Saturday, July 24, 2010

Are you eating enough fiber?

High fiber diets are associated with some tremendous health benefits. Fiber reduces the risk of the two most common causes of death: heart disease and cancer. Dietary fiber helps to lower cholesterol levels, aids in the elimination of toxins from the body, reduces risk of colon cancer and several hormonal cancers and can improve conditions associated with hormonal excess such as fibroids or endometriosis.

Check the fiber content of the foods in your diet to determine if you're obtaining an adequate amount. We should aim for at least 40g of fiber each day.

Here is the fiber content of some common foods:

10 g of fiber:
     1/2 cup oat or wheat bran
     2 1/2 tbsp psyllium
     1 cup split peas
     1 1/4 cup lentils
     1/4 cup navy beans

5g of fiber
     2 tbsp ground flaxseed
     1 tbsp chia seeds
     1/4 cup nuts
     1/2 cup prunes

2g of fiber:
     1 serving of a fruit or vegetable
     1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
     1/2 cup cooked brown rice
To increase the fiber content of your diet, start slow and beware of fibers that you may not tolerate well such as wheat or psyllium. Consider having oat bran for breakfast, baking some high fiber muffins, adding flax to your smoothies, salads or sauces, eating more beans and lentils and of course, increasing your veggie intake.

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