Where does it come from? What does it do? Why am I even writing about this?
I could just say that it is everywhere, grains fruits and vegetables; it promotes bowel health, lowers LDL cholesterol, and could help normalize blood sugar levels because it is awesome …
But that ain’t my style!
Would it surprise you to know that the 2015 -2020 nutrition guidelines lists dietary fiber (along with magnesium, vitamins A, D, E & C potassium and choline) as under consumed nutrients of public health concern?
The nutrient intake in the Standard American Diet is certainly lacking. They don’t call it SAD for nothin’. One main reason why dietary fiber intake is on the fritz is due to the insanely LOW, almost non -existent amounts of vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
The new guidelines recommend a minimum 90g of whole grain per day.
As I mentioned, there are multiple health benefits that come from eating more whole grains and fiber including cardiovascular, blood sugar and digestive health benefits.
As a Type 1 diabetic myself, the idea of having a food item support more than one organ system (a functional food) is more than enough of a reason for me to embrace it. I’ll take all the help I can get! But you don’t have to be a diabetic to be tuned in to how fiber supports glucose levels.
Fiber helps to support glucose levels by muting the rise in blood sugar following a meal aka post-prandial blood sugar. This is important not only for diabetics who are trying to achieve a HbA1c (hemoglobin A1c) of 6 but also for non-diabetics or pre-diabetics as well.
Well, everyone has a pancreas and one of the main functions of this organ is to release insulin in response to a meal that has been digested and broken down into carbohydrates (sugar). Insulin’s job is to grab hold of the sugar molecules and bring them into our cells for energy. When there is fiber in the carbohydrate,because it is slowly digested and partly not broken down, it does not contribute to that sharp spike in blood sugar after a meal (postprandial).
With many of us consuming the SAD diet and the lack of fiber it entails diabetics and non-diabetics alike are struggling to meet our daily fiber needs.
Bring on the fiber!
The funny thing is that there is no consensus for what exactly a whole grain food is. Per FDA label requirements a whole grain food claim must contain at least 5% whole grain ingredients by weight.
To make it a bit easier on you all, I have provided some great sources of fiber to spruce up your eating patterns:
- Lentils (cooked from dried) 15.6g /c
- Black Beans ~12g/c
- Split Peas (cooked from dried) ~16g/c
- Almonds 1 oz 3.5g
- Pistachios 1oz ~ 3g
- Quinoa ~8g/c
- Buckwheat 7g/c
- Amaranth 12g/c
- Brown/Wild rice 7g/c
- Oats 12g/c
- Teff a whopping 20g per cup! (also high in vitamin C)
- Avocado (x1) 12g
- Raspberries ~15g/c
- Artichoke Hearts (cooked) ~14g/c
- Coconut (shredded) 12g/c
- Blackberries 15g/c
- Brussels Sprouts (frozen,cooked) ~6g/c
So, are you ready to start chipping away at the 90g/day?! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Overnight Teff + Berries and Chia
- Greek Yogurt (I like CABOT or Fage) with Granola, Almonds + Blackberries (add chia)
Lunch & Dinner:
- Grilled Chicken with Quinoa, Brussel Sprouts and Avocado
- Baked Salmon, Avocado, Sweet Potato Mixed Green Bowl
Happy Eating !