Increasing fiber in meals and snacks can improve blood sugar control for people with diabetes. High-fiber diets also lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and other chronic illness. During a recent Dignity Health YRMC Your Healthy Kitchen, host Rita Carey Rubin highlighted the benefits of fiber and foods rich in fiber. She also discussed how to increase your fiber intake and prepared a delicious, high-fiber version of one of the world’s best comfort foods: chicken soup.
The benefits of a fiber
Fiber reduces blood sugar spikes after meals by slowing down the digestion and absorption of sugars and other carbohydrates. A high-fiber meal also helps you to fill up faster, reduce calories, and maintain a healthy weight.
In addition, good research suggests that:
- Consuming whole, intact grains can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- Whole grains may reduce blood pressure and help with weight loss.
- Fiber lowers blood cholesterol and insulin resistance.
- Increased fiber from all foods reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and colon cancer.
Through the effect on gut microbial populations, fiber may also significantly reduce inflammation and improve immune function.
How much fiber do you need?
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends taking in 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories you eat, or over 25 grams of fiber daily for most adults. Try tracking your fiber intake to see where you land. If you need more, add a small portion of a new, high-fiber food to your meals each day until you reach your goal. Be sure to drink lots of water, too—64 ounces is usually a good goal.
Check out other Your Healthy Kitchen videos and delicious, high-fiber recipes at yrmchealthconnect.org.
YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen
Lemony Chicken Soup with White Beans and Leeks
Makes 4 quarts
3 medium leeks (about 4 cups sliced)
1 medium carrot
4 large cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
⅓ cup white wine
Juice from 1 large lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 bay leaves
1 quart chicken broth
1 quart water
3 sprigs fresh thyme and 5–6 sprigs of fresh parsley, tied with twine, optional
2 cans of small white beans (navy beans), rinsed
4 cups chopped cooked rotisserie chicken
Cut the dark green leaves from the leeks. Cut off the root end and slice them in half lengthwise. Rinse well in a bowl of water and then in a colander under running water to remove sand and dirt. Thinly slice the leeks, including white and light green parts only. Dice the carrot and garlic.
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot on medium heat and add the leeks, carrot and garlic. Toss with a big pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Stir well.
Cover the pot and steam the vegetables for about 5 minutes. Add the white wine and lemon juice to the pot and stir until the pot is almost dry. Add the sage, bay leaves, chicken broth, water, and the thyme and parsley, if using. Season with a bit more salt and black pepper. Simmer until the vegetables are tender.
Add the beans and chicken and heat thoroughly before serving.
Nutrition information per 2-cup serving
Protein 25 g
Carbohydrates 20 g
Fiber 6 g
Fat 6 g
Sodium 455 mg
Potassium 510 mg
Submitted by Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center