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This week I am loving on carbs.

That may surprise some because carbs are getting so much hate lately. I wouldn’t think of giving them up.

Carbohydrate quality is what I’m talking about. The type of carb makes all the difference. What’s in your kitchen?

Whole-grain toast or a toaster pastry? Go whole grain for fiber and phytochemicals.

An orange versus orange juice? The orange has twice the fiber as orange juice.

A bowl of steel-cut oatmeal or a bowl of sugared flakes? Oats deliver fiber, protein and less sugar.

Are you seeing a pattern? Fiber + You = Better Health.

A study commissioned by the World Health Organization where researchers reviewed nearly 40 years of fiber research revealed that for every 8-gram increase in dietary fiber eaten per day, the risk for death, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer decreased by 5-27 percent. Can you find room for 8 grams of fiber?

They found the sweet spot to be that 25 to 29 grams of fiber per day generated the greatest health risk reduction, though most American average 15 grams of fiber a day.

Increasing fiber intake was associated with lower body weight, blood pressure and cholesterol compared with lower intake.

Carbohydrates are in many foods we eat. For good reason. Carbs fuel the brain. Carbs fuel muscles. They provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy. The healthiest sources of carbohydrates — whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans and dairy foods —promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber and a host of important phytonutrients.

Which leads me to this carb-rich salad. I love the freshness of this salad. I am happy to fill my fork with cancer fighting, energy boosting, fiber-rich foods. I also love that it’s flexible.

I used pomegranate seeds because I had some in the fridge. Substitute dried cranberries or chopped apple or orange. I had toasted walnuts on hand but pecans, almonds or pine nuts could replace the walnuts. No blue cheese? Try goat cheese or Parmesan shreds. Fresh out of red onion? A shallot, green, white or yellow onion works.

With this salad’s more than 5 grams of fiber per serving, you’re on your way to better health.

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Judy Barbe is a registered dietitian, speaker and author of “Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest: Simple Solutions for Fresh Food & Well-Being.” Visit her website www.LiveBest.info for every day food solutions.

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