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Newsletter for December 2016


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High-Fiber Foods to Add to Your Diet

By Brianna Steinhilber /  Reviewed by Kelly Kennedy, RD

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Fill Up On Foods That Pack a Fiber Punch

Dietary fiber can fill you up (without weighing you down), help keep blood-sugar levels in check, and may lower your risk for chronic diseases like certain cancers and cardiovascular disease. But even though fiber is widely available in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole, unprocessed grains, most Americans get very little of the stuff. The US Dietary Guidelines set adequate intake for fiber at 25 grams (g) a day for women and 38 g a day for men. However, most Americans are getting half of that, with the average intake clocking in at 15 g. The good news: Not only is boosting your fiber intake easy but it's tasty too! Read on for our top 10 list of fiber-rich foods. 

Chia Seeds

The tiny super food has been touted for its health benefits and with 3.6 g of fiber per tablespoon, adding it to your meals will help you make solid strides toward hitting your daily intake goal. “Chiai seeds are one of the richest sources of the plant-based form of omega-3 fatty acids, which may help to fight inflammation in your body,” says Johannah Sakimura, RD, and Everyday Health blogger. “The seeds are pretty much tasteless; you can get away with sprinkling them into almost anything.” Try them in smoothies, on yogurt or oatmeal, baked into breads, or even used in meatballs.   

Green Peas

The veggie may be tiny, but peas boast an impressive amount of fiber 8.8 g per cup to be exact. “Tossing in a few handfuls of frozen peas is an easy way to add green veggies to pasta and rice dishes,” says Sakimura. In addition to fiber, “peas supply vitamin A, which may help support healthy skin and eyes, and vitamin K, which may help maintain bone strength,” she says. 


A medium artichoke contains 7 g of fiber but just 60 calories. "They also have more potassium than a medium banana," says Jonny Bowden, PhD, author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Try steaming them with a little olive oil, garlic, and rosemary or stuffing them with feta and sundried tomatoes before roasting in the oven. Hearts are also a great addition to salads, pizzas, and egg scrambles. 


Thankfully the fat phobia of the 1980s has subsided, which means foods high in healthy fats like avocados are back on the menu. "Most of the fat in avocados is monounsaturated fat, the same heart-healthy kind found in olive oil," says Bowden. And to top it off, this healthy fruit is packed with fiber (about 13 g per avocado). Enjoy half an avocado (yes, you can eat it right out of the skin) sprinkled with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. With about 160 calories, tons of heart-healthy fat, and about 25 percent of your daily fiber intake, you'll be full for at least a few hours. 


Edamame is a tasty, fiber-rich snack, boasting 8 g per shelled cup. “It provides the coveted trifecta of protein, fiber, and healthy fat in one package. Okay, lots of little packages!” says Sakimura. “And a generous serving of 1 1/2 cups of edamame in the pod comes in at only 90 calories. That's a steal!” Enjoy edamame straight from the pod as an afternoon snack, or enjoy the beans in grain dishes and salads.



Beans are one of the best sources of fiber on the planet: Just a half a cup of navy beans has almost 10 g. Baked beans, black beans, pinto beans, and garbanzos aren't far behind; they all boast in between 6.2 and 8 g of fiber per half a cup. "Beans are fairly low in calories and high in fiber, and they're a great plant source of protein," says Greaves. "Whether you're throwing beans into a salad, adding them to soup, or making a base for salsa, they're a great addition to a meal." But they can also double as the main event  think bean-based soup, bean burritos, and rice and beans. 


Make the fall swap and fill your fruit basket with pears this season. “Nibbling on a juicy, ripe pear is a great way to end a meal on a healthy sweet note if you're trying to avoid high-cal, sugary desserts,” says Sakimura. In addition to offering up 5.5 g of fiber per fruit, pears are also a good source of vitamin C. “You can store them for several weeks in the fridge, unlike more delicate fruit,” says Sakimura. “Just let them ripen on the counter for a few days before eating.” 


“If lentils were a high school student, they would win the award for most well-rounded,” says Sakimura. “They supply a spectrum of vitamins and minerals, and they're a terrific vegetarian source of both protein and iron.” With 8 g of fiber in ½ cup of cooked lentils, they are a smart addition to burritos, burgers, stuffed peppers, soups, and salads. “They provide all the benefits of starchy beans, but because they're smaller and thinner, cook much more quickly,” adds Sakimura. 


All berries are nutritional superstars and most are relatively low in calories and high in fiber. Raspberries, for example, have a measly 64 calories per cup but boast a hefty 8 g of fiber. Many types of berries also contain polyphenols and anthocyanins, powerful plant chemicals that may help fight cancer, reduce inflammation, and ease the symptoms of arthritis. Sprinkle them on yogurt for a fiber- and protein-rich breakfast that will power you through your morning. 

Wheat Bran

“The insoluble fiber in wheat bran may help to move things along in your GI tract, so it can be a helpful ingredient for people who struggle with occasional constipation,” says Sakimura. “But remember to add fiber to your diet gradually and drink plenty of water to avoid any digestive discomfort.” With 6 g of fiber per ¼ cup, wheat bran is a smart way to add a fiber boost to cereal, oatmeal, smoothies, and muffin batter.









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