Tag Archives: fiber

Fantasic Fiber: Eat More Whole Grains

28 Mar

What is a whole grain?

Source

When grains are processed to become refined carbohydrates, the bran and germ are removed, removing the nutritive portion of the grain, leaving only the energy providing portion.

 Whole grains provide essential nutrients that processed grains do not: fiber, vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate) and minerals (iron, selenium [an antioxidant], magnesium). The USDA recommends you eat half of your starch servings as whole grains. I say, why waste calories on foods that don’t provide any health benefits [energy dense] when you can be providing your body with essential nutrients with every bite [nutrient dense]. In other words, I recommend ALWAYS chosing brown rice or quinoa over white.

 

Identifying whole grains:

  • Read labels – look for “100% whole wheat” as the first ingredient
  • “Whole grain” stamp on packages

Not just wheat: quinoa*, oats, corn*, amaranth*, barley, buckwheat*, brown rice*, wild rice*, rye, sorghum*, teff*, triticale

*gluten free

Fiber

Benefits:

  • Helps control blood sugar levels
  • Regulates bowel movements, maintains integrity of the gut
  • Aids with weight loss
  • Soluble fiber lowers cholesterol
  • May also reduce blood pressure and decrease inflammation in the body – factors in heart disease

 Soluble fiber: oats, barley, nuts, flaxseed, peas, beans, apple pulp, citrus fruits, strawberries, psyllium husk

  • Attracts water – turns to gel, slows digestion
  • Psyllium fiber supplement (Metamucil, Kyonsil) – take 1 teaspoon 3 times daily for cholesterol lowering benefits
  • Eating 15 grams of soluble fiber per day has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol by 10-15%
  • Slows the time that the contents move through the digestive tract – can help with diarrhea

Insoluble fiber: whole wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, vegetables, fruits, rice, apple skin

  • Has been associated with decreased cardiovascular risk and slower progression of cardiovascular disease
  • Prevents constipation by increasing time food moves through the intestine

When increasing your fiber intake, remember to increase gradually to avoid GI distress and drink plenty of fluids to keep your bowels regular!

 

 

v  Goal: 30-35 grams soluble + insoluble fiber per day