Fending off Disease with Fiber

March 4, 2019

My husband, who I adore, loves Time magazine. Yup, good old fashioned Time magazine.

I’m not such a big fan but every now and then, I see an article that piques my interest and inspires me to write. This week I read such an article.

The first line of the article reads, “If you want to eat something for better health, make it fiber.” I turned to the front cover to be sure I wasn’t reading a vintage magazine from the ‘90’s…’80’s or ‘70’s since fiber has been touted as an essential building block of wellness for decades.

The article went on to state that a review of 243 studies done on fiber (243 different studies!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!) showed “just how beneficial a diet rich in fiber can be. People who ate more of the nutrient substantially lowered their risk for at least four major diseases, some of which have little to do with the gut.”

Wow…just wow. It’s as though no one, not one researcher has been paying attention. Or…and this is even scarier…are studies continually funded and research compiled and reviewed in the hope that people will actually listen and act on the information?

But back to the article. The latest information, published in the January edition of “Lancet” compares people who eat fiber with those who do not. As we might expect, those who ate more fiber cute their risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer (as well as their risk of dying early from any cause) slashed their risk by as much as 30%, with the greatest risk reduction being in people who eat the most fiber (25-29 grams per day from vegetables, fruit and whole grains).

Experts say that people need to seriously consider the quality of the carbs they consume, leaning more toward the complex carbs in whole foods as opposed to refined carbs in foods like white bread.

Well, duh.

On average, Americans fall really short in the fiber department, consuming a measly 15 grams of fiber a day. When it comes to fiber, we are really missing out if we don’t get it in our diet. From eased digestion to satiety; from nurturing beneficial bacteria in the gut to helping prevent surges in blood sugar which can contribute to diabetes, fiber is a real super hero for our wellness.

And delicious? Foods high in fiber have a chewier texture, richer natural taste and come in a variety of luscious shapes, sizes and flavors. Nutty whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, vegetables including sweet roots like carrots to delicate leafy greens, fiber-rich cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli and seasonal fruits from apples to berries. Nuts and seeds lend a crunchy, delicious texture and flavor to any dish…and super-charge your fiber intake.

And while you can certainly mix potions and smoothies and supplements that are high in fiber, if you skip veggies and fruit, you’re missing out on cancer-fighting antioxidants, inflammation-taming compounds and vitamins that allow you to age gracefully, improve immune function and build healthy tissue and cells…and seriously delicious foods.