Healthy Living: The Wonders of Fiber


cover photo: (left) Dr. Rita Gaither (middle) Rodney Brown, executive director of Southwest Tribune and Dr. Julietta Fiscella, chief of Pathology at Highland Hospital


Southwest Tribune (SWT) feels fortunate for the invite to attend an informative session about ‘The Wonders of Fiber,’ hosted by Edison Career and Technology High School’s Educator Dr. Rita Gaither, featuring Dr. Julietta Fiscella, chief of Pathology at Highland Hospital.

Dr. Fiscella sessions are described as, demonstrations and interactive discussions, where a fusion of science, medicine, and cooking are experienced through fun activities that empowers you to create life-long change in the selection and preparation of food to promote optimal health and improve chronic disease.

The discussion was centered around:

How someone can significantly improve their health through a simple inexpensive diet that keeps you slim and trim that prevents cancer, diabetes and hypertension? While also decreasing bad cholesterol levels, along with managing symptoms cause by allergies and asthma, by strengthening the body’s immune system

“The hot topic in the medical field today is gut bacteria,” Dr. Fiscella propose. “How do you regulate every part of our body and significantly improve your health? Which the answer is? “Feed it fiber,” she said.

I’m a native of Saint Lucia, a sovereign island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea, where the entire island’s food supply is provided by growing it and whatever that was fished out of the ocean that’s edible.

“When I came to America,” she said. “Everything was packed and boxed and contain chemicals that entices you to crave bad foods.”

“We eat too much,” Fiscella points out. “And too much of what we eat are considered bad foods. You can’t eat French Fries and hamburgers all the time. I am 63 years old. And because of my diet, I can easily complete a run of 3 miles every day, not mattering how cold or how hot. If you take care of your stomach and digestive system by giving it a simple plant-based nutrient called fiber, it will take care of your health forever.”

Dr. Fiscella highly recommends a person’s diet include a high propensity of soluble and insoluble fibers such as beans and greens, wheats, oats and nutrients such as brand flakes, berries, and apples.

“So, if you eat a McDonald’s meal there’s no fiber in it,” Fiscella said.

Other foods with insoluble fiber:

• Greens (spinach, lettuce, kale, mesclun, collards, arugula, watercress, etc.)

• Whole peas, snow peas, snap peas, pea pods

• Green beans

• Kernel corn
• Bell peppers

• Eggplant

• Celery

• Onions, shallots, leeks, scallions, garlic

• Cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts

• Broccoli

• Cauliflower

Foods with soluble fiber:

• Carrots

• Winter squash

• Summer squash (especially peeled)

• Starchy tubers (yams, sweet potatoes, potatoes)

• Turnips

• Rutabagas

• Parsnips

• Beets

• Plantains

• Taro

• Yuca

Dr. Fiscella also highlighted that, adding fruits and berries to every meal allows you to maximize your fiber intake.

“Oatmeal increases your good cholesterol,” Fiscella said. “And berries have fiber and antioxidants, which eliminates all molecules in your body that could cause cancer.”

She also points out that, instant oatmeal is better than no oatmeal, however it’s processed. So, she recommends eating natural oatmeal. “It’s more beneficial,” she continues.

“Broccoli, greens, sauerkraut, and cabbage feed the good bacteria in your digestive system. It you don’t, the bad bacteria will take over and compel you to crave junk food. Soft drinks like soda feeds the bad bacteria. If you’re thirsty, you should drink water. Plus, fiber fills you up. And if you are full, you eat less. Therefore, many in the medical field has determine fiber as the easiest diet swing, because it is inexpensive.”

For a further in-depth analysis on the longevity of human life through a healthy diet, SWT proposed some questions to Dr. Fiscella about the life expectancy of humans.

SWT: What is the best diet that compliments the digestive make-up of the human body?

Dr. Fiscella: I think a balance diet is the best one. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables and minimizes the amount of animal protein we put in our bodies

SWT: Can a high Fiber diet increase human life expectancy beyond what it is today?

Dr. Fiscella: I think life expectancy is genetically prone, but environment pays a big part also. For example, my mom has lived for 89 years, maybe that’s my genetics but I can shorten that precipitously by eating the wrong foods. I can become obese, develop hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

SWT: So, can we believe that people, who we have read about in the Bible could have lived well passed the age of 100 years old?

Dr. Fiscella: I think people in the Bible could have lived well over 100 years. The number one epidemic in America is obesity. And because of it, we have all these complications like hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and other issues we see right now. And it is all caused by what we eat.

SWT: How do we get around the hormones and antibodies that are supplemented into our food supplies in today’s America?

Dr. Fiscella: Fresh organic food must be available to everyone. We must find ways to decrease the price of organic foods because everyone can’t afford it. And information about-- what foods are good for your health is lacking among the general population. More people must be informed about what they are buying, because you are what you eat.

Dr. Julietta Fiscella has worked at Highland Hospital for 22 years. She is boarded in Clinical, Anatomic and Cytopathology practices that diagnose diseases from tissues, cells and from blood.

She is also a certified Physician Executive, who specializes in hospital operations, finance and physician issues.

Fiscella received her Bachelor of Science degree from St. John’s University in New York in 1984 and Doctor of Medicine degree from SUNY Buffalo in 1988. She completed her residence in Pathology at the University of Rochester in 1992.
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