Why fiber rocks
You see and you hear about fiber every time you open a magazine, turn on the TV and walk down a grocery store aisle. It is in our faces all the time because it really is that important. Old school thought was that fiber was something to worry about when your senior citizen discount became available; new school thought is that fiber is a super important part of a healthy diet at all stages and ages! Because it gets harder as we get older to change our diets, there’s no better time to start chowing down on it than right now. If you pay attention to the fiber buzz, you know that fiber keeps our hearts hearty and (ahem), our bowels “regular.” Just exactly why is fiber so important? Read on!
Dietary fiber is the part of plant foods that your body cannot digest. It is classified into two categories: the kind that does not dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and the type that does (soluble fiber).
Soluble fiber soaks up water like a sponge and turns into a gel-like consistency during digestion; it slows the process of digestion and helps your body absorb nutrients. This is why you feel full for a longer period of time after eating a high fiber meal versus a fiber-less one (ah ha!). Soluble fiber also helps to lower blood cholesterol and manage blood sugar levels.
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, helps to speed foods through the body and bulks up your poop. (Sounds gross, but it kind of acts as a scrub brush going through your intestines). Insoluble fiber is best known for helping to attain or maintain a healthy weight, preventing constipation, and reducing the risk of colon cancer.
While I prefer to have you eat food and not numbers, you should know how much fiber you need, so you can be aware if you’re getting the right amount. Men need about 30 to 38 grams per day and women need about 21 to 25 grams. If your food has a label, you can check out the amount of fiber listed and add up your daily intake fairly easily; however, many of the best places to get fiber come from foods without labels such as fruits and veggies. So to give you an idea of the fiber content of some of our favorite produce pals, check this out.
I want you to get most of your fiber from vegetables, fruits and whole grains, but think outside the box – if you are trying to eat more fiber you can sneak it into your entrée dishes with a little flax seed or meal, sesame seeds, wheat germ or even a psyllium fiber supplement. Try this favorite recipe:
Fiberific Parmesan-Crusted Chicken
Time: Preparation: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 4 chicken breasts (about 4 ounces each)
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup Konsyl’s psyllium based fiber supplement (we love Konsyl because it has 75% more soluble fiber than other brands!)
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, onion powder, and an optional pinch of cayenne pepper (if you want to spice things up a bit!)
- 2 eggs
- Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray, and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine parmesan cheese, fiber supplement, and spices in a bowl and mix well
- Crack the two eggs into a separate bowl and beat away!
- Dip each chicken breast into the egg mixture followed by the cheese/spice mixture, making sure each piece is well coated, and place on the baking sheet.
- Cook chicken for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink on the inside (cooking time may vary based on your oven and how thick your chicken breasts are)
Optional: If you like things extra crunchy, place the chicken in your broiler for two minutes to get that coating super crispy!
Happy fiber-ful eating everyone! I challenge you to meet your daily fiber goals deliciously. Cheers!