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Fiber-Rich Diet while Eating Gluten-Free

Fiber is hard enough to include in a regular diet, but what about a diet free of fiber-rich wheat, barley and rye, all components of gluten?

Meanwhile, fiber is a carbohydrate that’s good for you. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans classify it as a nutrient Americans need to boost in their diet. It cites fiber’s role in creating a healthy digestive system and notes that it may help reduce the risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Studies show that those of us who forgo gluten can have a hard time getting enough fiber, although one study suggested that we do just as well as those without dietary restrictions. Many gluten-free foods, however, are filled with starches – potato, corn, tapioca, to name a few – which contain almost zero fiber.

So to get it, we gluten-free need to bulk up on more fruits, vegetables, nuts and gluten-free whole grains like quinoa, buckwheat and brown rice. A cup of quinoa is good for 5.2 grams of fiber and brown rice for about 3.5 grams. Used underneath a bed of stir-fried greens and you’re on your way to consuming the recommended 25 grams a day for women and 38 for men.

And don’t forget your beans and peas, a mere half-cup of which can fortify your fiber intake by up to nine grams. My favorite, black-eyed peas, offer a wholesome 5 grams, as do black beans, while that hearty staple of Midwestern salads, the great northern, weighs in at 6.

So, here’s to happy, healthy, fiber-rich eating.

Pamela Hasterok

Source: Scientific American