Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Fiber and Foods Good for the Gut

When asked to speak at my Mom's Senior Center, I chose the topic of fiber as most people don't get enough of it.  People know it's what we need to avoid constipation. Many know  that certain fibers help to lower bad cholesterol. Most don't think of fiber as helping to control blood sugar, yet it does this as well as helping us feel full longer.

Fiber is found only in plant foods. Whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables all contribute important nutrients. 

The recommended amount for seniors is 21 grams for women and 30 grams for men.
It's important to drink plenty of water.

When buying packaged foods, check the label for fiber content. Look for the words "whole grain" as the first ingredient on the label. Whole grains contain amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and cholesterol lowering properties. They're all unique. 

I visited the grocery stores near the senior center and purchased a few whole grains as examples and drew random numbers to give these away.  We reviewed package labels and ingredients and discussed ways to cook Whole Wheat Spaghetti, Whole Wheat Orzo, Brown Rice and Quinoa. From our local farmers market, I purchased buckwheat flour and horticulture beans as examples of fiber rich foods. The lucky winner of the Buckwheat Flour promised to make the young center director buckwheat cakes in the fall!

I made everyone a sample serving of my muesli, made with oats, blackberries, seeds and nuts-all on the fiber rich list of foods. Oats are rich in a prebiotic fiber. Prebiotics are soluble fibers linked to the helpful bacteria in the gut. They improve GI health and enhance calcium absorption.

Fennel Muesli

12 (1/3 cup) servings

Mix pepitas, almonds, pecans and seeds (It is fine to substitute other nuts). Toss on a wide rim baking sheet.  Toast in a 350 F. oven for 7 minutes.  Reduce oven to 275F.
1/3 cup pepitas
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup pecans
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 teaspoon fennel seeds

Mix honey, peanut butter, oil, orange and vanilla until smooth.  
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla

Toss peanut butter sauce with nuts and seeds and oats.  Mix until completely covered.
2 cups old fashioned oats
Spread onto parchment lined rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Stir.  

Chop apricots and berries in a food processor.  Mix with partially roasted granola.  Bake in oven for another 30 minutes.
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2-2 cups fresh berries, chopped (I used wild black raspberries picked last season and frozen) This works with as little as 1/2 cup to as much as 2 cups of berries. No difference in baking time is needed-using the higher amount will add about 6 more servings.

I suggested eating the muesli (prebiotic containing) with yogurt (probiotic containing).
Probiotics are the good bacteria-live cultures-that boost overall health, immunity and GI health. Prebiotics are meals for Probiotics. Yogurt and Kefir both are probiotic rich foods.

We ended by sampling Kefir.

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