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Fiber Fast Facts

If you want to know more about fiber but don’t want to sort through the mountains of info out there, here are the fast facts on fiber, and how it can make for good heart health.

—Judy Mayer DTR

Fiber is a substance found only in plants. Dietary fiber is made up of two main types—insoluble & soluble. On a food label you will see the term “Dietary Fiber” – this includes both insoluble and soluble fibers. The average American gets only 11 grams of fiber in their daily diet. The recommendation is 25–35 grams!
 

Soluble fiber

This type is water-soluble. It fills you up faster and longer by forming a gel during digestion. It’s especially important for weight maintenance, blood sugar control in diabetes, and cholesterol reduction.

Good sources of soluble fiber

  • Oatmeal, rolled oats, oat bran, corn bran, rice bran, barley
  • Lentils, black-eyes peas, navy, lima, black, northern, pinto, garbanzo, kidney, and soy beans
  • Fruits like apples, citrus fruits, berries, apricots, raisins, bananas, cherries and grapes
  • Vegetables like carrots, green beans, cabbage, broccoli, squash, potatoes, cauliflower, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, asparagus and psyllium husk

Insoluble fiber

This type is water-insoluble so it promotes bowel regularity by adding bulk to digested foods. It acts like a brush in your large intestine by helping stool move through the body in less time. It’s believed to reduce risk of colon cancer.

Good sources of insoluble fiber

  • Whole wheat, whole grains and wheat bran
  • Vegetables, just about any kind
  • Most fresh and dried fruits

Fiber is important in the management of

  • Constipation
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney stones
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Colon cancer
  • High triglycerides
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Weight loss
  • Obesity

Recipes

Fruity Bran Muffins
Butternut and Barley Pilaf

 

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