apples, berries and oranges, all good fiber sources.  Stay away from processed foods such as white flour.  Snack on nuts or seeds, both are rich sources
of fiber.  

In a morning rush with no time for breakfast?  Leggo of that Eggo® and munch on an apple.  Your microflora will love you for it!

Top 10fiber-rich foods

Lima beans

Raspberries

Bulgur

Collard greens

Flaxseeds

Baked potatoes (with skin)

Dried figs

 

Acorn squash

Green peas

Rye flour

 

 

 

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