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Now I realize fiber isn’t a very sexy topic, but it sure is important! 

What is fiber? Technically, it’s the undigestible portion of plant foods that helps other foods move through the digestive system. The category of fiber includes cellulose and is a non-starch polysaccharide (which is a category of carbohydrates). 

What are the health benefits of fiber? Among other things, tt lowers the occurance of obesity, diabetes, digestive disorders, colon cancer, and heart disease. The recommendation for fiber is 25-38 grams, but most Americans average only 12-15 grams! There are two main types of fiber, insoluble and soluble, and the recommended ratio of consumption is 3:1.

Insoluble fiber has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease. The water-attracting properties increase bulk and help regulate your bowel movements. Sources include whole wheat, bran, flax, certain vegetables, and nuts and seeds. Soluble fiber can reduce LDL cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar. Sources include oats, oat bran, beans, peas, legumes, barley, citrus fruits, and strawberries. 

So now we understand why fiber is good for your health. But how can fiber help you lose or maintain weight? Fiber increases satiety (by slowing the emptying of your digestive tract) and provides bulk. An increase in fiber intake also leads to drinking more water, which often helps with snacky feelings that aren’t true hunger. 

So how should you increase your fiber intake?

  • Choose whole wheat options whenever possible. Make sure the first ingredient on the ingredient list is some type of whole grain (not enriched flour).
  • Increase your intake of fruits (especially raspberries!) and vegetables, both at meals and snack times. 
  • Eat more beans, peas, and lentils. These have the highest fiber levels!
  • Increase your intake of nuts and seeds (with portion control, of course, as these foods are calorie-dense).
  • Choose a high-fiber, low-sugar cereal for breakfast in the morning or as an afternoon snack. 
  • Use whole-grain, high-fiber ingredients in unexpected places: crush up crackers or cereal to make a breading for chicken or fish, add wheat germ or pulverized oats to any type of cookie or pancake batter, and use whole-grain flour when you bake.

However, be mindful to increase your fiber intake slowly, and make sure you subsequently increase your intake of water. 

And for a tasty, fiberful treat, head over to Meghann’s blog and try her recipe for Apple & Pork Stuffed Acorn Squash! This tasty recipe is well-balanced and includes good fiber sources such as acorn squash, apple, bulgur, and pecans.

Welcome from Oh She Glows!

Hello to my readers! I know Angela posted a link to this blog in her morning post, and I’d like to extend a welcome to any of her readers and thank them for stopping by. If you’d like, please leave me a comment telling me what you like or don’t like about the blog and anything that you would like to see!