RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—When you think of fiber, what foods come to mind? Probably oats, whole-grain cereals and breads, and green, crunchy vegetables. And it’s true, all of these contain significant amounts of fiber—both insoluble and soluble. But you can also get it in high-fiber recipes full of satisfying comfort foods, including dishes that feature refried beans, creamy bananas, buttery avocados, and smooth, satisfying peanut butter.
Before we get to the high-fiber recipes, here are some comfort-food all-stars you can turn to for fiber:
• A cup of protein-packed refried beans contains a whopping 13 grams of fiber
• A large, potassium-rich banana has 4 grams of fiber
• Half an avocado packs monounsaturated fats, potassium, and folate; fiber content: 7 grams
• A cup of vitamin A- and vitamin C-rich green peas: 9 grams of fiber
• A cup of cooked edamame—great as a stand-alone snack—packs 8 grams of fiber
• Finally, a two-tablespoon serving of protein-filled chunky peanut butter weighs in with 3 grams of fiber
To be clear, technically, there are two types of fiber. There’s insoluble fiber, found in wheat bran, nuts, and many vegetables, which doesn’t dissolve in water. And there’s soluble fiber, which is found in oats, beans, barley, and some fruits. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like material in your digestive system. This helps to slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. Soluble fiber has also been shown to slightly reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Fiber can also help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and help prevent your arteries from hardening. What’s more, it may reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, it may aid in weight control, and may help prevent colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, the average American consumes an average of just 7 grams of fiber a day (less than two bananas’ worth); the recommended daily intake is between 21 and 38 grams, depending on your age and gender.
Filed Under: RECIPES
Published on: April 7, 2010