Thursday, July 1, 2010

Gluten Freedom: July 2010

Are you Getting Enough Fiber?
Adequate fiber intake is an essential part of a healthy diet. It is recommended to consume 25-30 grams per day. Did you know most Americans consume only 6-8 grams on average? For many, most of their fiber comes in the form of whole wheat. The absence of wheat and other gluten containing grains in the diet could warrant extra attention to fiber sources. Gluten free alternatives to whole grain products tend to be lower in fiber. However, whole grains are not the only source.

Some of our best sources of fiber include beans and legumes as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. All of which are innately gluten free. Gluten free grains such as quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat are excellent fiber sources as well. If you’re looking to supplement fiber, try sprinkling flax or chia seeds on your favorite gluten free cereal, stirred into yogurt or added to your next salad.

There are two forms of fiber; soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is helpful in reducing cholesterol levels, balancing blood sugar and feeding beneficial bacteria in the gut. Foods high in soluble fiber include: beans, apples, oats (make sure to pick up certified gluten free) and Jerusalem artichokes (aka sunchokes). Insoluble fiber provides more roughage and bulk and aids in keeping the colon clean. Brown rice, flax seeds, celery, coconut and peas are great sources of insoluble fiber.

Increasing Fiber Consumption…….
When choosing products, look for items with 3 or more grams of fiber per serving. If a food has 5 grams of fiber or more per serving, it is considered an excellent source.
Here are few other tips:
o Eat whole fruit for dessert
o Choose gluten free whole grain hot cereals over cold cereals that have been processed
o Make a goal to eat a salad a day
o Check out Mary’s Gone Crackers products….. these whole grain and seed snacks are loaded with fiber!
o Try serving quinoa with your favorite pasta sauce instead of pasta
o Aim to eat your 10 servings a day of fruits and vegetables (1/2 cup = 1 serving)
o Keep a can of Amy’s split pea soup on hand
o Eat beans 3 times a week

It is best to gradually increase fiber in your diet to avoid digestive upset such as bloating and gas. Increased fiber should also be accompanied with an increase in water consumption.

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