Fabulously Fit With Fiber
By Monique N.
GilbertWant to increase your vitality and improve your overall
well-being? Then try eating more fiber every day. According to the American
Heart Association (AHA), fiber is important for the health of our digestive
system as well as for lowering cholesterol. Dietary fiber is a transparent
solid carbohydrate that is the main part of the cell walls of plants. It has
two forms: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber may help lower blood
cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Insoluble fiber
provides the bulk needed for proper functioning of the stomach and intestines.
It promotes healthy intestinal action and prevents constipation by moving
bodily waste through the digestive tract faster, so harmful substances don't
have as much contact with the intestinal walls. Both the AHA and the National
Cancer Institute recommend that we consume 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day.
Unfortunately, many people are not eating this much fiber. The reason
is the conventional animal-based Western diet, which is high in saturated fat
and low in fiber. This type of diet is causing serious concerns. Heart disease
and stroke have become major health problems in most developed countries, and
are rapidly increasing in prevalence in many lesser developed countries. This
is mainly due to the global influence of the typical Western diet.
Recently the AHA and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) confirmed
that coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States,
killing more people than any other disease. It causes heart attack and angina
(chest pain). A blood clot that goes to the heart is considered a heart attack,
but if it goes to the brain it is a stroke. The AHA ranks stoke as the third
most fatal disease in America, causing paralysis and brain damage.
Eating a high-fiber diet can significantly lower our risk of heart
attack, stroke and colon cancer. A 19-year follow-up study reported in the
November 2001 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine indicated that increasing
bean and legume intakes may be an important part of a dietary approach to
preventing coronary heart disease. Soybeans and legumes are high in protein and
soluble fiber. Another study reported in the January 2002 issue of the Journal
of the American College of Cardiology also suggests that increasing our
consumption of fiber-rich foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, can
significantly lower the risk of heart disease. Additionally, results from
recent studies at the American Institute of Cancer Research indicate high-fiber
protein-rich soy-based products, such as textured soy protein and tempeh, help
in preventing and treating colon cancer.
Soybeans and other legumes are
excellent sources of fiber. An average serving of cooked dry beans contains
about 10 grams of fiber. Whole soybeans and foods made from them, such as soy
flour, textured soy protein (also known as TVP) and tempeh, are extremely rich
in fiber. However, some soy foods, like tofu and soymilk, contain very little
fiber due to the way they are processed. Tofu, for example, leaves most of its
fiber behind in processing when the milk is squeezed from the soybean. Reading
the Nutrition Facts label to find out the amount of, and the type of, fiber
contained in any particular food is always wise.
Examples of Dietary
1 cup of cooked dry beans = 9-14 grams of fiber
1 cup of
raisin bran cereal = 8 grams of fiber
1/2 cup of soy tempeh = 7 grams of
1/2 cup of soy flour = 6 grams of fiber
1/2 cup of edamame (whole
green soybeans) = 5 grams of fiber
6 Brussels sprouts = 5 grams of fiber
1 medium apple = 4 grams of fiber
1 cup of carrot strips = 4 grams of
5 dried plums (prunes) = 3 grams of fiber
1/4 cup of whole wheat
flour = 3 grams of fiber
1 cup pineapple juice = 2 grams of fiber
cup of tofu = 1 gram of fiber
Try this wonderfully delicious
heart-healthy high-fiber dip recipe, which can also be used as a sandwich
cooked garbanzo beans or white beans
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed
2-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup soymilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Place beans, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor.
Blend for a full 1-2 minutes, until a paste is formed.
2. Add soymilk and
salt. Blend until it's smooth and creamy.
3. Transfer to a container and
refrigerate to chill. Serve as a dip with crackers, pita bread wedges or fresh
cut up vegetables; or as a spread with pita bread or tortillas.
cups (4-6 servings)
This recipe is from Monique N. Gilbert's book
"Virtues of Soy: A Practical Health Guide and Cookbook" (Universal Publishers,
2001, pp. 86-87).
** "Legume consumption and
risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women: NHANES I Epidemiologic
Follow-up Study." Bazzano, L. A., He, J., Ogden, L. G., Loria, C., Vupputuri,
S., Myers, L., Whelton, P. K., Archives of Internal Medicine 2001 Nov
** "A prospective study of dietary fiber intake and
risk of cardiovascular disease among women." Liu, S., Buring, J. E., Sesso, H.
D., Rimm, E. B., Willett, W. C., Manson, J. E., Journal of the American College
of Cardiology 2002 Jan 2;39(1):49-56.
** "Virtues of Soy: A Practical
Health Guide and Cookbook" by Monique N. Gilbert, Universal Publishers, 2001,
pp. 11, 18, 24.
Copyright © Monique N. Gilbert - All Rights
Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc., is a Health Advocate, Certified
Personal Trainer/Fitness Counselor, Recipe Developer, Freelance Writer and
Author of "Virtues of Soy: A Practical Health Guide and Cookbook" (Universal
Publishers, 2001). For more information, visit the Virtues of Soy website at
http://www.virtuesofsoy.com or E-mail: email@example.com.
Monique N. Gilbert has a
Bachelor of Science degree, is a Certified Personal Trainer/Fitness Counselor
and Health Advocate. She began a low-fat, whole grain, vegetable-rich diet in
the mid-1970's. This introduced her to a healthier way of eating and became the
foundation of her dietary choices as an adult. She became a full-fledged
vegetarian on Earth Day 1990. Over the years she has increased her knowledge
and understanding about health and fitness, and the important role diet plays
in a person's strength, vitality and longevity. Monique feels it is her mission
to educate and enlighten everyone about the benefits of healthy eating and