We know that we need to eat more fiber. But why? Fiber-rich foods like the skins of fruits and vegetables, the pectin in the flesh of apples, pears and bananas, and the gritty outer layers of whole grains provide our intestines with a workout. Research reveals that fiber helps our bodies control blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, as well as stave off certain cancers (like colorectal cancer). It can also help fend off excess weight gain by helping you feel full with fewer calories. This is precisely why fiber is on the public health radar screen.
Aim to get about 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories you eat (for a 2,000 calorie diet, that’s 28 grams a day). Fibrous foods like whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables contain more than just fiber -- they also have plant-based chemicals called phytonutrients, as well as vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, and potassium, as well as plant protein. These are all great for your health!
Try upping the fiber in your favorite recipes, side dishes, and desserts. Next time you go grocery shopping, plan to fill your cart with a variety of fiber-rich foods.
Go for the fiber!
By Victoria Shanta Retelny, RD, LDN, author of The Essential Guide to Healthy Healing Foods.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing in a professional capacity for the past 10 years. In addition to her work as an editor, Ronco has also served as a ghostwriter and writing tutor. A voracious reader, Ronco loves watching language evolve and change. When she’s not delving into her latest project, Ronco can be found teaching acting classes, performing in community theater, or sailing with her husband.