Community Health Services of Union County, Inc.
Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains all contain dietary fiber, a type of carbohydrate that provides minimal energy for the body. Although the body can't use fiber efficiently for fuel, it's an important part of a healthy eating plan and helps with a variety of health conditions.
·Heart disease: Fiber may help prevent heart disease by helping reduce cholesterol.
·Weight management: Fiber slows the speed at which food passes from the stomach to the rest of the digestive system – this can make us feel full longer. Foods that are higher in dietary fiber often are lower in calories as well.
·Diabetes: Because fiber slows down how quickly food is broken down, it may help control blood sugar levels for people with diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels after meals.
·Digestive issues: Fiber increases bulk in the intestinal tract and may help improve the frequency of bowel movements.
The recommended amount of dietary fiber is 14 grams for every 1,000 calories per day, or, about 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men each day. Your exact needs may vary depending on your energy needs.
Whole grains and beans tend to be higher in fiber than fruits and vegetables, but all are sources of dietary fiber and contribute other important nutrients. Make sure to include a variety of these foods regularly to meet your dietary fiber needs. These are a few tips to help increase your fiber intake from foods:
·Mix in oats to meatloaf, bread or other baked goods.
·Toss beans into your next salad or soup.
·Chop up veggies to add to sandwiches or noodle dishes such as pasta or stir-fry.
·Blend fruit into a smoothie or use it to top cereal, pancakes or desserts.
It also is important to drink plenty of water and to increase your fiber intake gradually in order to give your body time to adjust.
What You Can Do To Keep Fruits And Vegetables Safe!
Fruits and vegetables are an important part of every diet. However, harmful bacteria may contaminate fruits and vegetables, which can lead to food poisoning, even if the food is labeled organic. As you enjoy raw produce and fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, follow these safe handling tips to help protect yourself and your family.
When possible, buy in-season produce. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy in-season fruits (berries, peaches and watermelon) and vegetables (corn, cucumbers and squash).
* Buy only the amount of produce you will use within one week
* Avoid produce with mold, bruises or cuts.
* Buy loose produce rather than packaged for better control of your selection.
* If you go to a farmers’ market, get an early start and avoid produce that has been sitting out for hours. * Not satisfied with your grocer’s selection?
Ask a produce manager if more options are available.
Some items like bananas and potatoes do not require refrigeration. Produce that needs refrigeration should be stored below 40˚F within two hours of purchase.
* If peeling or cutting produce, refrigerate within two hours.
* Throw away leftover, cut produce that has been sitting at room temperature for more than two hours, or one hour if in weather above 90˚F.
* Discard cooked vegetables after three to four days.
Make it a habit to wash all fruits and vegetables with cool tap water before eating and dry with a clean cloth or paper towel to eliminate bacteria.
* Wash produce before you peel to make sure dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife to your fruits or vegetables.
* Using soap or produce wash is not necessary; for firm produce such as melons or cucumbers, scrub with a clean produce brush.
* Cut away damaged or bruised areas before preparing or eating. Remove outer leaves of lettuce. a Use two separate cutting boards to avoid cross contamination: one for raw meats and one for fruits, vegetables and other ready-to-eat foods. Color-coded cutting boards can help you remember which is which.
* Cook raw sprouts (alfalfa, clover, etc.) to significantly reduce the risk of food poisoning.
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