How to Easily Get More Fiber Each Day
Most people don’t get enough fiber. Big mistake! Fiber is important for a healthy digestive system – and a healthy heart. Here’s how to eat more foods rich in fiber.
Most Americans fall short of the 25 to 38 grams of fiber they need to stay healthy. In fact, most Americans get less than 15 grams of fiber each day – thanks to the easy availability of fast food and processed foods which are usually poor sources of fiber.
Why is It Important to Get More Fiber?
Insoluble fiber such as that found in wheat bran, whole grains, and some vegetables is important for keeping the intestines healthy and preventing constipation; while soluble fiber found in vegetables, fruits, and beans help to lower cholesterol levels and keep the heart healthy. There’s little doubt that it’s important for most Americans to get more fiber. Here are some ways to do that.
How to Get More Fiber by Choosing the Right Breakfast Cereal
Breakfast cereals run the gamut when it comes to fiber content. Some have too little fiber and too much sugar – but many are excellent sources of fiber. It pays to read the label carefully. One of the best sources of insoluble fiber is bran cereal. Unfortunately, some people don’t care for its taste. One way to get around this is to mix bran flakes with another better tasting cereal.
Another way to get more fiber is to choose hot, whole grain cereals such as oatmeal, Wheatena, or a multi-grain cereal. Tossing in a tablespoon of ground flaxseed and nuts into the cereal bowl increases the fiber content even more. Start the day right – with a whole grain, fiber-rich cereal.
Substitute with Foods That Are Rich in Fiber
Many people routinely eat bread, rice, and pasta – but they usually buy white bread and white rice which has had most of the fiber removed. Make the healthy switch by choosing whole grain bread (the first word on the ingredient list should say “whole”) and brown rice. Whole grain bread and brown rice is not only higher in fiber, but it’s more nutritious because it hasn’t had most of the vitamins and minerals stripped away during processing. Look for whole grain pastas too. They’re now available at most grocery stores.
Fruits, vegetables, and legumes are the best source of soluble fiber – although whole grains such as oats and barley contain it too. Choose from foods rich in fiber such as apples, citrus fruits, carrots, Brussels sprouts, beans, and lentils – among others. Instead of eating mashed potatoes, have mashed cauliflower instead – a better source of fiber. Make it a practice to have two vegetables with every meal and a piece of fruit for dessert. Be sure to eat the skin of fruits since it has an abundance of fiber.
Choose Snacks That are Rich in Fiber
Skip the candy bar and eat snacks that are rich in fiber instead. Few people realize that popcorn is a whole grain and is an excellent source of fiber. Just don’t douse it in butter. Look for whole grain crackers and top them with hummus – another good fiber source. Nuts are another fiber rich snack option.
The Bottom Line?
It takes a little effort to find foods that are rich in fiber – but it’s worth it. Higher fiber foods are more filling which may also help with weight loss. Learn how to make the right food choices – and make it a goal to get more fiber each day.