Do Not Drink Your Fruits, Eat It!


Dietary fiber is a needed part of eating a healthy diet. The cell walls of vegetables, fruits, and legumes are fiber – indigestible carbohydrates -that help with gastrointestinal health, overall health, and reduced health risks. Getting the right amount is critical and about 14 grams per 1000 calories consumed is recommended. A regular passion fruit has about 25g, an avocado has about 13g, a mango has 5g, rice has 3.5g per cup, a papaya, a banana, a lime, a cup of watermelon all have ONLY about 2g whereas a cup of black beans has 15g and red kidney beans has whopping 46g!

We tend to juice our fruits and forget that the fiber will help in digestion and reduce blood sugar spikes. There are numerous benefits of eating a high fiber diet including improved digestion, reduce risk of inflammation, reduce the risk of chronic disease such as heart disease and some cancers to name a few. Being consistent with fiber intake can also help you lower your cholesterol and glucose levels. The good “gut” bacteria feed on the fiber and their byproducts feed the cells of the colon thereby reducing inflammation and risk of bowel syndromes. Fiber absorbs the water in the intestines which helps to soften the stool and moves it along through the GI system. This process produces a sense of satiety where you feel full and satisfied after eating.

Dietary fiber is found mainly in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. Common food sources include citrus fruits, carrots, apples, beans, peas, oats, barley, and psyllium. Check out your local farmer, or market for a variety of choices.

The Ministry of Health released the Food-based Dietary Guidelines for Belize which give Belizeans’ guidance on eating balanced meals. They also released the A Little of Everything is Good for You brochure to help you understand the quality and quantity of foods to consume. They even published a good cookbook using recipes from the Southern part of Belize called, Healthy Flavors from the South (Belize).

Learn to track how much fiber you are getting so you get enough in your body. Try to eat some fruits sometimes and add more vegetables into your meal planning. Explore new recipes and ask your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers about new and different recipes to try with your family. When we prevent health issues, we have a better quality of life and live longer.