Fiber Rich Foods
I had a problem with constipation when I was pregnant. My OBGyn told me that I need to eat some food that are rich in fiber. By the way, I don’t like to eat vegetables because I felt like I was a goat during those times. Funny, isn’t it? So my doctor gave me a list of foods that are rich in fiber. However, I got more interested in finding out the details about this dietary fiber. I made my own research. This is what I want to share with you in this article. I want to focus more on a high fiber diet that is good for our health. Sometimes many of us don’t realize the potential benefits of having enough fiber diet
But before we go any further, let us try to understand first “What is fiber?”
The term “fiber” (also spelled as fibre in British) comes from the Latin word fibra , meaning thread, string, filament, or entrails. According to the Medilexicon medical dictionary, dietary fiber means “Nutrients in the diet that are not digested by gastrointestinal enzymes.” 1 It is also called as “roughage” in some medical references. In laymen’s term, I shall define “fiber” as the nutrients or supplements needed to help regulate the digestive system for our common understanding. It is also said to be the indigestible portion of plant foods that pushes through the digestive system, absorbs water and eases defecation .2
So, “Why do we need fiber?”
Many of us know that pregnant women really needs fiber intake. It will help support the regularity of our bowel movement. A high fiber food along with adequate fluid makes it easier for the digestive system to function properly. It will prevent constipation, which is a normal problem during pregnancy. This means that it can also help prevent possible colon or rectal cancer.
Furthermore, this type of nutrients can help reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes.3 It is said to help maintain a normal blood sugar level. It is also said that it can help maintain a normal cholesterol level. This means that fiber is also good for those who have problems with high blood.
According to the Editors of Health Magazine (2002), “Eating fiber foods such as legumes can help lower cholesterol by as much as 33 percent.. . Fruits, veggies and even nuts are good first-line defense against high cholesterol.4
Some parents tend to forget to instill in the minds of their children about the nutritional importance of fiber. According to the American Diabetic Association, the typical American eats only about 11 grams of fiber a day. Health experts recommend a minimum of 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day for most people.5 However, it would be advisable if you consult your family doctors about your fiber intake.
Now you might asked, “What are the sources of fiber? What foods are high in fiber?”
It is known that some vegetables, fruits and grains are good sources of fiber. You may refer to the list for a high fiber diet.
- Juice or beverages - I tried drinking prune juice, which helps me with my digestive system. My doctor also recommended “Nectar Juice.” We should also take note that we need to drink enough water to supplement our fluid intake.
- Bread, Cereal and Grains - Some recommended foods are whole grain and wheat bread, bran cereals, oatmeal, pasta, and brown rice. I have tried eating whole grain old fashioned oatmeal for breakfast. One serving already contains 25 grams of fiber based on its nutritional facts. It is really good every morning.
- Fruits - Fresh fruits such as prune and papaya are recommended as high fiber diet. Dried fruits such as apricots and figs are also good sources of fiber.
- Vegetables – Green leafy vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage are high in fiber. The Sav-on Health Book listed the following top ten most nutritious vegetables as follows: broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, lima beans, peas, asparagus, artichokes, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and carrots.6 Just want to share with you that I now eat vegetables every week.
- DairyProducts – Some cooked dried beans, peas, lentils and chunky peanut butter were also suggested to me. However, I have to say goodbye to ice cream and cheese because it is said to be low in fiber that may also aggravate constipation.
Actually, there are still a lot more things that we can talk about dietary fiber. I would also like to refer you to the website of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the nutritional facts of some specific fruits and vegetables.
1 www.medicalnewstoday.com (2009), What is Fiber?
2 www.wikipedia.org, Dietary Fiber
3 www.mayoclinic.com, High Fiber Foods
4 Editors of Health Magazine (2002), Women’s Health Wisdom, Oxmoor House Inc., Alabama
5 www.highfiberdiet.net, High Fiber Diet
6 Editors of Health Magazine (2001), The Sav-on Health : Self-Care Advisor, Time Inc Health, Alabama
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About the Author: Tina is a Psychology and Business Management Graduate. She also studied Guidance and Counseling that enhanced her skills. As a...