The importance of whole grains and high fiber in the human diet cannot be overstressed in this modern era of over-processed foods. It's possible to get all the fiber you need from fruits, vegetables, and grains; there's no need to rely on supplements. The purpose of this book is to inform the reader of the wide variety of available foods containing fiber, then provide recipes for delicious meals using those high-fiber ingredients. While the current American diet averages only about 10 grams of dietary fiber per day, upping your daily intake to 25 to 40 grams of fiber per day could reduce your risk of developing a host of chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and gastrointestinal conditions.
Fiber is found in plant foods and comes in two forms. Soluble fiber is the part that dissolves in water (sources include oatmeal, broccoli, bananas, and citrus fruits). Insoluble fiber is the roughage part that doesn't dissolve in water (sources include the outer husk of whole grains like wheat bran, and nuts, seeds, and most vegetables). Each type of fiber has different benefits, so most people are advised to increase their intake of foods that feature both soluble and insoluble fiber. Research suggests that soluble, not insoluble, fibers are helpful in protecting against heart disease by lowering triglyceride levels. Fiber also improves blood sugar control, which is important for people with type 2 diabetes. Diseases such as colon cancer and diverticulosis can also be prevented with a diet high in insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber stretches and exercises the L walls of the intestines. It relieves constipation and moves any harmful substances through and out of the intestines more quickly, leaving less time for the toxins to be in contact with the intestinal walls.
Whole-grain foods, such as whole-wheat flour and brown rice, are higher in fiber than their processed counterparts (white flour and polished rice) because the outer husk has not been removed from the grain kernel. Fruits and vegetables provide fiber in their cellulose and pectins. Apples and blueberries are sources of high fiber in both their skins and flesh. Their skins provide the insoluble fiber the body needs, and their flesh provides soluble fiber in the form of pectin. Raw fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are an easy way to bump up the fiber intake of the diet, and dried fruits, cooked vegetables, and fruits offer variety and flavor to make a high-fiber diet palatable and pleasurable. Soluble fiber from beans, oats, psyllium seed, and fruit pectin not only lower cholesterol levels but can lower appetite. With the recipes in this book you may improve your health by increasing your fiber intake without having to add fiber supplements, which can be costly and unpleasant. Say good-bye to gritty stir-in drink supplements and sawdust cereal with the 300 creative and flavorful recipes in this book.