Stock up on high fiber foods

That bowl of bran may do much more than keep you regular, according to research recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study, involving more than 3,500 participants over 65, found that those who got fibre from food sources including breads and cereals were 21 per cent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those who chose to consume less of these high-fibre foods. Previous studies focussed on fibre and artery health have involved younger age groups.

There are more reasons to stock up too. Fibre from whole grain breads and cereals may also have positive effects on blood cholesterol levels, blood sugar regulation, blood pressure readings and even decrease the risk of developing dangerous blood clots.

Here’s a recipe from our archives that features oat bran and whole wheat flour to get you started.

Caribana Banana Bread
Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and soluble fibre, the kind that helps lower blood cholesterol levels. And a small one has more than two grams of fibre. Contrary to the Carmen Miranda song, you can store them in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic – e skins will darken but the fruit inside won’t be affected.

PREPARATION: 16 minutes
COOKING: 60 minutes
FREEZING: excellent
PER SLICE: 167 calories. Cholesterol: 5 mg. An extremely good source of calcium, iron, potassium and protein.

2 tbsp (25 mL) non-fat plain yogurt
1 tbsp (15 mL) Canadian canola oil
2/3 cup (150 mL) Splenda granular sweetener* or sugar
1 large low-cholesterol egg**
1 3/4 cups (425 mL) unbleached soft whole wheat flour***
1/4 cup (50 mL) oat bran***
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
1/8 tsp (1/2 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) mashed riped bananas (about 2)
1/2 cup (125 mL) buttermilk or skim milk
2 tbsp (10 mL) dark rum or 1/4 tsp (1 mL) rum extract
1/2 tsp (2 mL) grated lime rind
2 tsp (10 mL) lime juice
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
1/4 cup (50 mL) roasted sunflower seeds or chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 cup (50 mL) flaked sweetened coconut
Cookware spray

1/4 cup (50 mL) packed brown sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) canola or polyunsaturated margarine
2 tsp (10 mL) lime juice
2 tsp (10 mL) dark rum or 1/4 tsp (1 mL) rum extract
2 tbsp (25 mL) roasted sunflower seeds or chopped pecans, toasted
2 tbsp (25 mL) flaked sweetened coconut

1. Spray an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with cookware spray. Set aside.
2. Combine all dry ingredients. Stir well.
3. Combine all wet ingredients. Stir well.
4. Pour batter into dry ingredients. Stir.
5. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 60 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan to a wire rack.
6. For topping, combine sugar, margarine, lime juice and rum in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Cook 1 minute. Add seeds and coconut. Spoon over loaf, transfer to a plate. Once thoroughly cool, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate or freeze.

1. For a sweet tooth, increase sweetener to 1 cup (250 mL).
2. If low-cholesterol eggs unavailable, use 2 egg whites.