HIGH FIBER DIET. (Article - Web Site) August 20, 2003

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1 HIGH FIBER DIET (Article - Web Site) August 20, 2003 Dietary fiber, found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. It is important to note that fiber may also provide other health benefits such as reducing your risk of several diseases (such as diabetes and heart disease).. The current recommendations for the amount of fiber to be consumed each day are the following: : 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women, 50 and younger 30 grams for men and 21 grams for women, 51 and older What is fiber? Fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes all parts of plant foods that your body can not digest or absorb. Fiber is classified into two categories: Those that do not dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and those that do (soluble fiber).

2 Insoluble fiber this type of fiber moves through your digestive system more quickly than its counter part. Insoluble fiber can help promote soft, bulky stools. Whole wheat flour, nuts, vegetables, bran and fruits with edible seeds (such as raspberries), are good sources of insoluble fiber.. Soluble fiber this type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. You can find generous quantities of soluble fiber in oats, legumes, barley, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, and psyllium.. The amount of each type of fiber varies in different plant foods. To receive the greatest health benefit, it is best to eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods.. Benefits of bulking up Digestive enzymes can not break down fiber, unlike other food components such as fats, proteins, or carbohydrates, which your body breaks down and absorbs. Fiber passes virtually unchanged through your stomach and small intestine into your colon.. In the colon, bacteria ferments some forms of fiber. Other forms of fiber resist fermentation and pass in the stool unchanged, which increases the weight and size of your stool in addition to softening it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing the chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may also help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to the stool..

3 A high fiber diet may lower your risk of specific disorders such as hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, and the development of small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Fiber may also lower blood cholesterol levels and slow the absorption of sugar which, for people with diabetes, may decrease the need for insulin. A high-fiber diet may also reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes.. In addition, fiber may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Insoluble fiber speeds movement of digested food through your intestine. This may reduce the amount of time your colon is exposed to cancer-promoting substances. It is not yet clear whether other ingredients in fibrous foods or fiber alone helps protect against cancer. Eating a high-fiber diet may also help with weight control. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time which gives your body time to register when you are no longer hungry, so you are less likely to over eat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make your meal feel full for a greater amount of time, thereby decreasing the consumption of calories with your meal. Also, fiber helps slow down the digestive process which decreases rapid fluctutations in glucose and thereby insulin. Fiber foods are less energy dense which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food. How to boost your fiber intake The best sources of fiber are whole grain products, raw or cooked fruits and vegetables, and dried beans and peas. Refined or processed foods such as fruit juice, white bread and pasta, and non-whole grain cereals are lower in fiber content. The refining process removes

4 the outer coat (bran) from grain which lowers its fiber content. Similarly, removing the skin from fruits and vegetables decreases their fiber content. Whole foods rather than fiber supplements are generally best because fiber supplements, such as Metamucil, Citrucel, and FiberCon, do not provide the vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients that high-fiber foods do. However, some people may still need a fiber supplement if the dietary changes are not sufficient of if they have certain medical conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Check with your doctor if you feel you need to take fiber supplements. The list below shows the amount of dietary fiber in several types of foods. Other foods are good sources of fiber as well. You will need to read food labels to find the amount of dietary fiber in each product. It is very important to understand that high-fiber foods are good for your health but too much fiber too quickly can cause intestinal gas, bloating, and cramping. Therefore, it is advisable to increase the fiber in your diet gradually over a period of a few weeks. This allows natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change. Also, drink plenty of water. We recommend six to eight large glasses of water per day. Fiber works best when it absorbs water making your stool soft and bulky. Without the added water, you could become constipated. I have found that drinking a large glass of water with a high-fiber food, such as an apple, prior to a vigorous meal (which is the evening meal or supper) definitely makes me feel full. I consume less calories and this promotes weight loss.

5 Tips for fitting in fiber Start your day with a high-fiber breakfast cereal - five or more grams of fiber per serving or add a few tablespoons of unprocessed wheat bran to your favorite cereal Add bran cereal or unprocessed wheat bran to baked products such as meatloaf, breads, muffins, casseroles, cakes and cookies. You can also use bran products as a crunchy topping for casseroles, salads, or cooked vegetables Switch to whole grain breads. These breads list whole wheat, whole wheat flour, and other whole grain as the first ingredient on the label. Ideally, look for one with at least three grams of dietary fiber per serving Substitute whole grain flour for half or all of the white flour when baking bread. Whole grain flour is heavier than white flour. In yeast breads, use a bit more yeast or let the dough rise longer. When using baking powder, increase it by one teaspoon for every three cups of whole grain flour. Eat more whole grains and whole grain products. Experiment with brown rice, barley, whole wheat pasta, and bolgur Take advantage of ready-to-use vegetables. Mix broccoli into prepared spaghetti sauce. Snack on baby carrots Eat more beans, peas, and lentils. Add kidney beans to canned soup or a green salad. Make nachos with refried black beans, baked tortilla chips, and salsa. Eat fruit at every meal. Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and berries are good sources of fiber.

6 Make snacks count. Eat fresh and dried fruit, raw vegetables, and low-fat popcorn, whole grain crackers are all good choices. Fiber includes all parts of plant foods that your body can not digest or absorb. To receive the greatest health benefit, it is best to eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods. Digestive enzymes can not break down fiber. Fiber passes virtually unchanged through your stomach and small intestine into your colon. A high fiber diet can lower the risk of specific diseases. The best sources of fiber are whole grain products, raw or cooked fruits and vegetables, and dried beans and peas. Start your day with a high-fiber breakfast cereal

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