The Why Behind Dietary Fiber Dietary fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet. You’ve probably heard on several occasions that fiber is an essential component of every good diet and that it’s good for your health. But, why?Dietary fiber — found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes — is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. But foods containing fiber can provide other health benefits as well, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. Selecting tasty foods that provide fiber is not a difficult task. Find out how much dietary fiber you need, the foods that contain it, and how to add them to meals and snacks. What is dietary fiber? Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes the parts of plant foods your body can't digest or absorb. Unlike other food components, such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fiber isn't digested by your body. Instead, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine and colon and out of your body. Benefits of a high-fiber diet The benefits of fiber are incredible to your body.
- Fiber normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool.
- Fiber helps maintain bowel health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Studies have also found that a high-fiber diet likely lowers the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Fiber lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or "bad," cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that high-fiber foods may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
- Fiber helps control blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, fiber — particularly soluble fiber — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Fiber aids in achieving healthy weight. High-fiber foods tend to be more filling than low-fiber foods, so you're likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer. And high-fiber foods tend to take longer to eat and to be less "energy dense," which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
- And finally, fiber helps you live longer. Studies suggest that increasing your dietary fiber intake — especially cereal fiber — is associated with a reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and all cancers.
- Whole-grain products
- Beans, peas and other legumes
- Nuts and seeds
Looking for healthy game day recipes to celebrate the Super Bowl this Sunday? Take a look at a few of the resources we put together for you to help you keep track of your diet while watching the game. The Food Network: The Food Network has put together a great “Made-Over Game-Day Classics" selection to keep you healthy. Food & Wine: The Food & Wine website has listed several “healthy game day snacks” and recipes associated with each. Health.com: Health.com offers healthy alternatives to your favorite Super Bowl options. Love and Lemons: This great little blog put together a few recipes to keep you thinking about healthier options during game day. Hope you have a wonderful and healthy game day celebration!
We all know that eating fruits and vegetables is great for your health and excellent for your diet, but do you know how many you should really be eating? People who eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help lower their risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. Eating healthy can also help prevent obesity and high blood pressure. That said, most people are still lacking the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables they should actually be eating. Did you know,
- Fewer than 1 in 4 adults eat the recommended amount of fruits every day.
- Fewer than 1 in 7 adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables every day.
Adopting a healthy diet is not always as easy as it sounds. And even harder, is figuring out where to start? As you consider the parade of healthy diets in magazines and cookbooks, consider looking at the following to help you make sure you’re on the right healthy eating tract. Ensure your food:
- Includes a variety of foods from the major food groups: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein including beans and other legumes, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats
- Provides guidelines for how much food to choose from each group
- Includes foods you can find in your local grocery store — rather than specialty or gourmet store items
- Fits your tastes, lifestyle and budget
Delicious food for the Super Bowl is an American staple. And when you think about Super Bowl parties and Super Bowl food you generally think of fatty unhealthy dishes and dips. Why not come up with a winning/healthy “food game plan”. Take a look at our list of healthy Super Bowl snacks. This is a great list of 11 healthy super bowl snacks that will help you stick with your diet during the super bowl (and football season in general) but still keep those at your Super Bowl party happy. Ask us for more tips on staying healthy during this unhealthy eating Super Bowl season.