Tasty Alternatives to Grain for Your Daily Fiber

We all know that fiber is important in preventing constipation, lowering cholesterol and reducing risk of some chronic diseases.  But, if you are following The Paleo or Atkins diets, or you have been diagnosed with Celiac’s disease or gluten-intolerance, how do you include fiber in your food plan without consuming grains? 

The recommended amount of fiber for adolescents and adults is 20- 35 grams/day.  For children add 5 to their age in years and that’s how many grams they need.  So how do you add fiber and do we need so much fiber?

There are non-wheat sources of fiber such as legumes, nuts and seeds, vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and carrots as well as fruits such as apples, bananas, blueberries oranges and pears.

A study published by the National Institute of Health followed 388,000 people over a 9 month period.  The study focused on diet and the risk of death from all causes.  It confirmed that “dietary fiber intake lowered the risk of death from cardio-vascular issues, infections and respiratory diseases by 24% to 56% in men and by 34% to 59% in women.” (FitnessRx, June 2011)  An intake of dietary fiber from grains, versus those with the lowest daily fiber intake had a 23% and 19% lower risk, the study found.

The studies profound results may be due to the antioxidants and vitamins that are found in grains.  Antioxidants help reduce inflammation.  Inflammation has been found to contribute to the progression of a number of diseases including cardiovascular diseases as well as gut health.

Giving up grains as a group, unless you have been diagnosed with Celiac’s or gluten intolerance may help you drop pounds (which will likely return when you reintroduce them to your diet), but may not be good for your long-term health.  Julie Jones, professor of food and nutrition at St. Catherine University. “Avoiding wheat is not the answer” Jones states in the June 2013 edition of the Nutrition Action HealthLetter.  “Some people with diagnosed health issues must avoid wheat, but if you’re doing it to lose weight, or keep it off, it’s like the rest of all fad diets, it will run its course.”

Moderation in portion sizes and types of food groups included in your meal plan is the best way to achieve weight goals in combination with achieving proper health long-term.

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