Benefits of Fiber and Whole Grain
Most of us know how fiber can keep our digestive system functioning like it should. But fiber also gives other health benefits, such as helping keep a healthy heart.
Eating the recommended amounts of fiber can help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. It can also help prevent obesity. All are risk factors in developing heart disease. Use these tips to raise your daily fiber intake:
- Eat more fruits and veggies – at least two cups of fruit and two cups of veggies a day
- Choose a variety of fiber sources such as berries, oatmeal, beans, whole grain bread and cereal
- Serve meat entrees on a bed of grilled zucchini, sautéed spinach or sliced onions
- Snack on air-popped popcorn and dry-roasted nuts
Go with the Grain
Choose whole grains (products made from the entire grain kernel). Whole grains are higher in nutrition and fiber and lower in fat than refined grains, like white rice or white flour. A 100 percent whole grain means that the grain hasn’t been changed. So it has three key parts for health: the outer shell (or bran) which contains fiber and B vitamins; germ, which contains B vitamins; and the endosperm, which has carbs and protein. White bread is made from wheat grain that has been stripped of the outer shell and germ.
Good choices for whole grain include:
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
- Bulgar (cracked wheat)
- Cereals (bran flakes, kasha, muesli)
- Whole-wheat breads, crackers, tortillas and pasta
Members can log in to their Blue Access for MembersSM account for additional nutrition facts and tips.