Get Fabulously Fit with Fiber
Monique N. Gilbert
Want 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.
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.
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.
of Dietary Fiber:
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
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 fiber
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
1/2 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 spread.
2 cups 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.
Makes 2-2/3 cups (4-6 servings)
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 26;161(21):2573-2578.
- "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.
© Monique N. Gilbert - All Rights Reserved.
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
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 living.
pedestal is as much a prison as any other small space."
- Gloria Steinem
Feminist Women's Health Center