Need Fiber? Dairy Can Help!

Michelle Plummer, RD

Think about the part of your body that gets you into trouble almost every day!  For most of us, it is the 6 inches between our eyebrows and chin.  Yes, we need our senses to activate those juices to get us to eat, but is chocolate cake with frosting the best choice?  As Americans, the American Dietetic Association states that we need between 25-30 grams of fiber daily (about 1 ounce), and only about 20% of us actually get that much.  I am not an advocate for “no sweet treats” or “all twigs and sticks”, but I have had a recent revelation. Going to yoga practice and eating better (adding more fiber to precise) actually makes me feel better!  So how can I get you on board?

First, there are two types of fiber, soluble (digestible) and insoluble (non-digestible).  Soluble means in water which means it can blend with water to form a gel.  Soluble fiber provides a feeling of fullness or satiety.  Also, it helps lower Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) blood-cholesterol (also known as the “bad cholesterol”) levels and regulate blood sugar levels.  Some food examples are psyllium (like OTC mix with water), oat bran, apples, pears, legumes, and barley.  Insoluble means not soluble or does not dissolve in water.  Acting like a sponge, this fiber swells in size, absorbing up to 15 times its own weight in water, often referred to as “roughage”.  It also speeds up the movement of food through the digestive system, helping to promote regularity and reduce the incidence of constipation.  Some examples of foods that contain insoluble fiber include wheat bran and bran cereals, corn bran, some whole-wheat foods, vegetables, and fruit.  

A medium size apple gives you 5 grams of fiber.  What a treat!  Many cereals cannot make that claim!  Fiber can be very tasty, colorful, and appealing to the senses!   Start by substituting brown rice for white, using whole grain pasta, and choosing whole wheat bread and tortillas.  Zonya Foco, RD, a leader in nutrition health seminars stated that when she has a snack she has what she wants, but also adds a vegetable or fruit serving.  Still enjoy the snack you wish, but eat a fruit or vegetable first.  The Mayo Clinic provides a delicious list of the top 25 high fiber foods that are pleasing to the 6 inches above your neck, but also fulfilling to the 21 feet of intestine inside your belly that craves nutrients to keep you satisfied and content! 

So how do you get dairy foods to have fiber?  Cereal with seasonal fruit and MILK, fresh veggies with a YOGURT dill dip, and my personal favorite, a gooey grilled CHEESE on whole wheat bread and fresh sliced tomatoes!  Now that I have shared some of my “fiber in your diet” tips with you, tell me what your favorite fiber and dairy combinations are.

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