Fiber is the indigestible portion of food that helps a person feel satiated. It is an essential part of your diet that not only enables you to maintain a healthy weight but also regulates your bowel movements.
A high-fiber diet has tons of other health benefits and is known to reduce the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. Since we are not really aware of the benefits of this essential nutrient and its healthy sources, the consumption of fiber remains low.
Research shows how less than 3% of US citizens are meeting their daily recommended fiber intake.
The FDA and Institute of Medicine recommend 38g of fiber intake for men and 25g for women. On average, only 16g is present in the current American diet – which is even less than half of the recommended amount.
Here are all the reasons why you should add fiber to your diet right now:
- Healthier digestive system: Adding adequate amount of fiber in your diet keeps your digestive system healthy. People who are not deficient in this nutrient complains less about irregular bowel movements and constipation.
- Weight loss: By merely increasing fiber in your diet, you can shed pounds. This one dietary change can help a person lose a significant amount of weight and even helps maintain it. Foods rich in fiber does not only fill you up but also keep you satiated for long.
- Lowers the risk of Diabetes (Type II): People who keep up with their fiber intake can cut their risk of type II diabetes by 18%. Researchers confirm that since fiber plays a role in maintaining blood sugar levels, it helps stave off diabetes risk.
- Less risk for Heart Disease: The adequate intake of fiber can successfully sop up the excessive cholesterol in your body. Also, it helps cholesterol drain out before it ends up clogging your blood vessels.
- Eliminate toxins: Fiber intake is a great way to take your body through a natural detox. It not only gets rid of the toxins, but it also eliminates the clogging of your GI tract.
With all those benefits and more, there’s no way why you want to skip fiber in your diet.
The following are the top seven ways you can change your diet and make it more fiber-friendly.
1. Add more Whole-Food Sources to Your Diet
Fiber is a type of carbohydrates. But since it is found in plant-based foods, it is different from the regular carbs. While ‘normal’ carbohydrates break down to release sugar, fiber remains intact as it travels through your digestive tract.
Since fiber doesn’t break down, it’s the main reason why it can make you feel fuller for longer. This delayed digestion of fiber also helps maintain an optimal sugar level in your body.
Adding more whole-food carbs to your diet is a great way to consume more fiber. These include whole grains, starchy vegetables, legumes, and fruits. In short, select a variety of whole grains, beans, veggies and fruit and plan your diet around these options.
2. Always Add Veggies to Your Meals
When you turn to healthy eating, every nutritionist and dietician will tell you to eat more vegetables. There are tons of medical and health benefits of eating more green veggies.
If you are more conscious about your weight and calories, it’s particularly healthy to pick non-starchy vegetables. They are rich in all essential nutrients, including fiber. Add veggies to all your meals. That’s the most efficient way to consume more of them.
Use veggies as a side or make a salad with all your meals and increase your vegetable intake. Adding a vegetable soup or salad to your diet with the meal or before also makes you feel full so you eat lesser calories. Remember that adding fiber to your diet can help you lose weight.
3. Make Fruits Your Snacks
Fruits are the most delicious and portable of all snacks. Not only you have a great variety of options, but you also don’t have to spend time preparing them. Just grab a piece and start munching already.
All fruits are rich in fiber – although there are some notably better than others. For instance, a small pear can offer you 5-6g of fiber while a large bowl of watermelon may only have 1-2g. Apples and berries are also rich in fiber content.
So instead of reaching out for those fattening snacking options, stick to the unlimited variety of fruits.
4. Always pick Whole Grains
You always have the option of refined grains, but that’s not the best choice. Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber and many other essential nutrients.
The minimally processed whole grains may not last as long as the refined ones, but they are definitely more nutritious. You do not have to make significant compromises here. Merely readjust your diet to the whole-grain versions. Other than brown rice and oatmeal, other whole grain options include:
- Wheat berries
- Bulgur wheat
5. Start Your Day with a Fiber Boost
In addition to adding fiber to your overall dietary pattern, it is particularly important to add it to your breakfast to start your day with the required energy that keeps you going.
Fiber is the fuel your body needs. Choose whole-grain breakfast cereals that contain at least 3g of fiber in a serving. A handful of berries, some almonds, or a slice of whole wheat toast is excellent to begin your day. There are tons of other breakfast ideas you can try, which includes whole-wheat grains for the fiber boost you need.
6. Load Up on Legumes
Legumes – which include dried peas, beans, and lentils – can also sum up to make a new fiber-rich diet for people who enjoy these options.
Not only they have fiber in them, but legumes are also rich in other nutrients such as vitamins, carbs, protein, and minerals. A cup of cooked beans is enough to meet more than 70% of your daily fiber requirement.
Replace your meat meals with legumes a few times in a week and instantly enjoy fiber boost and better health. Some common ways to include legumes in your diet are:
- Whole beans or mashed beans served with beef dishes
- Hummus and other dips made from beans
- Cooked lentils
- Cooked beans topped with salad
7. Add Seeds and Nuts to Your Diet
Seed and nuts are two great options rich in healthy fats, protein, and of course, fiber. They are a great addition to recipes and can also be used for snacking.
The power-pack food options come with versatility when it comes to cooking. They are nutrient dense and shelf-stable. Add them to your food for the added nutrition and fiber to your meals.
It’s easy to see now why fiber is such an essential element to keep you healthy. If you feel that your eating plan isn’t fiber friendly, get in touch with a dietician. The good thing is that you can contact nutrition experts and dieticians using your laptop and smartphone. Like most medical practitioners, dieticians have also incorporated telemedicine into their practice. This means now you can get the best health advice without having to visit a healthcare facility.
These simple tips mentioned above can be practiced on a daily bases to ensure you meet your daily fiber intake. You will be amazed by the health benefits you can experience with this simple change in your diet.