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Could Low Fiber be Your Problem? Fiber Facts

Submitted by on Friday, 14 May 2010One Comment

fiberWestern diets generally provide 10 grams of fiber per day, more or less. So-called primitive societies consume 40-60 grams per day.

Those numbers, from Nutritional Research, speak volumes about what could be seriously the matter with the modern diet. Low fiber has been connected to diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and more.

Two Kinds of Fiber
There are two kinds of fiber–soluble and insoluble–both found in plant foods such as grains, nuts, and seeds as well as in fruits and vegetables. Both are necessary for good health, and luckily most plant foods contain both kinds.

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water (the hull around grains is a good example of this). It works to balance the intestinal pH and to move bulk through the intestines, thereby limiting toxins in waste. Soluble fiber, such as oat bran, become glutinous in contact with water. The fiber reduces the emptying time of the stomach so that sugar is released more slowly.

OK, so, you want to increase your fiber. What do you need to eat in order to get 60 grams of fiber a day? Prepare to be astonished.

Here are a few scenarios, using the fiber chart in my new book True Food, with Melissa Breyer and Wendy Gordon. (You can also find a chart of dietary fiber on the Internet.)

Scenario One
1 cup buckwheat flour (12)
1 cup cooked beans (12)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (11)
1 cup cooked broccoli (5)
1 medium avocado (8)
1 banana (3)
1 cup cooked sweet potato (8)
1 plum (1)
= 60 grams of fiber

Scenario Two, without beans
1 cup cooked brown rice (7)
1 cup broccoli (5)
1 cup cooked oats (4)
1 artichoke (5)
1 cup asparagus (5)
1 cup kohlrabi (3)
1 cup cooked zucchini (4)
1 sweet potato (8)
1 orange (3)
1 pear (4)
1 mango (4)
1 avocado (8)
= 60 grams of fiber

How many of you reach such a number in your day? If you are overweight, diabetic, have high blood pressure, you might want to start tracking your fiber!

By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).

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