Last week I highlighted the importance of adding root vegetables to your diet (diet – meaning the kinds of food a person, animal or community habitually eats). This week I’ll share a deliciously simple snack solution for eating healthier on the go, as you transition your nutrition and get a jump on your New Year’s Resolutions for better health in the coming year.
Colonrectal.org reports that rural Africans, whose diets are rich in fiber, suffer less from digestive tract diseases than Americans do; thought to be partially related to the high fiber content in their diet. Most Americans eat 10 to 15 grams of fiber a day, whereas 25 to 35 grams are recommended.
This fall, think fiber! Fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. The role of insoluble fiber is to move bulk through the intestines and control pH or acidity in intestines. For example, foods like wheat bran, most beans, flaxseeds and starchy vegetables contain this type of fiber. Soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar because it “prolongs stomach emptying time so that sugar is released and absorbed more slowly” [G.Tsang, RD, HealthCastle.com, Jan. 29, 2013].
Sure there’s Metamucil, but by far the best ways to get fiber is to turn to the whole foods found in Mother Nature. Sweet potato, figs, flaxseed, and fruit with skin like apricots, prunes, apples and one of my personal favorite –pears are the best sources of soluble fiber.
Why I Love Pears
Which came first the apple or the pear? All I know is I love the fleshy skin of pears, tart aroma and meaty juiciness of its’ bite. Pears actually contain more fiber than most fruits including apples –about 6 grams vs. 4 grams; and more potassium 195mg in apples vs. 206mg in pears. Potassium balances fluid and sodium and controls the electrical activity of the heart and other muscles. A big plus is that pears are a low allergy fruit, so people with food sensitivities will usually not have much of a problem eating them.
Snack Solution: Toss the bagels, protein bars, corn chips and muffins. Pears may also contribute to weight loss because they keep you feeling fuller longer. Meaning, you eat less, eliminate more toxins and decrease bloating for the extra energy you’ll need for exercise! On the move and there’s no time to stop for a healthy meal? Try this recipe:
Pear n’ Nut Pack
1 medium sized pear chopped in bite sized pieces (spritz with lemon juice)
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
2 tablespoons roasted almonds
1 tablespoon shelled pistachios
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of powdered ginger
Note: If you’re allergic to nuts, you may use seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower.
Mix all of the ingredients together in a zip lock bag or plastic container and enjoy!
Next week, I’ll share some fabulous Fall walking trails in NYC that will keep you moving with Mother Nature…
Monifa Maat “The Healthy Motivator” is a Community Health Advocate, Fitness Therapist, Artist, Author/Creator of “Bed Aerobics Fitness Flow: Easy Bed Exercises for the Body, Mind & Spirit. Monifa@TheHealthyMotivator.com & Southbridgefitnesscenter.com