Fuller w. Fiber!
Get your prunes ladies! Just kidding :p
All joking aside, fuller w. fiber ?? YES! Absolutely!
You already know what fiber is … the stuff that makes you poop, right? Yes. BUT, fiber has benefits other than regulating bowel movement such as lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation AND it aids in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight! Let’s digest this …
Unlike your macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins), fiber is not digested by the body. It passes relatively in tact through your stomach, small intestine, colon and then makes it way out. Crazy, huh? There are two types of fiber. Soluble Fiber which dissolves in water to make a gel like substance. And Insoluble Fiber which promotes the movement of ‘material’ through your digestive system. Both fibers take longer to digest in the body, which leaves you feeling fuller longer, eating less throughout the day.
Foods with higher water and fiber content, such as fruits and veggies, are going to provide you more volume and weight (basically take up more room in your stomach) but they are going to have fewer calories. Processed foods are going to be higher in calories and lower in fiber, which means these foods digest quicker and leave you feeling hungry. A great example is raisins and grapes. A serving size of each food is 1 cup. Raisins are high energy density (think high calorie, quick to digest) with one serving being 434 calories. Grapes are low energy density (think low calorie, longer to digest) with one serving being 82 calories. You can eat roughly five servings of grapes for one serving of raisins!
Some GREAT sources for high fiber content are::
- Whole grains (brown rice, bulgur, whole wheat spaghetti, quinoa, rye flour)
- Veggies (broccoli, zuccini, squash, acorn squash, okra, cauliflower, brussels sprouts)
- Beans and Legums (kidney beans, lima beans, black beans, peas, navy beans, garbanzo beans)
- Fruits (elderberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, currants, bananas, apples, pears, figs)
- Nuts (almond, pistachios, flax seed, pinon nuts)
Of coarse there are other choices as well, this is just to name a few!
Did you read through the list and think “wow, I don’t eat any of those on a daily basis?” If you did, you might not be getting enough fiber. The Institute of Medicine recommends women <50 years old consume at 25g of fiber daily, women >50 consume 21g daily. Men <50 should consume 38g daily and men >50 should consume 30g per day.
Need to make sure you are getting the right amount of fiber? Here are some GREAT ways to get your fiber in on a daily basis:
- Lean on Legumes. These are excellent sources of fiber! The next time you make taco’s add some black, kidney or navy beans.
- Add in fruits and veggies on a salad or make a fruit salsa to put over grilled chicken breasts. You should aim for 4 servings of fruits and veggies per day.
- Make your snacks count! Instead of reach for pretzels or other processed foods, reach of raw veggies, a handful of raw nuts, or dried fruit. Just beware that nuts and dried fruits are higher in calories.
Although we joke, prunes are for old people, they are actually high in fiber at 12g per serving (1 cup)! Next time you’re at the store, make sure to load up on fibrous foods, maybe even grab a bag of prunes!!