How to Increase Your Fiber Intake
By incorporating a few new, tasty ingredients into your meals, you can easily increase your fiber intake.
Fiber assists in reducing the risk of developing various health conditions such as heart disease and severe constipation. Fiber helps maintain the digestive tract, decrease blood cholesterol, and promote normal bowel movements. The daily recommended amount of fiber intake is 25 to 30 grams a day from food, not supplements. If you are not able to obtain the necessary fiber intake from food, then there are dietary supplements to help. There are many ways to increase fiber in your diet. We’ll cover just a few of these in this blog post.
Grains and Cereals:
It is safe to include at least one serving a day of grains or a cereal. Keep a jar of oats or wheat to sprinkle over a salad or enjoy a bowl of oatmeal. Add whole grain bread to your regular grocery list and pick cereals that have about 5 grams of fiber per serving. You may also add whole-wheat crackers on hand for easy snacks. Cook with brown rice instead of white rice, but the switch may be hard to make and you may need to mix brown and white rice together at first.
Legumes and Beans:
There are beans that are higher in fiber than others such as kidney beans and garbanzo beans. Each half cup is about seven to eight grams of fiber per serving. You can replace meat a few times a week with legumes in meals such as chili or soups. There are international dishes you can try with these beans, too, like Mediterranean food. Try to mix things up and choose a variety of legumes and beans to round out your diet.
You can find higher amounts of fiber in fresh fruits and vegetables. If the vegetable or fruit has a peel, eat it as it will give an extra fiber boost. It is also easier than peeling it or eating around it. You can add dried fruits to your cookies, muffins, and pancakes before baking. One cup of raisins has about 7 grams of fiber as opposed to a cup of grapes that has 1 gram of fiber. Sliced bananas and peaches can be added to cereal, too.
You can obtain about three to four grams of fiber in apples, oranges, tangerines, pears and a cup of strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries. A cup of raspberries has about 8 grams of fiber. Vegetables with about three to four grams of fiber are half cups of peas, cauliflower, and squash and about a cup of carrots. You can also have a sweet potato added to your diet.
You may also add fiber supplements if you are not getting enough from the foods you eat. There are supplements you can buy over the counter, but if you are needing more fiber included in your diet consult your Primary Care Physician. There are certain fibers that reduces total blood cholesterol levels and may improve blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes. The best kinds of fiber are oats and dried beans.