Fiber: Not Just for Grandma!

by Natalie

Though it often doesn’t get much attention, fiber is an important part of the breast cancer prevention diet.

Why Fiber is Important for Breast Cancer Prevention

Fiber helps support healthy estrogen balance. Sometimes we accumulate excess amounts of estrogen. This can be through carrying too much body fat, or through exposure to estrogen-like chemicals in our environment. It is good to keep our bodies free of excess estrogens to keep breast cancer risk low. Dietary fiber binds estrogen in the digestive tract and sends it out with your #2’s.

Besides keeping estrogen levels healthy, there are many other benefits to eating fiber rich foods. Fiber can help keep your weight down by keeping you feeling fuller longer. It also helps keep cholesterol levels down, which is great for your heart. Lastly, it keeps your overall digestive system working top notch.

How Much Fiber Should I Eat?

Women younger than age 50 should consume 25 grams of fiber each day.

Do I Need a Fiber Supplement?

Most people don’t need fiber supplements to reach their daily requirement. It is best to get fiber from your foods. There are so many foods naturally high in fiber. Be wary of packaged and processed foods that have the word fiber in their name, such as FiberOne bars. Though these bars are tasty, I find they are mostly unhealthy, containing high amounts of sugar and hydrogenated oils (trans-fats). Always check your labels!

Foods Naturally High in Fiber

  • Beans (a fiber powerhouse!)
  • Berries
  • Oatmeal
  • 100% whole grain bread and crackers
  • Flaxseed
  • Chia seed
  • Nuts
  • Bran cereal or bran muffins
  • Popcorn (always best to pop your own)
  • Dried fruit (always choose unsweetened)
  • Raw vegetables

Tips to Increase Your Daily Fiber Intake

  • eat a whole grain cereal for breakfast
  • add flaxseed or chia seed to your smoothie or breakfast cereal
  • have some popcorn as an evening snack (homemade is best!)
  • have some nuts or berries as snacks
  • use frozen berries for smoothies (Trader Joe’s has some great frozen berries)
  • use 100% whole grain bread for your sandwiches or morning toast
  • use 100% whole wheat flour for your baked goods
  • use a whole grain noodle for your pasta dishes, I like brown rice pasta. Whole wheat pasta works too. Soba noodles are made out of buckwheat and are great for Asian noodle dishes. You can find them at stores like Whole Foods.
  • Buy or make your own bran muffins

Which of the high fiber foods listed above are your favorite? Do you find it easy or difficult to get fiber in your diet? Leave your thoughts in the comments box below!

 

 

 

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photo by: ilovemypit on Flickr

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