Chicago Health | Homepage
5 reasons to focus on fiber

5 reasons to focus on fiber

By Denise Webb, Ph.D., R.D., Environmental Nutrition Newsletter

When you think of dietary fiber, you may think of foods, like bran, that help move things along in your intestinal tract. And you would be right, at least partially. However, dietary fiber does a lot more than just benefit your intestines. A fiber-rich diet may also confer lower risk of hypertension and diabetes. Unfortunately, we don’t get enough fiber — the average intake is only about 15 grams (g) per day, far below the recommended daily intake of 25 g for women and 38 g for men.

“Two common misconceptions are that it is tough to meet the daily fiber recommendations and that food high in fiber tastes bad,” says Vandana Sheth, R.D.N., C.D.E., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Our five fabulous fiber facts will have you reaching for more delicious, high-fiber foods to help you meet that goal 25 to 38 gram goal.

1. High-fiber foods are rich in disease-preventing compounds. Fiber-rich plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, are also packed with a host of naturally occurring compounds, such as polyphenols and carotenoids, all of which have been linked to better health.

Take Home Tip: Choose vegetarian menu options when you can. Add more vegetables to your casseroles, pizzas, and sandwiches.

2. Fiber may help lower high blood pressure. Studies show that increasing dietary fiber can lower high blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. But you’ll need to give it time to work its magic. According to an analysis of several studies, it may take eight weeks to get maximum results.

Take Home Tip: Switch to whole grain cereals, breads, buns, crackers, pasta and rice.

3. Fiber can greatly reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Those were the findings from the largest investigation in the world of new-onset type 2 diabetes. How much does it take to reduce your risk? This study found that you need to get more than 26 g of fiber a day to reduce your risk by 18 percent.

Take Home Tip: Get your day off to a high-fiber start. Choose fiber-rich cereals and add nuts and dried fruit for an additional fiber boost.

4. Fiber supplements don’t provide the same benefits as high-fiber foods. It goes back to No. 1. High-fiber, whole plant foods provide a lot more than just fiber. And it may be that all of these naturally occurring compounds act in concert to provide maximum health benefits. Removing and isolating the fiber from plants to create a fiber additive for foods (i.e., polydextrose, inulin, maltodextrin) takes away the all-important mix of natural compounds in whole foods.

Take Home Tip: Snack on almonds, walnuts, pistachios, seeds and dried figs. They taste so much better than fiber supplements.

5. Mix and match the many types of fiber in foods to provide the most health benefits. Cellulose, found in nuts, whole wheat, seeds and brown rice is a natural laxative. Lignin, found in flax and rye, benefits heart health. Pectin and gums, found in berries and seeds, help lower blood cholesterol. Inulin, found in onions, beets, artichokes, and chicory root may improve the good bacteria in the intestinal tract and enhance your immune system. Resistant starch, found in unripened bananas, oatmeal and legumes (as well as potatoes and rice that have been cooked, then refrigerated), may help control blood sugar.

Take Home Tip: Bran for breakfast is great, but try to introduce a variety of fiber-rich foods — whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes — for the best benefit.

(Reprinted with permission from Environmental Nutrition, a monthly publication of Belvoir Media Group, LLC. 800-829-5384. www.EnvironmentalNutrition.com.)

(c) 2015 BELVOIR MEDIA GROUP. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

Similar Articles

Easy Tips for Anti-Inflammatory Eating, Plus a Chance to Win a $50 Gift Card to True Food Kitchen

Easy Tips for Anti-Inflammatory Eating, Plus a Chance to Win a $50 Gift Card to True Food Kitchen

By Eve Becker What do a new restaurant in River North, the anti-inflammatory diet and a

Slow Eating May Help You Consume Less and Lose Weight

Slow Eating May Help You Consume Less and Lose Weight

By Victoria Shanta Retelny, RDN Slowing down can be a challenge in our fast-paced society, but

Not Drinking Enough Water? Bloated Belly and Sweet Cravings Can Result

Not Drinking Enough Water? Bloated Belly and Sweet Cravings Can Result

By Rhonda Alexander You know that you’re supposed to drink plenty of water every day, but

The MIND Diet

The MIND Diet

New eating approach can help your brain By Victoria Shanta Retelny, RDN  Your brain health is closely

Cultures for Health: The Benefits of Fermented Foods

Cultures for Health: The Benefits of Fermented Foods

By Victoria Shanta Retelny, RDN For centuries, fermented foods have played a large role in many

Articles By Category

Family Health

In The Know

CH Lifestyle

January 2017
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
December 25, 2016 December 26, 2016 December 27, 2016 December 28, 2016 December 29, 2016 December 30, 2016 December 31, 2016
January 1, 2017 January 2, 2017 January 3, 2017 January 4, 2017 January 5, 2017 January 6, 2017 January 7, 2017
January 8, 2017 January 9, 2017 January 10, 2017 January 11, 2017 January 12, 2017 January 13, 2017 January 14, 2017
January 15, 2017 January 16, 2017 January 17, 2017 January 18, 2017 January 19, 2017 January 20, 2017 January 21, 2017
January 22, 2017 January 23, 2017 January 24, 2017 January 25, 2017 January 26, 2017 January 27, 2017 January 28, 2017
January 29, 2017 January 30, 2017 January 31, 2017 February 1, 2017 February 2, 2017 February 3, 2017 February 4, 2017

Categories

Recent Comments

Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Enjoy a great night of baseball at Peoples Natural

VIEW ARTICLE
Cost to give birth 1943 - Page 3 - Defending The Truth Political Forum

Cost to give birth 1943 - Page 3 - Defending The Truth Political Forum

A Hazy Shade of Healthcare: What does tort reform

VIEW ARTICLE

Archives