Increasing Fiber Intake
A diet high in fiber has many health benefits, such as regulating the digestive tract and preventing constipation, aids in lowering cholesterol levels, helps control blood sugar levels, and can even aid with weight loss. Your body has to work harder to process high-fiber foods helping keep hunger at bay, stay satisfied longer, and ultimately consume fewer calories. Dietary fiber is found in large amounts in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and legumes.
Whole foods are the preferable way to consume fiber; however, fiber supplements, such as Metamucil and Benefiber can help increase your total daily fiber intake. Another way to get more fiber is to eat foods that are fortified with fiber, most commonly seen in cereals and granola bars. When increasing your daily intake of fiber it is also important to drink more water to help the fiber move through your digestive tract, at least 8 glasses a day!
5 easy ways to increase daily fiber intake:
- Choose Whole Grains: switch your white bread for whole grain bread, or try brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa, whole oats or 100% whole wheat flour.
- Fill up on Fruits and Vegetables: raw fruits and vegetables are great sources of dietary fiber try and include one fruit or vegetable with every meal. The highest source of fiber in fruits or vegetables is found in the skin, so eat the peel whenever possible.
- Top with Legumes: Beans and lentils can be great legumes to top onto salads, make dips with or include as a side to a meal. A ½ cup serving of beans contains on average 7-8 grams of fiber!
- Fortify with Fiber: Mix fiber supplements such as Metamucil or Benefiber into soft foods for additional fiber.
- Include Nuts and Seeds: All you need is ¼ cup of raw nuts or seeds for a dose of healthy fats and dietary fiber.