During the 1970’s diets all over the world changed as British doctor Denis Burkitt proved that dietary fiber was directly linked to what he identified as “Western disease”. He found that high incidents of colon cancer, bowel disease, diabetes and cardiovascular complications in western countries were often caused by a low fiber intake –disease, which were rare in areas where diets were based on fiber-rich plant foods such as grains and vegetables.
Fiber is categorized into two main forms, namely soluble and insoluble fiber and while research confirm that both types help reduce the risk of several chronic disease, including coronary heart disease and gastrointestinal disorders, they are also each associated with a number of health benefits. Soluble fiber has shown to help improve glucose & cholesterol levels whereas insoluble fiber, on the other hand, promotes bowel regularity and can help prevent colon cancer. Fiber also assists detoxification by helping the body carry out metabolic wastes and aids weight loss by being satisfying and filling while low in calories. Despite these facts however, the average person in the United States (adults & children) consume less than half of the recommended daily fiber intake, which is currently 30 gm.
Fabulous Fiber Foods
- A slice of wholegrain bread (Ezekiel bread is a personal favorite) contains 3 gm of fiber, which is more than three times as much as that found in one slice of white bread.
- Broccoli is a pure nutritional powerhouse and besides having 5 gm of fiber per cup it is also rich in vitamin C, calcium, folic acid and antioxidants.
- Chickpeas hold a good amount of protein for a plant food and with more than 10 gm of fiber per cup it is also a great source of fiber. They are great in salads, stews and hummus spreads & dips.
- While most fruits contain a good amount of fiber, grapefruits, apples and berries are among my favorite choices. Besides being lower in sugar than most other fruits, they are filling and packed with fiber and other essential nutrients and antioxidants.
- Oats contain a solid 5 gm of fiber per 40 gm serving and are an excellent source of soluble fiber, which keeps you fuller for longer while also promoting healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- A handful of almonds make the perfect snack and 1 oz (28 gm) holds 3.5 gm fiber as well as a good dose of healthy unsaturated fats, calcium and the antioxidant vitamin E.
- Avocados are surprisingly high in fiber too and with more than 7 gm of fiber per ½ medium sized avocado this fruit provides 20% of the recommended daily fiber intake for adults.
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