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Living Well In Yalobusha County

Resolution For 2009: Fiber Up!

By Pamela Redwine

What if the New Year could bring you something that promises to better your life by:

– helping you lose weight,

– preventing cancer,

– keeping your heart healthy

– and your bowels running smoothly?

 You’d probably be eager to buy the book or pop the pill. But you won’t find a best-seller on the subject. It’s not flashy, not available by pill and it is not a fad diet. But it has proven health benefits.  What is it? It’s fiber!

 You won’t find fiber in common fast and convenience foods such as bagels, pastries, cookies, cakes, pizza, fried chicken, hamburgers, deli sandwiches, french-fries and meats.  And that is the challenge. Chances are, many of the foods that you are eating that are easy to buy and prepare and very palatable are low in fiber.

 Fiber is found only in plant foods: fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grain breads and cereals. It is a complex carbohydrate that cannot be digested by the human body.

 High-fiber foods are good sources of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. They are usually lower in fat and calories than low-fiber foods. This, plus the fact that they tend to make you feel full faster, makes them an essential part of a weight control plan.

 Fiber also plays a role in cancer prevention.  Since a bulkier, heavier stool can pass through the colon faster, it’s thought that this may help prevent colon and rectal cancer. Of course, the lower fat content of a high fiber diet is also associated with decreased colon cancer rates.

 People with diabetes may see better blood sugar control by adding fiber, especially soluble fiber, to their diet. This may decrease the need for insulin or medication.

 The best thing you can do for 2009 is to look at what you eat for each meal.

 • Breakfast: switch to whole grain cereal and fruit

• Lunch: Add fruit, whole grains and more veggies. Think about a salad each day; stick to whole grain bread or rice; start packing better items.

• Dinner: Choose from our foods below and start cooking at home more often. If you plan for beans and lentils once or twice a week and include vegetables and salads at each meal you will improve your diet!

 Best Choices Each Day for More Fiber:

Oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole grain cereal, whole wheat bread, lentils, beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables

Article Source:  Communicating Food for Health, December 2008


Recipe of the week

Oven-fried Sweet Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes, no stick cooking spray and seasonings of your choice

 Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Peel sweet potatoes and slice into even wedges (select uniform sized potatoes if possible, to avoid overcooked thin ends).  Place potatoes in a single layer on cookie sheet. Spray potatoes with no stick cooking spray and immediately sprinkle with seasonings.  Place in oven and bake 30 minutes or until tender and edges are crisp. Turn potato wedges several times for even cooking on all sides.  Cooking time will vary with size of potatoes.

 Seasoning suggestions: combination of cumin, red pepper and cayenne OR cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

 Serves 4.

Each 1/2 cup serving:

80 calories

0 g fat

0 g saturated fat

0 g trans fat

0 mg cholesterol

6 mg sodium

19 g carbohydrate

3 g fiber

1 g protein

 Sweet potato tip: Buy extra sweet potatoes; bake them whole when the oven is on. Freeze the baked sweet potatoes whole.  When you want a baked sweet potato simply defrost in the microwave and re-heat. Oven baked sweet potatoes taste so wonderful you hardly need any butter or toppings because they are so sweet and moist!

Recipe Source:  Communicating Food for Health, Dec. 2008

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