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The Importance of Fiber in a Gluten-Free Diet

Posted Nov 14 2010 2:06pm
We all need to have fiber in our diet even so in the gluten-free diet so that we can stay strong and healthy .

Fiber not only promotes health, it also helps to reduce the risk for some chronic diseases. For instance, fiber prevents constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulitis. Fiber is also linked to prevent some cancers especially colon and breast cancer. In addition, fiber my help to lower the LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) and the total cholesterol therefore reducing the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, fiber can help lower blood sugar and help better manage diabetes.

Soluble Fiber and Insoluble Fiber. Both soluble and insoluble fiber are undigested. They are not absorbed into the bloodstream. Instead of being used for energy, fiber is excreted from our bodies. Soluble fiber forms a gel when mixed with liquid, while insoluble fiber doesn't. Insoluble fiber passes through our intestine largely intact.

Insoluble fiber moves bulk through the intestines and controls the balance of PH (acidity) in the intestines. As a result it promotes regular bowel movement, prevents constipation, removes toxic waste through colon in less time and helps prevent colon cancer by keeping an optimal PH in the intestines to prevent microbes from producing cancerous substances.

Food sources for insoluble fiber are: Vegetables such as green beans and dark leafy vegetables, Fruit skins, root vegetable skins, corn bran, seeds and nuts.

Soluble fiber binds with fatty acids and prolongs the stomach emptying time so that sugar is released and absorbed more slowly. As a result it it lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) reducing the risk of heart disease and regulates blood sugar for people with diabetes.

Food sources of soluble fiber are: Oat/Oat bran, dried beans and peas, nuts, flax seeds, fruits such as oranges and apples, vegetables such as carrots and psyhllium husk.

Tips for adding fiber are: add fiber slowly by adding one extra serving a day until you reach your goal. Drink plenty of water by drinking 8 - 10, 8 oz. glasses of water a day. Daily exercise helps the GI track work better, for example a daily walk. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables are an easy way to add fiber to your diet. Another great way to add fiber is to include legumes (beans like kidney, garbanzo and limas) or peas, such as split peas or lentils. Try using the Gluten-Free flours below in your baked goods or use the seeds as a side dish to a meal.

Gluten-Free Fiber Sources

GF Flours (1 cup)
Amaranth, 18 grams fiber
Brown rice, 7 grams fiber
Buckwheat, 12 grams fiber
Chickpea, 20 grams fiber
Flax mea, 34 grams fiber
Gafarva, 12 grams fiber
Montina, 36 grams fiber
Quinoa, 6 grams fiber
Soy, 12 grams fiber
Oats, 10 grams fiber

GF Grains (1 cup)
Amaranth seeds, 30 grams fiber
Brown rice, 7 grams fiber
Buckwheat groats, 17 grams fiber
Cornmeal, 10 grams fiber
Flax seeds, 43 grams fiber
Millet seeds, 17 grams fiber
Quinoa seeds, 10 grams fiber
Wild rice, 10 grams fiber
Oatmeal. 10 grams fiber

The recommended intake of fiber is 30mg per day. Foods such as oat, oat brans, psyllium husk and flax seeds are rich in both insoluble and soluble fiber. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables and 6 servings of grains per day.

Note: Oats are gluten-free. Some oats are manufactured in the same plant as gluten products and maybe cross contaminated. Make sure you know that the oats you are buying are not cross contaminated with gluten products.

Shop at your local store, nature store, and online for your gluten-free foods.

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