EDITOR'S NOTE: Diet-to-Go is working to replace the pasta in all its meals with delicious and more nutritious, fiber-rich whole-wheat pasta. Why make the change? Well, for starters, the Nutrition Diva has...
Today, I’d like to give you four great reasons to eat more! More fiber, that is.
I know, I know, fiber doesn't seem like a very glamorous subject. There's something so frumpy about it. I didn't even want to put the word in the title of this feature!
But now that I've got your attention, give me five minutes to show you why a high-fiber diet isn't just for Grandpa – it's your ticket to a slimmer, healthier body.
Reason #1: Fiber keeps the weight off.
If you're watching your weight, fiber is your best friend. High fiber foods fill you up with fewer calories because they are naturally bulky, which makes your stomach feel full.
Fiber also slows down the digestive process so you can go longer without feeling hungry again. It even decreases the amount of fat and calories that are absorbed from the digestive tract!
Trying to lose weight on a low-fiber diet is like parallel parking without power steering. Sure, it's possible, but why make things harder than they need to be?
Reason #2: Fiber prevents disease.
Fiber is your body's janitorial staff. It sweeps up digestive and cellular debris, mops up cholesterol, environmental toxins and surplus hormones, and takes out the trash. That's why a high-fiber diet reduces your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and many kinds of cancer.
If you've ever been in Manhattan during a garbage strike, you know that waste management is one municipal service you don't ever want to live without. Same with your body.
Reason #3: Life is better when you're regular.
The only people who find the subject of irregularity funny are those who've never suffered from it. And the two of you can just keep your chuckles to yourself!
The reason so many people suffer from occasional or chronic constipation is that most people don't eat anywhere near enough fiber. 'Nuff said.
Reason #4: Fiber hangs out with a cool crowd.
You can get more fiber by taking a fiber supplement every day. But you'll be much better off if you simply eat more foods that are naturally rich in fiber.
That's because fiber tends to be found in foods that are also full of antioxidants, phytonutrients, lignans, phenols, and other good stuff. When you eat more high-fiber foods, your entire diet gets a nutritional upgrade.
See how much sexier fiber is than you ever imagined?
The USDA recommends that you get at least 25 grams of fiber a day. Personally, I think 35-40 grams a day is ideal. But most people get less than 10 or so grams a day. No wonder so many of us are overweight, under-well, and cranky!
To get more fiber, start most days with a high fiber cereal (which is also a great weight loss strategy). Be sure to eat several servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Eat more beans and legumes and choose whole grains over refined as often as possible. Keep track of how much fiber you're eating by reading labels and keeping a running tally as you go through the day.
This week, "strive for 25" grams of fiber each day and see if you don't feel leaner, trimmer, and friskier by the end of the week.
About Monica Reinagel, The Nutrition Diva
Monica Reinagel is a board-certified Licensed Nutritionist and a professionally-trained chef. She is the host of the Nutrition Diva podcast which is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network. She has authored three books on health and nutrition, developed recipes and diet plans for websites and other publications. Monica's professional affiliations include the American Dietetic Association, the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the American Guild of Musical Artists.
Reprinted by arrangement with Quick and Dirty Tips, a division of Macmillan Holdings, LLC.