It may not be the first thing most people think about when it comes to looking fit and living healthfully, but dietary fiber can be good for just about every, well, fiber of your being. These facts may provide you with some food for thought on adding more fiber to your diet.

How To Add Fiber To Your Diet

It’s wise to get fiber from the food you eat. To do so, pick foods that are naturally high in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and products that have been fortified with added fiber. Read the labels of the foods you buy and try to find those that provide 10 percent or more of the Daily Value for fiber. Eat a variety of different types of dietary fibers to get all of the benefits dietary fibers have to offer.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to find foods that are high in fiber. Lately, the food industry has begun adding dietary fibers to a myriad of foods and beverages that people enjoy every day. Added dietary fibers can now be found in yogurt, cereals, breads, fruit juices, milk, tortillas, baked goods, and nutrition supplement bars and beverages.

However, it’s important to remember that people should try to eat a variety of different types of dietary fibers to get all the benefits that dietary fibers have to offer.

Why To Add Fiber To Your Diet

The health benefits of dietary fiber include:

• Weight management: Scientific studies consistently show that the more fiber in your diet, the lower your risk of obesity.

• Improved digestion: Some dietary fibers can help regulate your digestion and help your intestines defend you from germs.

• Lower cholesterol: Certain dietary fibers reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to lower blood cholesterol.

• Reduced glycemic response: Some dietary fibers can slow down the absorption of glucose and lower the glycemic effect of food.

• Healthy microflora: Some dietary fibers can give a boost to the beneficial bacteria in the intestine (and defeat the bad ones) to help them fight inflammation and possibly even cancer.

• Increased mineral absorption: Certain dietary fibers help the body to better absorb minerals, especially calcium.

• Increased insulin sensitivity: Some dietary fibers have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity.

• Increased satiety: Research suggests that some fibers can encourage the body to produce hormones that leave you feeling fuller, longer.

No single fiber or food provides all of these necessary health benefits. So you need to eat a wide variety of fiber-containing foods to improve your well-being.

Where To Learn More

For further information on fiber, visit www.fiberfacts.org.

*Article courtesy of NAPS. Image provided by FreeDigitalPhotos.*

Whip up this colorful, flavorful dish for your next summer brunch! Brimming with goodness, it is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!

Veronica Bosgraaf’s Farro with Sundried Tomatoes and Baby Spinach

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil plus 1-2 tablespoons for drizzle
1 large garlic clove pressed
1 cup farro
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 cups baby spinach
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
Ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preparation

In a saucepan sauté the chopped garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 3 minutes on medium heat. Add the fraro, stir and toast for 3 more minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and bring to a low boil for 15 minutes until farro is “al dente”. Drain any excess liquid. Stir in the sun dried tomatoes and spinach. Remove from heat, drizzle with remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Top with Parmesan cheese and serve warm.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Veronica Bosgraaf.*

Veronica Bosgraaf is the creator of Pure Bars and started the company because her child decided to become a vegetarian at age six and she was worried about whether she was getting the nutrients she needed. The Pure Bar concept came out of Veronica’s frustration regarding the lack of healthy packaged, convenient foods in the markets; foods that were organic and gluten-free, but still tasty and convenient to throw in lunches or snack bags.  She started by making them in her kitchen with the food processor.  She made chocolate brownies healthy snack bars with dates, almonds, walnuts (for Omega 3s), agave nectar and brown rice protein. Now the family of products has over ten different offerings and is sold nationwide. 

 

A refreshing and unique treat that can be made for for both children and adults! Simply add 1 cup of chardonnay wine with the sweetener into the juice before freezing. Yum!

Juicepresso Green Grape Popsicle

Ingredients

1 1⁄4 cup green seedless grapes
1 lemon
1⁄2 cup sweetener (agave, sugar, sugar substitute such as Stevia in the Raw)

Preparation

1. Wash green grapes and remove stems. Peel and cut lemon into 4 segments. Press both. (Leave a few grapes whole to put into the bars.)
2. Stir sugar or sugar substitute into juice until it dissolves. (“Mom” uses Stevia in the Raw)
3. Add the whole grapes into mixture, pour into Popsicle molds and freeze.
4. Serve once completely frozen.

Makes 4 servings.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Juicepresso.*

Americans’ snacking is on the rise, with snacks making up about half of all eating occasions, according to a recent report from the Hartman Group. The good news is that snacking can be part of a healthy eating plan, as snacks can provide energy between meals and supply essential nutrients.

Nutrient-dense California avocados, which are only in season from spring to fall, are delicious, good for you and can be an excellent ingredient in just about any snack. The fruit is a naturally nutritious super-food, and contributes nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, along with “good” monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, to one’s diet. Additionally, avocados add a creamy and delicious flavor to snacks or mini-meals without adding sodium or cholesterol.

Registered Dietitian Katie Ferraro, MPH, RD, CDE, loves incorporating California avocados into meals and snacks for their nutritional benefits. She has partnered with the California Avocado Commission to create some easy snack recipes featuring the fruit.

“Every year, I look forward to California avocado season, because they lend themselves to so many different preparations—especially when it comes to snacks,” says Ferraro.

She’s come up with some easy snack recipes featuring the fruit. Each recipe has less than 100 calories per serving and can be great for on-the-go snacking.

For other recipes that feature fresh California avocados, including additional snacking recipes developed by Katie Ferraro, visit the California Avocado Commission website at CaliforniaAvocado.com.

 

California Avocado Cucumber Cups

Ingredients

1 English cucumber
½ ripe, fresh California avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. diced cilantro
½ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. salt

Preparation

1. Chop off ends of cucumber and discard. Cut cucumber into 12 equal-sized round slices (approximately 1” width slices). Using a melon baller, scoop out center of cucumber slices, leaving enough cucumber on the bottom for the base. Set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, mash avocado and add bell pepper, lime juice, cilantro, cumin and salt. Stir to combine.

3. Place avocado mixture in a small, sandwich-sized plastic bag. Snip off one bottom corner of bag and squeeze avocado mixture into hollowed-out cucumber slices.

Serves 2.

 

 

Power Hour Pick-Me-Up Smoothie

Ingredients

¼ ripe, fresh California avocado, seeded, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp. minced ginger
½ cup frozen mango cubes
⅓ cup plain, nonfat yogurt
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 cup water
1 cup ice cubes

Prepaartion

1. Combine all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.

2. Serve immediately.

*Article and images courtesy of NAPS.*

Serves 2.