Foods that are high in fiber can help lower the risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as reduce cholesterol levels. It can also help with the treatment of constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, improve the health of your skin, flush harmful toxins from the body and may help prevent colon cancer. And if that wasn’t enough, fiber also has benefits for those who are trying to lose weight, by helping you feel fuller longer, reduce blood glucose levels and curb overeating.
Despite the multiple health benefits of fiber, most Americans are not getting enough fiber in their diet. Part of the problem may be that most people only associate fiber with digestive health. But as you can see above, there is much more to fiber than relief from constipation.
Getting the right amount of fiber in your diet may seem like a bit of a struggle. But with a little creativity, it can be surprisingly simple to add high fiber foods into your daily routine. The amount of fiber you should get each day depends on your age and sex. Men younger than 50 years of age should consume at least 38 grams of fiber per day, while men older than 50 should consume 30 grams per day. Women younger than 50 should consume at least 25 grams per day while women older than 50 should consume at least 21 grams per day.
So, with that being said, here are some easy creative ways to increase the fiber in your diet.
1. Sprinkle a tablespoon of ground flaxseed over your oatmeal, or breakfast cereal. Both oatmeal and breakfast cereals are great sources of fiber themselves. Adding ground flaxseed boosts the fiber value by 3 grams.
2. Try some multigrain or 100% whole wheat bread. Perhaps one of the easiest changes to make is to simply replace white bread with whole wheat bread to get the most grams of fiber. Just be sure to check the ingredients to make sure whole grain is the first or second on the list.
3. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. You can eat them raw or cooked, add them to smoothies, soups and salads, or combine them with other tasty treats. One of my favorite midday snack treats is apple slices with honey roasted peanut butter. Yummy! Here are some fiber amounts for other fruits and veggies.
4. Let’s Hum for Hummus! Whether store bought, or homemade, hummus serves up a bountiful supply of fiber, especially when served with raw veggies. Hummus, which is made with chickpeas is loaded with soluble fiber (controls blood sugar). When paired with tasty raw veggies such as carrots, broccoli and red peppers, you’ll have the perfect balance of fiber to meet your daily intake needs.
5. Don’t forget the beans! Add a ½ cup of beans to your meals at least 2-3 times per week. They offer more fiber than plant foods and are also loaded with healthy plant protein. Why not try a black bean and sweet potato chili for dinner, or make a hearty slow cooker multi-bean soup with smoked turkey? Yummy!
So as you can see, it doesn’t have to be a struggle to boost your daily intake of fiber. A couple of tips for getting started – Start slowly. Adding too many high fiber foods at one time may cause bloating or cramping. Be sure to drink lots of water! Liquids help your body digest and process the fiber. And finally, check all nutritional labels and look for the amounts of dietary fiber in each product. Enjoy!
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