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Hot, Sexy, Essential... that's right I-m talking about Fiber

written by Maddy K.

"Fiber" is a subject I managed to keep off my radar until I reached my thirties.  It seemed, frankly, like a concern for older people, or people who had complications with regularity. But several years ago, as I was beginning to realize I would have to work harder, look around a little further, to stay in shape, I picked up a book that got me to start thinking as seriously as I probably always should have about the benefits of fiber and the dangers of avoiding it.

My first attraction to fiber, few of you will be surprised to hear, was its helpfulness with weight loss.  It keeps you feeling fuller for longer, helps regulate blood sugars and cravings, and aids in efficient digestion. People who get more fiber just tend to weigh less.

My recommended daily allowance, it turns out, is 25 grams.  Which didn't seem that high.  I figured I was probably already getting it, and I felt grateful for being at least that healthy in the way I do things naturally.  But keeping track of the fiber content in what I ate for the next few days brought me down a peg or two and got me serious about learning how to keep optimal levels of fiber in my diet.

Turns out I was only getting 10-12 grams of fiber a day-less than half of what I should have been.   Which, however, turns out not to be that much of a problem at all, because there is fiber everywhere and it isn't hard to make getting enough of it second nature.


Here are some of the things I didn't mind eating that I brought in right away:

  • 1 large apple = 5 grams
  • 1 cup of black beans = 16 grams
  • 1 cup of raspberries: 8 grams
  • 1 serving of Quinoa = 5 grams

I was also reminded that switching to whole grains makes a big difference to fiber intake-which in itself was not news.  But I was surprised to learn things like how easy it is to choose brown rice and whole grained pasta a lot of the time.  In the beginning, at least-and still a little from time to time-I ended up making a little game of finding small changes I could make throughout the day to get more fiber and then visualizing the great things it was doing for my organs, my skin, my weight.

For ten years now I've been getting good levels of fiber without really giving it any thought.  It's one of the easiest things you can do to make a big difference in your health.




Here's more to motivate you:
  • Harvard School of Public Health found that including high amounts of fiber in the diet could help prevent heart disease, diabetes and diverticular disease.
  • A study by the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that women who ate at an average of 26 grams of fiber live the longest.
  • The National Fiber Council says that fiber may help you avoid heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure and some cancers. Fiber also holds the potential to improve existing health conditions, particularly diabetes.
  • The National Fiber Council mentions that fiber leaves you feeling full faster, meaning you may not eat as much. The full feeling may last longer than other types of food. Foods with high fiber content often have fewer calories as the same amount of lower fiber food. A diet including healthier, fiber-filled foods typically means you'll consume fewer foods with less health value, such as fatty or high-calorie junk food.
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