Eat High-Nutrient High-Fiber Foods


 Why Eat High-Nutrient?

According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman your future health is determined by the amount of high-nutrient foods you eat in relation to the number of calories you eat. The higher the nutrient content of the food you eat, the better your future health will be. It is estimated that 65% of the adult population in America are eating a nutrient-impoverished diet. For children, that number is estimated to be 80%. Eating high-nutrient foods provides your body with the nutrients that are required to obtain and maintain optimal health. People who change what they eat to include a variety of high-nutrient foods

High-Nutrient Choices

High-Nutrient Choices

find that their health dramatically improves. In many cases, diabetes and other diseases will heal over time.

What Are High-Nutrient Foods?

The highest-nutrient foods are green leafy vegetables. One serving of greens a day (one cup raw or one-half cup cooked) decreases the risk of getting diabetes by 11% compared to people who do not eat green leafy vegetables. Colorful vegetables are the next most nutrient rich foods. Beans, berries and most fruits also have high amounts of nutrients per calories (except for bananas).

How Can I Learn More About What Foods Are High in Nutrients?

Click on the title to print a copy of our Food Choice List and Food Graph. To order your own copy of Dr. Fuhrman’s Nutritarian Handbook, click here.  A simple computer search for high nutrient foods or anti-inflammatory foods will provide a lot of useful information. Here’s an article by Dr. Fuhrman explaining high-nutrient foods.

Why Should I Eat High-Fiber Foods?

Enjoy colorful whole foods

Enjoy colorful whole foods

High-nutrient foods are often high-fiber foods because nutrients are closely bound to fiber. When fiber is removed from our foods, most of the nutrients are also removed. For example, when the bran and germ are removed from wheat to make white flour, the result is a nutrient-poor and calorie-rich food. This causes inflammation and disease instead of building health.

But eating high-fiber foods also has additional benefits for the person with diabetes. It forms a gel in the intestine that holds on to sugar and releases it slowly over a longer period of time. Thus the individual will experience less hunger and it protects them against low sugar episodes. It also results in a lower sugar spike after meals. Therefore, blood sugar levels are better maintained and insulin levels are lowered. The decreased need for insulin allows the pancreas to rest and heal. Lower blood levels of insulin make weight loss possible again.

How Much Fiber Should I Eat?

According to nutritionist, Dr. Dianna Fleming, a person needs to eat 50 grams of fiber a day to reverse diabetes. But don’t increase to 50 grams all at once! The average American eats only 8-10 grams of fiber a day. If they increase abruptly to 50 grams they will experience gas and bloating and will not be nice to be around! Their misery will probably cause them to abandon this reversal program forever.

But do not worry. You can enjoy these high-fiber foods by increasing your intake of high-fiber foods slowly. At first, you may experience a little gas, but stick with it. Your body will adapt to your environment and to what you eat. In a couple weeks your body will begin producing an enzyme that helps you digest the fiber. Instead of fermenting in your stomach and giving you all that gas it will help you digest that fiber. So, after you start making more of this enzyme, the gas and bloating will go away. However, it takes a little time to adjust, so be patient.

We recommend that you increase your fiber intake by 10 grams a week until you achieve 50 grams or more. To help you understand which foods contain fiber and which do not, I recommend that you read the Full Plate Diet. You can purchase a copy from Full Plate Living. Once on their web site, just click on the Diet tab and look for The Full Plate Diet. The Full Plate Fiber Guide is also available from the same web site.

What Foods Are High in Fiber?

Unrefined plant foods contain the highest amount of fiber. Beans are the king of high fiber.

Variety of Dried Beans

Variety of Dried Beans

Each half-cup serving contains approximately 6-8 grams of fiber. To learn which foods are highest in fiber, both of the books mentioned above are very helpful. The top foods of different categories are listed with the amount of fiber in a serving. You will quickly learn which are the superfoods! Make sure that you get your quota of fiber. Eat your fiber foods first, then fill up on what’s left.

Can I Just Take Fiber Supplements?

Yes, you can take fiber supplements. But the supplements do not also contain the high level of nutrients that you will get if you are getting it in your food. The other thing to consider is that you will need to take 40 grams of supplement a day. Most supplements are packaged in 1 gram amounts. If you are taking fiber tablets, that would mean that you need to take 40 tablets a day to reach your desired intake level. Wouldn’t it be better to get your fiber from your foods? That way, you can get both high-fiber and high-nutrient at the same time.

What Are the Side Effects of Eating High Fiber Foods?

Most people will experience an increased frequency of bowel movements. Stools may occur twice a day and be loosely formed. On the other hand, a few people may experience severe constipation when they begin eating a high-fiber diet. This is usually because they are not drinking adequate amounts of water. Be sure that you drink at least 8-10 8-ounce glasses of water a day (2-2.5 liters/quarts/day).

Variety of Wonderful Food Choices

Variety of Wonderful Food Choices

The Bottom Line

Plant foods contain the highest levels of nutrients and fiber.

  • Eating an abundance of these foods is important for good blood sugar control and will help you lose weight.
  • Increase your intake of fiber slowly over 4 weeks until you are eating 50 grams of fiber or more a day.
  • Eat your fiber foods first.

Click here to learn more about the benefits of eating green leafy vegetables.

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