Here’s To Your Health

While fiber has been consistently promoted for its health benefits, it hasn’t been touted as a desirable part of the supermarket until recently. Popular products such as cereal bars and even artificial sweeteners now boast the ability to supply a good amount of fiber.

Dietary fiber has a long-standing history of its ability to aid in the digestive process, but there are other significant health benefits of fiber, as documented in numerous scientific studies  These benefits range from helping in the prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes to reducing the incidence of obesity and improving bowel function.

Not all fibers are alike, but each type contributes to our health. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, oat bran, legumes, and some fruits and vegetables slows the rate of food and nutrient  absorption by attracting water in the stomach and small intestines. This form of fiber also has been found to reduce cholesterol and help control glucose. Insoluble fiber, found in wheat bran, nuts, fruit skins and some vegetables, acts as a natural laxative, speeding the transit time of food through the stomach and intestines. It’s best to consider total grams of fiber when looking at nutrition labels.

Fiber intakes in the United States are generally low, and manufacturers are adding fiber to

Foods and beverages. This is beneficial since typical fiber intakes are only half the

Recommended Daily Dietary Values of fiber. The average American consumes 15 grams of dietary fiber per day—far below the recommended 25 grams daily for adult women and 38 grams per day for adult men.

Many shoppers are led to believe that all cereals and breads containing whole grains are high

In fiber, but that is not always the case Just because a label says “made with whole grains” does not mean the product contains 100 per cent whole grains. The manufacturer can throw in a small amount of whole grains in addition to a substantial amount of refined grains. It’s important for consumers to recognize that the good labeling guidelines we have ensure that “a

good source of fiber” on the label means the food has a minimum of 3 grams of fiber per serving  Shoppers need to look for the words “whole grain” as the first ingredient listed on the label. Also be wary of products that contain hydrogenated oils and large amounts of added sugar. Sodium levels should also be considered when selecting a high-quality bread or cereal. Suggestions for increasing dietary fiber in the diet is to top high-fiber cereal with slivered almonds or having a high-fiber cereal for breakfast instead of a donut or sausage biscuit.  When increasing fiber in your diet do so gradually and stay well hydrated to prevent stomach cramping and constipation. At first, women should aim for about 5 grams of fiber at each meal and 1-2 grams for snacks. Men should aim for 7 grams of fiber for each meal and 2-3 grams for

snacks. Try this recipe for Homemade Muesli to increase daily fiber! Each recipe makes about 4 cups and can be stored in an airtight container for several months. Each ½ cup of Muesli contains 200 calories and 7 grams fiber. Add ½ cup Muesli to 1 cup water, and add a dash of vanilla, if desired. Microwave on high for 3 minutes and enjoy!

Ingredients

2cups old fashioned rolled oats

½ cup red currants

½ cup golden raisins

½ cup dried apricots

¼ cup slivered almonds

¼ cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Stir ingredients until well mixed . Store in an airtight container.