Fiber Focus: Why You Need Fiber and How to Add It to Your Diet
Chances are you’ve heard of fiber and its numerous health benefits if eaten regularly like lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, helping with weight and blood sugar management, and boosting your digestive health!
But did you know that there are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble?
Soluble fiber lowers unhealthy cholesterol. It also helps you digest foods more slowly, which controls blood sugar levels. Faster digestion can lead to blood sugar levels rising too high after you eat.
Insoluble fiber helps add bulk to your stool, which helps move waste through your body and prevent constipation.
BOTH soluble and insoluble fiber help you feel and stay full, satisfying your hunger for longer periods of time.
Eating more fiber also lowers your risk of heart disease and cancer.
On average, Americans eat about 10 grams of fiber each day – significantly less than the fiber recommendations from the Institute of Medicine. They advise men to consume 38 grams and women 25 grams of fiber each day, respectively.
It doesn’t have to be a chore to add more fiber to your diet, and the rewards are great. Here are 6 tips to boost your fiber intake:
Get more fiber at breakfast! A University of Liverpool study showed that eating a high fiber breakfast can help you eat less throughout the day, which could lead to weight loss, as you’re consuming fewer calories.
Fruits and Veggies
Load up with fruits and veggies at every meal. MyPlate suggests filling at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Add berries to your breakfast, snack on a high fiber apple and munch on black beans, hummus, avocado and red peppers during dinner.
Choose whole grains instead of processed grains. Whole grains are high in fiber as well as iron and B-vitamins. Eat brown rice instead of white rice, whole wheat pasta instead of refined.
Several times a week, skip meat and choose instead vegetarian choices, like fiber-rich beans and legumes. This is an easy swap to add extra fiber.
High Fiber Foods
Maximize your fiber intake by adding these fiber-rich foods to your diet: black beans, lentils, barley, bran, raspberries, broccoli, pears, apples, oats, corn, whole wheat spaghetti, artichoke, green peas and avocado.
Read nutritional labels to see how much fiber is in your food. A label that says it’s an “excellent” source of fiber has five or more grams of fiber per serving.
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