We all know fiber is good for us; it fills us up and, for Points-counters, it can help bring a food's Points value down (woohoo!). So seeking out foods that have lots of fiber is a no-brainer. But one of our latest obsessions, a book called The World's Healthiest Foods by our pal George Mateljan, turned us on to an awesome way to evaluate which fiber-ific foods are really the best. In the book (which is pretty much a food BIBLE), foods are evaluated based on several factors, including the nutrient content in relation to the amount of calories the food contains. Based on this fancy formula, the book has determined that the following are some of the BEST sources of dietary fiber in the world. Are you ready? Here goes...
1. Raspberries (1 cup = 60 calories, 8.3g fiber)
Fun Facts: In addition to their fiber-ificness, raspberries provide powerful antioxidants, promote overall health and taste great, too! Raspberries retain the maximum amount of nutrients and taste best when they're eaten fresh rather than cooked in recipes. Try topping your cereal with some, or whipping up a berry good smoothie with 'em!
2. Cauliflower (boiled, 1 cup = 29 calories, 3.4g fiber)
HG Tips: Steam or boil it thoroughly and then mash it up -- it's a great mashed potato swap or the start to a super-low-cal creamy dip (just add some spices like garlic salt and parsley)! And store uncooked cauliflower in a paper or plastic bag in the refrigerator, where it will keep for up to a week. To prevent moisture from developing in the florets, store it with the stem side down.
The 411: Collard greens are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, folate, dietary fiber, and calcium. They're also a very good source of potassium, vitamin B2 and vitamin B6, and a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B1, vitamin B5, niacin, zinc, phosphorous and iron. Yowsa! Try this smoky-tasting cousin of kale boiled and topped with reduced fat grated parm for a vitamin-packed powerhouse snack!
4. Broccoli (steamed, 1 cup = 44 calories, 4.7g fiber)
Fun Facts: Broccoli is CRAZY-high in vitamins C & K and, like most cruciferous veggies, it is a major cancer-fighter. It also tastes great raw or cooked, and in salads, soups and stir-fries. WE HEART BROCCOLI! (Psst...Check out our recipe for a creamy crab burrito stuffed with the mini trees!)
Report Card: Sez the book, "If vegetables got grades for traditional nutrients alone, Swiss chard would be one of the vegetable valedictorians. The vitamin and mineral profile of this leafy green vegetable contains enough 'excellents' to ensure its place at the head of the vegetable Dean's List." Go, Swiss chard, go! Try steaming some up and drizzling with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar or your favorite flavor of Wish-Bone's Salad Spritzers; then serve it as a side dish!
6. Spinach (boiled, 1 cup = 41 calories, 4.3g fiber)
Why it Rocks: Not only does spinach taste great, it can protect against osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, arthritis and other diseases, as well. It can also help protect brain function (a very good thing -- we enjoy our brains and would like to maintain them). Get your Popeye on with our award-worthy, super-creamy, famous spinach dip!
7. Celery (1 cup = 19 calories, 2g fiber)
The Dirt on Celery: It has been used to fight high blood pressure and has been known to lower cholesterol. Celery is an excellent source of vitamin C. It also adds a nice crunch to tuna salad (made with fat-free mayo, of course), and it tastes fantastic dipped in Vivi's Original Sauce Classic Carnival Mustard (click here for the details on that!).
Betcha Didn't Know: Cabbage has a long history of use as both a tasty food and as a medicine -- it's been used to treat a variety of health conditions. Red cabbages contain significantly more protective phytonutrients than white cabbages. And raw cabbage juice is well documented as being remarkably effective in treating peptic ulcers. (Psst...Get your fill with our awesome 0-Point cabbage soup!)
For more interesting food facts, findings, tips, tricks and recipes, PLEASE PLEASE check out George's amazingly fantastic book. IT ROCKS and basically has everything you ever wanted to know about which foods are the best for you and why, including info on how to store them, how to cook them, etc. And it's pretty and easy to use, too. We're OBSESSED with it and you will be, too!
HG News You Can Use: BOCA meatless products ROCK! HG LOVES their awesome lasagna, chili, b-fast wraps, burgers and more. All BOCA products are lower in fat and saturated fat and most are lower in cholesterol and calories than their meat-based counterparts. Click here for the 411!
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