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High Fiber Diet

A diet high in fiber may help to prevent diverticulosis, colon cancer, and hemorrhoids. Studies of African tribes that have large volumes of fiber in their diet have shown very few problems with these conditions. When combined with plenty of liquid, the resultant bulky stool moves through the hind gut and passes with more ease. The downside to this diet in our society is flatulence (gas). There is no status in flatus in our culture but perhaps we should be more tolerant of this byproduct of a healthy high fiber diet.

Adding fiber to your diet:

Add fiber gradually to avoid gas cramps, diarrhea, or bloating

Fiber absorbs large amounts of water. You must increase your intake of water (at least 8 glasses/day). Metamucil is a prepared fiber supplement that demands increased water intake. Without enough water, the preparation can harden and act adversely.

The highest fiber containing foods are prunes, "all bran" type cereals, and beans (particularly navy, pinto, baked and kidney)

Read labels on foods to determine their fiber content. Many cereals have no fiber at all. Some "natural' grain cereals have a minimal amount of fiber (less than 1-2 gm of fiber per ounce). Cereals with the highest amount of fiber per ounce are some of the artificially created bran cereals that may have as many as 10 gm of fiber per ounce. Normal bran cereals may have between 3-6 gm per ounce (prunes have 6 gm/ounce).

Salads: Most salads do not contain much fiber. Iceberg lettuce, tomato, and celery contain mostly water. Slaw (cabbage) is the exception to salad with higher fiber.

Beans: Excellent sources of fiber include kidney beans, baked beans, pinto , lima, garbanzo and navy beans.

Raw fruits and vegetables contain some fiber but often contain mainly water. Whole grains used in cereal and breads are much better than their refined counterparts.

A high fiber diet is good to prevent recurrent problems with diverticulitis. However, certain foods that are also higher in fiber should be avoided. Those foods to avoid include nuts, seeds, kernels, and foods that contain them such as berries, popcorn, corn, chunky peanut butter, figs, jams, preserves, and foods with poppy, sesame, or caraway seeds.


Sample dietary supplements:

Breakfast: Eat 6-8 prunes along with a bowl of "all bran" cereal.

Lunch: Sandwich on whole wheat bread with black bean soup.

Dinner: Cabbage ( or Cole slaw), brown rice with peas,

Snacks: oatmeal cookies, chunky peanut butter on whole grain toast

Beverages: Drink plenty of water, iced tea, milk, or juice

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