Fiber from the Farm: Natural Sources Give Extra Health Benefits

A new phase of food marketing has been the fiber health halo. Added to cereals, drinks, and packaged snack bars, companies promote these products as a prime way to get your daily fiber intake. Have you ever seen an ad for fruits, vegetables, or beans promoting their fiber content? Me neither, but these whole foods contain natural sources of fiber plus important vitamins and minerals: an added bonus! Try to use these nutrient dense sources to get your fiber fill. Not only will they keep you full for a longer period of time when eating, but they also lower your risk of heart disease and obestity…something fiber additives aren’t yet proven to do. Here are some of the fiber counts in these healthier foods:

  • Pear: 5 g fiber
  • Medium apple: 4 g
  • (1/2 C ) lentils: 7 g
  • 1 C Raspberreies: 8 g
  • 23 Almonds: 3.5 g
  • Whole wheat bread: 1.5 g
  • 1 C Broccoli: 5.1 g

Soluble fiber, like that from the foods listed above,  is the kind of fiber that dissolves within your digestive tract. It will slow down how quickly the body absorbs sugar and fat. In turn, this can help lower insulin levels, cholesterol, an blood sugar, a benefit that fiber supplements with insoluble fiber can’t match.

To make a great fiber filled dish, experiment with international dishes like Indian dahl which uses lots of veggies and lentils. As a side dish, have a fruit platter or a dish of almonds. Take advantage of the plethora of summer produce: summer squash, tomatoes, berries, and corn and ask your friends for their favorite recipes. For easy snacking, chop veggies and keep them in the fridge for easy access.

By getting your daily fiber from whole foods instead of supplements, you will be more satisfied from a delicious meal and you’ll get the vitamins and minerals that a fiber bar just won’t give you.

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