Smart Ways to Get More Fiber into Your Diet
Why is it that many weight loss programs encourage adding more high-fiber foods in the diet? There are many health benefits resulting from eating more fiber foods, which include improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels, good bowel functions, and longer feeling of satiety that helps people who want to lose weight.
Preventive cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston states that fiber is important to maintaining good health, but, unfortunately, people aren’t having enough of it in their daily diet. Americans on average only consume 12 to 17 grams of fiber per day instead of the recommended 25 to 30 grams.
Two Forms of Fiber
Soluble fiber, called such because it is soluble in water, can help delay the absorption of glucose in the blood stream, thus aiding in the regulation of blood sugar levels. It can also reduce cholesterol absorption in the blood stream, thereby improving cholesterol levels.
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, is like a broom that sweeps clean the digestive tract. It also promotes regularity of bowel movement by adding bulk to stool.
Both types of fiber are necessary to good health and are always available in most edible plant materials. Foods rich in soluble fiber include oats, beans, nuts and fruits. Vegetables and whole grains are known to have more insoluble fiber.
How to Have More Fiber in the Diet
While it is recommended to include fiber in your diet, don’t suddenly ramp up your fiber intake. Do it slowly. By gradually increasing your fiber intake every day, you avoid experiencing the undesirable side effects, such as diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, and gas.
Now, what are some good ways to incorporate fiber into your meals and snacks? Listed below are some tips and tricks to give you a quick start:
- Oatmeal or whole-grain cereals topped with fresh fruits are perfect for breakfast.
- Don’t peel fruits and vegetables when you eat them raw, if possible.
- Have fresh or dried fruits for a snack.
- Try couscous, barley or bulgur as your side dish.
- Snack on popcorn and get both types of fiber added to your diet.
- Eat brown rice instead of polished white rice.
- Buy whole-wheat pasta for your carbonara, spaghetti and other pasta dishes.
- Incorporate vegetables to your dishes including pastas as often as you can.
- Follow the recommended half-filled plate of fruits and vegetables on every meal. Pear, apples, berries, spinach and peas are good high-fiber food choices.
- Eat a muffin made with bran for breakfast or snack.
It’s not that difficult to include fiber-rich foods into your meals and snacks every day. You will be glad you did as you feel healthier and you see that your body is starting to lose weight and be in a better shape.
Photo credits: “Various grains” by Peggy Greb, USDA ARS. Licensed under Public Domain via WikimediaCommons