Forget the fountain of youth! According to a new report from the National Cancer Institute people who eat high fiber diets are 22% less likely to die from chronic disease. High fiber diets were associated with lower risk for heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes and obesity. This study also revealed that fiber-rich diets reduced risk for the development of cancers in men, but not significantly for women. Fiber in the diet helps to lower cholesterol, aids in blood sugar regulation and is critical to bowel regularity. Dietary fiber also boosts immune health by supporting beneficial bacteria that reside in the intestines.
Americans average about 15g fiber daily. Dietary recommendations for fiber are 25g per day for women and 30g per day for men. Those study participants who ate fiber levels closer to these recommendations were less likely to develop chronic disease leading to death. Increased incidence of chronic disease and death related to these chronic diseases was found in those study participants who routinely ate lower fiber diets.
Fiber is found in a variety of foods, but the greatest percentage of fiber in the American diet comes from whole grain foods. Beans, vegetables and fruit are all good sources of dietary fiber.
Tips for increasing fiber in your diet:
1. Trade whole grain foods for refined grains: Whole grain cereals (like oatmeal, shredded wheat and bran flakes), whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta and brown rice.
2. Eat “whole foods”. Choose to eat a whole piece of fruit or vegetables instead of drinking juice.
3. Eat more beans. Top salads with beans. Add beans to your favorite recipes.
4. Fortify with fiber. Adding ground flaxseed or oat bran can boost your fiber intake. Try adding these foods to oatmeal, mix in your meatloaf, or sprinkle on top of salads.
5. Increase your fiber intake slowly to allow your digestive system time to adjust to your new, higher fiber intake. Drink plenty of water / fluid (fiber attracts fluid in the intestines, so your fluid needs will increase). Also, take advantage of fiber fortified foods – but do so with care. Many fiber fortified foods can cause significant gas and bloating. Your best bet is to eat foods that are naturally good sources of fiber.
Flavorful Fiber-ful Menu and Recipes
Breakfast (Fiber 7g):
Fruit and Cinnamon Oatmeal
1 1/2 cup Water
1 tbsp. Meijer Orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup Chopped unpeeled tart apple
1/4 cup Sliced firm banana
1/4 cup Raisins
1/4 tsp. Salt, optional
1/8 tsp. McCormick Ground cinnamon
1 cup Meijer Naturals Old Fashioned oats
1 tbsp. Hodgson Mills ground flaxseed
2 tsp. Meijer brown sugar
1. In a saucepan, combine water, orange juice concentrate, apple, banana, raisins, salt and cinnamon; bring to a boil.
2. Stir in oats and flaxseed. Cook for 5 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with brown sugar if desired.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 208, Fat: 3g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 306 mg, Carbohydrates: 43g, Fiber: 7g, Protein 4g.
Lunch (14g Fiber):
Chicken Salad Pita and Fresh Pears
1 lb cooked chicken breast (such as from Meijer Rotisserie chicken)
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 green onion, sliced
1/2 cup shelled edamame (thawed if frozen, garbanzo or other beans may be substituted)
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup fat free milk
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
3 each whole wheat pita (6 halves)
6 Romaine Lettuce leaves
1. Shred chicken into medium large bowl.
2. Add celery, green onions, dried cherries, edamame and slivered almonds. Stir to mix.
3. Make dressing: Whisk together mayonnaise, milk, pepper and salt.
4. Pour dressing over chicken salad and mix well. CHILL.
5. Serve in pita halves lined with washed and dried Romaine lettuce leaves.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories 388, Fat 12g, Cholesterol 70mg, Sodium 420mg, Carbohydrate 39g, Fiber 9.5g, Protein 31g.
Recipe adapted from Meijer.mealbox.com
Serve with a fresh, ripe pear (82 Calories, Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0g, Sodium 1mg, Carbohydrate 22g, Fiber 4.5g, Protein 0.5g).
Dinner (12g Fiber): Pasta Carbonara served with Salad Greens and Mixed Berries
1/2 tbsp. Meijer olive oil
8 ounces fresh mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup fat free milk
1 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 lb. diced ham (or 5 slices diced pancetta)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti (cooked according to package directions)
1. In medium saucepan cook mushrooms in hot oil over medium-high heat until crisp tender (about 5 minutes).
2. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.
3. Add flour and milk; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until slightly thickened.
4. Gradually stir in thyme, pepper, peas, pancetta and cheese, stirring constantly until heated.
5. Toss with cooked spaghetti and serve immediately.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories 268, Fat 9g, Cholesterol 39 mg, Sodium 728mg, Carbohydrate 29g, Fiber 7g, Protein 21g.
Salad Greens with Garlic Vinaigrette
2 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. Meijer olive oil
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 bag Dole mixed salad greens
1. In bottom of salad bowl mash garlic and salt together with fork until they form smooth paste.
2. Add olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and pepper. Whisk dressing with fork until combined.
3. Season to taste with additional salt, if desired.
4. Add lettuce and toss well; top with halved cherry tomatoes and serve immediately.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories 80, Fat 7g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 190mg, Carbohydrates 3g, Fiber 2g, Protein 0.5g.
Serve with 1 cup fresh mixed berries topped with a dollop of Greek style vanilla yogurt (3g fiber)
Menu Total Fiber: 33g fiber/day
Posted on Wed, February 23, 2011
by Healthy Living Dietitians