HMSA’s eat healthy Campaign was introduced in January 2008.
Each issue of Island Scene has included an article on the campaign and
nutrition information to help you and your family make smart eating choices. This
article includes information about fiber, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables.
Got enough fiber today?
Many Americans fail to focus on this important part of their diet and consume only
about 15 grams of fiber each day. The recommended daily goal is 25 grams for women
and 38 grams for men.
Not getting enough high-fiber foods increases the chances of diverticulosis, a common
condition of the large intestine where small, balloon-like pockets form outward
from the intestinal wall. By age 80, more than half of us have diverticulosis. Many
people have no symptoms, but others may experience abdominal pain in the lower left
side of their body, bloating, and possibly mucus in their stools. Consuming enough
fiber is one thing you can do to help keep your intestines functioning smoothly.
Where can you find fiber for your diet? Foods with fiber are primarily whole grains,
vegetables and fruits. Meat, milk, many desserts, fats and most drinks contain very
little or no fiber.
Choose whole grains
Starting out with a high-fiber cereal for breakfast will increase your fiber quotient.
Check the Nutrition Facts label on packaged cereals to find those with at least
3 grams of fiber in each serving. Some cereals have 6 grams of fiber per serving,
and a few even have 20 to 30 grams per serving. To increase your fiber intake even
more, break tradition and have cereal for lunch or as a snack.
Whole grains are another source of fiber. Brown rice contains 2 grams of fiber in
each half cup; white rice has no fiber. You can also purchase many whole grains
(such as wild rice, buckwheat and quinoa) in bulk at health food stores and cook
them in a similar manner to rice. The amount of water needed for cooking and cooking
time will vary depending on the grain.
Breads usually have fiber if they’re made from whole grains. But their fiber
content varies, so check the label. Overall, a slice of whole-grain bread averages
2 grams of fiber; a slice of white bread has half a gram. Whole-grain crackers can
range from 2 to 6 grams of fiber per serving and are a crunchy way to boost your
daily fiber intake.