Tuesday, February 19, 2013


The buzz word today is fiber! But what exactly does that little word mean for health?

Let's start off with explaining what fiber is. Dietary fiber, aka roughage, includes all parts of plant foods that your body can't digest or absorb. If it isn't absorbed, is there a point to eating it? Well, I am glad you asked! Fiber is best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. It is also important in helping to maintain weight and decrease your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cholesterol.

Fiber helps in weight loss?? Why yes it does! High-fiber foods generally require more chewing, which leads to less food intake, which leads to less overeating (generally speaking of course). Also, fiber keeps you fuller for longer, thus curbing your afternoon munchies.

Where do you find this magical fiber? It is simple! Dietary fiber is found mainly in fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Soluble fiber, dissolves in water, is found in oats, peas, apples, carrots, etc. Insoluble fiber, does not dissolve in water, is found in nuts, beans, cauliflower, and potatoes. You may want to stray from processed grains because the bran is stripped from the grain, thus lowering the fiber content. Also, keep your skin on your fruits and vegetables because that is where the majority of fiber lies.

Women under 50 years old should eat about 38 grams of fiber and men under 50 years old should eat about 25 grams of fiber. Women over 51 years need 30 grams, while men need about 21 grams (Institute of Medicine). Eating more than recommended can be beneficial; however, you might want to check-in with your bowels before doing so.

So, toss together that afternoon fiber attack with some carrots or an apple and keep your digestive system in check!