Fiber for a Fit and Healthy You

Did you know that eating bread can help in the prevention of serious illnesses?  When this question was asked as part of a survey made to 2000 Americans, only 12% agreed.  Only 9% of those who agreed were women.  

Due to the popularity of certain diets such as Atkins and South Beach, many Americans live today under the impression that carbs are bad for our health, even though it is such a prominent part of the food pyramid.  

Bread = Balance, Energy, Protection and Prevention

By: Giselle E. Carazo
Nutricionist

Can any type of food be an ally to your health? Read on and you will find out.

Balance

As you know, good health depends on balance.  Approximately half the calories consumed daily should come from carbohydrates.  Consequently, if you have heard that in order to loose weight you should eliminate carbs from your diet, then you should know that this is a practice that goes against maintaining the necessary balance for your body and could be hazardous to your health.

A balanced consumption of carbs helps stabilize the glucose in your blood, which helps brain and other bodily functions.  Bread also provides important type B vitamins, which help prevent bothersome and sometimes frequent hypoglycemia symptoms.

In fact, diabetics should be very adamant about consuming a healthy and balanced diet.  This means planning meals so that they include the necessary carbohydrates such as breads and grains along with meats, vegetables, fruits and milk.  Including carbohydrates in the right quantities is of utmost importance for the control of diabetes.

It is also important to point out that consuming less carbohydrates than necessary can produce an increase in the amount of fats and proteins in the body.  Carbohydrates are, therefore, a fundamental part of a balanced diet and should be consumed daily in almost every meal.

Energy

The carbohydrates that come from bread are essential to strengthen our muscles and give us much needed energy.

Scientific evidence points to the importance of integrating carbohydrates such as bread to our diet.   As such, the food pyramid demonstrates how important it is for half of our energy to come from carbs.

At the same time, the Vitamin B complex in bread also helps our bodies to get rid of excess energy. This way, the 70 to 80 calories per slice of bread are comparable to that of an apple, a banana or 6 ounces of juice, while a dessert can have as much as 500-600 calories.

On the other hand, for those of us with a busy schedule and lifestyle, bread provides the necessary energy to complete our everyday activities.

Protection

When looking for a good ally to protect our bodies, our weight, and our heart, bread comes to mind.

Bread is a nutritious food with a moderate amount of calories, cholesterol free, low in sodium and fat, and contains no trans fats and does contain necessary vitamins, minerals and proteins.  Bread, especially whole wheat, provides the much needed fiber for a healthy digestive system.

Speaking of protection, those in a mostly vegetarian diet can get as much protein when eating bread combined with legumes and dairy as when eating meat, fish or eggs.

Prevention

Making good choices in terms of the foods we eat every day can help prevent illnesses and health problems.

For example, bread provides folic acid, a vitamin B complex that helps prevent birth defects.  Folic acid also reduces the levels of homocysteine in our blood, which helps maintain a healthy heart.

At the same time, the fiber in whole wheat bread is very beneficial for our bodies.  Fiber can reduce the risk of cancer, control cholesterol levels in our blood and reduce the level of bad cholesterol in our system.  Also, fiber delays the entrance of glucose into the bloodstream, which is especially important for diabetics. A diet rich in fiber helps reduce intestinal disorders such as colon cancer, diverticulitis and constipation, among others.  Fiber is also very important for those who are overweight or suffer from gallstones.

Bread is then an excellent food that helps create a balanced diet, helps in the protection of our system and gives our body the energy it needs, allowing us to create a healthier and more bountiful lifestyle.

Cómo incorporar la fibra a su dieta diaria

Now that you know the importance of fiber, here is how you should incorporate it into your daily diet:

  • Make sure that half of your fibers come from whole wheat sources.  Then, go a step further by ensuring that not only the phrase “whole wheat” is in the product's title, but also that “whole wheat” is the first ingredient listed on the package.   
  • The other half of your fibers must be fortified fibers.  Whole grains are not fortified.  When foods are described as being fortified or enriched, it means that nutrients such as calcium, folic acid and iron have been added.   
  • Eat 3 ounces per day! Make sure that you and every member of your family consumes at least three ounces of whole foods per day.  These may include: bread, pasta, cookies, crackers or rice.
  • Include fruits and vegetables in your diet. Remember that whole grains, fruits and vegetables constitute the most important  part of the food pyramid and, therefore, provide excellent health benefits. 
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