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August 2016

Focus on Fiber for Health

Fiber is most often associated with digestion and moving things along in your intestinal track. However, a fiber-rich diet has been linked to health benefits beyond digestion. These benefits include: controlling blood sugar levels, maintaining a healthy weight and combating high blood pressure. Fiber may also reduce the risk of cancer, improve cholesterol levels and support a strong immune system. Fiber is an essential part of a healthy eating plan and when it comes to getting enough, most people fall short.

Fiber Basics

  • Dietary fiber is found mainly in vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes.
  • Fiber is generally classified as soluble, which dissolves in water, or insoluble, which does not dissolve.  Both types are important for your health.
  • Most fiber-rich foods contain both types of fiber.  However, the amount of each type will vary depending on the food.
  • For the greatest health benefits, focus on a variety of fiber-rich foods. Fiber supplements may not provide the same health benefits as food.

Optimize Your Health with Fiber
Add up your fiber for the day.  If you fall short of the recommended amount, gradually add a variety of fiber-rich foods.

Focus on whole foods instead of supplements and be sure to drink more water when increasing your fiber.

Eat more Fruits and Vegetables:  Aim for 2-3 cups of vegetables and 1 1/2- 2 cups of fruit each day.  If you are diabetic, select more vegetables than fruit.

Grains:  Include 3-6 servings daily with at least half of your servings from whole grains.  Whole grains should provide at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.

Legumes:  Lentils, kidney beans & split peas are an excellent source of fiber and protein.  Try to have a minimum of once a week.

Nuts and Seeds:  Contribute some fiber & protein, however, are high in calories and may not be recommended with some medical conditions.

Get Your Daily Dose
Your fiber goal for the day is 21 grams (women) to 30 grams (men).

Fruits, vegetables & legumes with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving are considered to be “high” in fiber and include:
Apples, Pears, Blackberries, Raspberries, Lentils, Pinto Beans & Spinach

Those with at least 2.5-5 grams of fiber are considered to be “good” sources of fiber, such as:
Bananas, Blueberries, Oranges, Prunes, Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts

Fiber is listed on the Nutrition Facts label for a quick reference.



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