Fiber - Why it's Important
I recently had a discussion with a woman who was complaining of severe and chronic constipation. She asked me what to do. When discussing her diet, she admitted that bread, pasta and desserts, all made with processed white flour, are her weakness. Now I know that this isn’t an appetizing topic, especially when you probably came here around mealtime looking for a delicious recipe, but the fact is most Americans eat far less than the recommended 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day. Fiber is extremely important in preventing constipation. It’s no wonder that this is an extremely common condition.
Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds can give you the fiber you need. Eating a diet high in meat and processed grains will leave you falling way short. Meat has zero fiber since fiber only comes from plants. A slice of white bread only has 1 gram because processing the grain removes the fiber-rich bran. A raw pear, on the other hand, provides 5 grams of fiber. Just one serving of this delicious smoothie made from fiber rich pears, apples, figs and chard, delivers a whopping 11 grams!
Fiber also has been shown to reduce cholesterol and help prevent hardening of the arteries and cardiovascular disease. It also helps keep blood sugar levels under control which is very important for people with diabetes and hypoglycemia. Fiber can also help prevent colon cancer because it quickens the removal of toxins from the large intestine.
Are YOU getting enough fiber? If not, consider adding more to your diet but remember to add it gradually to prevent any GI distress and remember to drink lots of water.
Start Your Morning with a Fiber Rich Smoothie
Doug and I start almost every morning with a smoothie made from raw fruits and vegetables.Today's recipe is a good one to try right now since apples, pears and figs are at their peak flavor and availability. If you are lucky like we are, you may have some generous neighbors offering you these freshly picked ingredients from their trees. Besides the fiber rich fruit, I always like to add some greens to my morning smoothie. Chard is a super star. Besides being high in fiber, it is an excellent source of vitamin A, C, E, K, iron, magnesium, potassium and manganese and a very good source of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), B6, calcium, phosphorus and copper.
I've added both flaxseed oil and hemp milk to this recipe to give you significant amounts of essential fatty acids. One serving provides nearly 3.0 grams of omega 3 and 2.6 grams of omega 6. Feel free to replace the hemp milk with soymilk, rice milk or almond milk. For a totally “raw” smoothie, replace it with your favorite raw nut milk. For a “live” experience, use probiotic-rich goat Kiefer or yogurt.
Apple, Pear and Fig Smoothie with Chard [serves 2]
2 small apples with skin, cored and quartered
2 small pears with skin, cored and quartered
2 medium figs, cut in half
1 cup Living Harvest vanilla hemp milk
2 teaspoons flaxseed oil
2 chard leaves, stems removed
1 cup cold filtered water
A few ice cubes (optional)
Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 303.3 calories, 7.6 g fat, 0.6 g saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 3.0 g protein, 66 g carbohydrates, 11 g fiber, 2.9 g omega 3 and 2.6 g omega 6 fatty acids.