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Tips for Adding Fiber to Your Summer Diet

separator Studies have shown that many people with diabetes can significantly lower their blood sugar by eating large amounts of fruits, vegetables and high-fiber grain. In one study, participants with type 2 diabetes who consumed 50 grams of fiber per day reduced their blood sugar levels by about 10 percent. That means you should have about seven or eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day, plus about three servings of high-fiber grain. An additional benefit was that the high-fiber diet also improved cholesterol levels. 

Summer is a good time to add fiber to your daily food intake. Some suggestions: 

►        Berries. Have them plain or add them to cereal. ½  cup of blackberries has 7.2 grams of fiber; 1 cup of strawberries has 4 grams and 1 cup of raspberries has 6 grams. 

►        Fresh summer vegetables. 1 cup of spinach has 4 grams of fiber (have it in salads instead of lettuce, and add it to sandwiches of whole grain bread), ½ cup of Brussels sprouts has 3.4, 1 ear of corn on the cob has 2.9, ½ cup of peas has 2, 1 carrot has about 2.3, ½ cup of broccoli has 2. 

►        Make vegetable sandwiches.  Grated carrots, sliced cucumber and tomato, a bit of onion and spinach slices—that’s going to be a lot better for you than an overstuffed chicken or tuna salad sandwich loaded with mayonnaise.  

►        Make cookouts fiber-rich. If you like to cook out on the grill, keep the meat portions on the small side—about the size of a deck of cards. If you’re having burgers, be sure to use whole wheat rolls. You could even try veggie burgers. They’re lower in fat and higher in fiber than meat. Add tomatoes and raw spinach to the roll. Put cobs of corn on the grill too. Make veggies on the side by spearing broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrot slices, green or red peppers and any other of your favorite vegetables. 

►        Add beans to salads. Kidney beans, chickpeas, white beans, black eyed peas—these are fiber sources that are good salad additions. 

►        Eat real fruits instead of fruit juices. On a hot summer day, it’s tempting to drink cold juice, but it’s the actual fruit that has the fiber you need. Keep melons and berries in the refrigerator so they give you the same cool, refreshing feeling as juice. 

If you’re not already used to eating a fair amount of fiber, add it to your diet gradually.

New England Journal of Medicine, 11 May 2000
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