We all know that fiber is important and that we should consume a particular amount each day, but what exactly is fiber? Fiber is a substance found in carbohydrates that adds bulk to the diet and helps keep us feeling fuller longer. It also helps move food through our digestive system more smoothly, thus promoting digestive health. Fiber also helps lower cholesterol, decrease risk of developing diabetes, and helps promote weight maintenance. It is recommended that men get 30-38 grams per day and women get 25 grams per day.

There are two different types of fiber, soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol and removes it from the body thus reducing cholesterol levels in the body. It also aids in controlling blood sugar by slowing digestion and reducing blood sugar spikes. By slowing digestion, soluble fiber helps keep you feeling fuller longer so you will not eat as much. This helps with weight maintenance.

Soluble fiber sources:

  • Oatmeal (4 grams of fiber in 1/2 cup)
  • Blueberries (4 grams in 1 cup)
  • Nuts (1 grams in 1/4 cup)
  • Beans/lentils/peas (5-10 grams of fiber in 1/2 cup)
  • Apples (5 grams in 1 medium apple)

Insoluble fiber helps add bulk and helps promote smoother digestion. Like soluble fiber, insoluble fiber helps you feel fuller longer and helps with weight maintenance.

Insoluble fiber sources:

  • Seeds (2 grams in 1/4 cup)
  • Fruit skins/peels (contains ~38% of the fiber in fruits)
  • Whole wheat flour/bread (13 grams in 1 cup of whole wheat flour/2 grams in 1 slice of bread)
  • Brown rice (4 grams in 1 cup)
  • Wheat bran (4 grams in 1/4 cup)
  • Vegetables (~8 grams in 1 cup)

Try adding more fiber to your diet by switching white flour with whole wheat, using brown rice instead of white, and incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet, making sure to eat the peel of the apples and pears. In this recipe for banana bread I replaced some of the white flour with whole wheat flour to increase the fiber of this sweet treat!dscn1733.jpg

Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup white flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbs milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 bananas mashed very well
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Add flours, baking soda, and salt to a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix egg, sugar, and oil and stir until well combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir well. The mixture will be thick and dry.
  5. Next add the milk, vanilla, and bananas and stir until incorporated.
  6. Mix in pecans and pour into a loaf pan.
  7. Cook 50-75 minutes checking regularly until a knife comes out clean.
  8. Let cool on cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before digging in!

~I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I did!~