Ping Yahoo Fiber ~ HEALTH CARE

Friday, February 26, 2010


Dietary fiber is found in plant foods (fruit, vegetables and whole grains) and is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Fiber helps support a healthy diet by:

  • Helping you feel fuller faster and longer, which can help prevent overeating.
  • Keeping blood sugar levels even, by slowing digestion and absorption so that glucose (sugar) enters the bloodstream slowly and steadily.
  • Maintaining a healthy colon - the simple organic acids produced when fiber is broken down in the digestive process helps to nourish the lining of the colon.

The two types of fiber are soluble and insoluble:

  • Soluble fiber can dissolve in water and can also help to lower blood fats and maintain blood sugar. Primary sources are beans, fruit and oat products.
  • Insoluble fiber cannot dissolve in water, so it passes directly through the digestive system. It’s found in whole grain products and vegetables.

A healthy diet should contain approximately 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day, but most of us only get about half of that amount.

Vegetables and Fruits: Vitamin, antioxidant and fiber powerhouses

Vegetables and FruitsFruits and vegetables are low in calories and are packed with vitamins, minerals, protective plant compounds and fiber. They are a great source of nutrients and vital for a healthy diet.

Fruits and vegetables should be part of every meal, and be your first choice for a snack. Eat a minimum of five portions each day. The antioxidants and other nutrients in these foods help protect against developing certain types of cancer and other diseases.

Greens: Dark leafy green vegetables are a vital part of a healthy diet since they are packed with nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, and Vitamins A, C, E and K. Greens help to strengthen the blood and respiratory systems. They are currently the most lacking food in the American diet. Be adventurous in your choice of greens: kale, mustard greens, broccoli, Chinese cabbage are just a few of the many options.

Sweet Vegetables: Naturally sweet vegetables are an excellent way to add healthy sweetness to your meals and reduce your cravings for other sweets. Some examples of sweet vegetables are corn, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes or yams, winter squash, and onions.

Fruit: Eating a wide variety of fruit is another very healthy part of any diet. They provide us with beneficial properties such as natural sugars, fiber, Vitamins and antioxidants. Choose fresh or frozen, and focus on variety. Berries are cancer-fighting, apples provide fiber, oranges and mangos offer vitamin C, and so on.

Go for the brights: The brighter, deeper colored fruits and vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Avoid: Fruit juices can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar per cup; avoid or dilute with water. Canned fruit often contains sugary syrup, and dried fruit, while an excellent source of fiber, can be high in calories. Avoid fried veggies or ones smothered in dressings or sauces – you may still get the vitamins, but you’ll be getting a lot of unhealthy fat and extra calories as well.

Support your health and the environment by eating locally-grown food

Eating fresh food is an important part of a healthy diet. It has become standard practice for fruits and vegetables to be shipped across the country or even across the world before they arrive on our supermarket shelves. Locally-grown food is fresher than what you'll find in the supermarket, which means that is tastier and more nutritious. And since the food travels a shorter distance to get to you, it is better for the environment and helps us reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Following are some ideas on easy ways to increase your consumption of fresh local foods.

  1. Visit a local farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets are springing up all over the U.S. They usually offer a wide variety of products such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, baked goods, eggs, and meat. Small farmers care about their land and the health of their farms, so even if they are not “certified organic” the food they produce is of a very high quality.
  2. Join a Community Supported Agriculture group (CSA). A CSA is partnership between a local farm and its members who sign up and pay in advance for a box of goods that they will receive on a regular basis (typically once a week). These partnerships help farms receive a better price for their products while giving you a wide variety of fresh local produce.


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