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The Health Benefits of Fiber

posted on July 10, 2013

The Health Benefits of Fiber1

Fiber is a nutrient that many of us know is important, but we don't know much about it.

Fiber refers to carbohydrates that your body cannot digest. It's also called "roughage" or "bulk." Fiber is what makes carrots and peanuts crunchy, it makes bread chewy and provides the bulk in lettuce and the thickness in split pea soup. Fiber is present in all plants that are eaten for food, including fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes.

Not all fiber is the same. Soluble fiber partially dissolves in water. Good sources of soluble fiber include oats, dried beans and certain fruits such as apples and oranges. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. Vegetables, wheat bran and other whole grains are good sources of insoluble fiber. Foods that are high in fiber are usually low in calories and fat and have other important nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

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Add Fiber to Your Diet

  • Eat a whole grain cereal for breakfast. Or mix a high-fiber cereal, such as bran, with your favorite ready-to-eat or hot cereal.

  • Top cereal and pancakes with fresh or frozen blueberries, peaches or strawberries.

  • Eat whole fruits more often than drinking juice since fiber is found mainly in the peel and pulp.

  • Mix chopped dried fruits and nuts into chicken or turkey salads.

  • Use whole-wheat varieties of bread, pita bread, or tortillas for sandwiches.

  • Eat a salad or stir fried vegetables for dinner.

  • Add garbanzo beans, kidney beans, or other beans to salads.

  • Top a baked potato with salsa or broccoli or other chopped vegetables. Eat the potato skin too.

  • Snack on fresh vegetables, like carrot sticks, broccoli florets, or red pepper strips, dipped in a low-fat ranch dressing.

  • Increase the fiber in soups, stews, main dishes, lasagnas and casseroles by adding chopped vegetables and legumes.

  • Try a whole-wheat or whole grain variety of pasta.

  • Snack on a handful of nuts (in moderation), soynuts, dried fruit, grape tomatoes or a bowl of popcorn.

  • Top fresh fruit with vanilla yogurt for dessert.

  • Serve fat-free bean dips with tortilla chips for a snack.

  • Substitute legumes for meat two to three times per week in chili and soups.

  • Bake with whole-wheat flour by replacing half of the regular flour with whole-wheat flour.

  • Try international foods (such as Indian or Middle Eastern) that use whole grains and legumes as part of the main meal or in salads.

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If you have any questions in regards to the information contained in this article, contact Kuakini Health System's Marketing and Public Relations Office at 547-9168.

1Excerpts from The Health Benefits of Fiber,

* The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. The information on this webpage does not constitute medical, nursing or other professional health care advice or diagnosis and should not be relied upon for treatment. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. First Hawaiian Bank expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of any decision made or action taken based on your reliance on the information contained in this site.

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