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Friday, April 6, 2012

Fig Trees and Fiber

You haven’t lived till you have been to dinner with two dietitians who spontaneously break into conversation about urine and feces charts. These charts help you determine if you are dehydrated or constipated, don’tcha know. Yes, we lack shame and a sense of decorum. But this is what happens after visiting dozens of strangers in hospital beds to ask with confidence, “Do you have constipation or diarrhea?” What an icebreaker! 

So obviously if we talk about digestion so much, it must be important. Research continues to show the importance of a healthy digestive tract. Fiber is an important part of that. Although not an attractive topic, it helps guard against heart disease, high cholesterol, and weight gain. It also aids in weight loss and helps control blood sugar levels in diabetics. Fiber is also necessary for those with diverticulosis to help avoid flair-ups.   

One form of fiber present throughout the bible is the fig. It makes its first appearance in the third chapter of Genesis. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (Ge 3:7).  Hmmm…not the best start for the fig. But it gets better. In biblical times, fig trees were considered a sign of long-continued well-being and prosperity. They require lots of labor and patience because they are slow growing. A successful fig tree meant divine favor and peace. Failure or destruction of the tree was considered tragic. There are a wide variety of figs and they can have 5% of your daily value of fiber.

Tips for Fiber
Women should get 25g daily and men 38g daily. This decreases some with age, but the average adult should get this amount. Realistically if you can get just 20g, you are doing well.  Is it sad I can quote that off the top of my head? This sounds like a lot of fiber and based on our current diets, this can be difficult to get. I always tell people at each meal to make sure a fiber source is represented. For example, a meal of chicken and mashed potatoes doesn’t have fiber. The fiber would have been in the skin of the potato which is not in that meal.

Sources include:
  • Whole grain breads and cereals
  • Oatmeal
  • Legumes/Beans (any kind you like)
  • Fruits and don’t forget to eat the skins of apples, plum, pears, etc.
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
This may not sound like a lot of choices, but when you consider the wide variety of fruits and vegetables you really have a lot to choose from. There is much to the topic of fiber and more than I can cover in a 500 word blog, including discussion on the difference between insoluble and soluble fiber. So feel free to message me with any comments or questions. 

Today’s Verse: “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.”  1 Corinthians 12:12

Next Blog: I know it’s your mom’s Easter pie, but throw it out! 

Sources: Marshall, L Howard, Millar, AR, Pakcer, JI, Wiseman, DJ. “New Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed.” 2000.
“Figs.” The World’s Healthiest Foods.
“Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet” The Mayo Clinic.

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