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rough up your diet


(NU) - Fiber -- you know it’s good for you. But if you’re like many Americans, you don’t get enough. Most of us get less than half the recommended amount of fiber each day.


Dietary fiber is found in the plants you eat, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It’s sometimes called “bulk” or “roughage.” You’ve probably heard that it can help with digestion. So it may seem odd that fiber is a substance your body can’t digest.


“You might think that if it’s not digestible, then it’s of no value. But there’s no question that higher intake of fiber from all food sources is beneficial,” says Dr. Joanne Slavin, a nutrition scientist at the University of Minnesota.


Fiber can relieve constipation and normalize your bowel movements. Some studies suggest that high-fiber diets might also help with weight loss and reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.


Experts recommend that men get about 38 grams of fiber a day and that women get about 25 grams. Unfortunately, in the United States, we take in an average of only 14 grams each day.


Different types of fiber might affect your health in different ways. Soluble fiber can help lower blood sugar and cholesterol. It’s found in oat bran, beans, peas, and most fruits. Insoluble fiber can treat or prevent constipation and diverticular disease, which affects the colon. It’s found in wheat bran and some vegetables.


“In general, people should not be too concerned by the specific type of fiber,” says Dr. Somdat Mahabir, a nutrition and disease expert with the National Institutes of Health. “The focus should be more on eating diets that are rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits to get the daily fiber requirement.”


Experts recommend that you get most of your fiber from these natural sources since they’re also packed with vitamins and other nutrients. Many packaged foods tout added fibers, such as inulin, polydextrose, or maltodextrin. But their health benefits are still unclear. Research suggests they may not have the same effects as the intact fibers found in whole foods.


Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts to add a mix of different fibers and a wide range of nutrients to your diet. Increase your intake gradually, so your body can get used to it. Adding fiber slowly will help you avoid gas, bloating, and cramps.


8 | ROCHESTER HEALTHY LIVING | APRIL 2011 SIGNATURE CARE


The Caregiver Education & Support Project


For those caring for a loved onewithAlzheimer’s


Interested in FREE training, support and respite care for you and your loved one?VisitingNurse SignatureCare and theAlzheimer'sAssociation invite you to take a class to help you learn skills to enhance the care you provide to your loved one.


For specific class dates and times, or to register, please contact theAlzheimer's Association at (585) 760-5400.Or visit ourwebsite atwww.vnsnet.com.


Tis programis funded by the UnitedWay ofGreater Rochester.


Here’s a Mayo Clinic list of the top 10 fiber- filled foods. Read nutrition labels to determine how much is in your favorite foods. Women should try to eat at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber a


day, while men should aim for 30 to 38 grams a day. FOOD


Split peas, cooked Lentils, cooked


Black beans, cooked Lima beans, cooked


Baked beans, vegetarian, canned,


cooked Artichoke, cooked Peas, cooked Raspberries


Spaghetti, whole-wheat, cooked


Barley, pearled, cooked


1 cup 1 cup 1 cup 1 cup


1 cup


1 medium 1 cup 1 cup


1 cup


16.3 15.6 15.0 13.2


10.4


10.3 8.8 8.0


6.2


VNS Alzheimer RHLM Ad:Layout 1 3/6/11 12:33 PM Page 1 1 cup


6.0


SERVING SIZE TOTAL FIBER (grams)


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