Are you looking for a way to improve your diet? Take a minute for a diet check to determine if you’re getting a healthy fiber intake. Filling your diet with high-fiber foods can greatly impact your health and assist you with weight management.
What is Fiber?
Fiber is a carbohydrate found in fruit, vegetables and whole grains that passes through your system without being fully digested.
There are two types of fiber:
- Soluble fiber
- Insoluble fiber
Both have a place in your diet. Soluble fiber is able to swell and hold water. It has been found to reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol and your risk of developing heart disease. This type of fiber helps a lot with satiety (keeping you full for a longer period of time) and is found in foods like oats, barley and some fruits.
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to food and helps with regular bowel movements. This type of fiber can help those who struggle with constipation. It is also associated with a decreased risk of developing heart disease and is found mostly in whole wheat, nuts, beans and vegetables.
What Does Fiber Do for You?
There are many benefits to a high-fiber diet. Bowel health can greatly improve. High-fiber diets help normalize bowel movements by adding bulk to stool and making it easier to pass. A high-fiber diet can also lower the risk of developing colorectal cancer. In addition to helping reduce cholesterol levels, fiber can also reduce blood pressure and inflammation and help control blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar.
Adding whole, high-fiber foods to your diet can help with weight management as well. High-fiber foods are filling, lower in calories and slower to digest. This can help reduce your hunger and improve your satiety. As you fill up on fruits, vegetables and grains, there is less room for highly-processed foods and sweets.
How Much Do You Need?
The fiber recommendation for Americans is 25-30 grams per day. Most Americans fall below that recommendation – around 15 grams. Fiber-rich foods include whole grains, fruits and vegetables. When you are moving to a high-fiber diet, do so gradually to give your body time to adjust. Add extra fiber foods in slowly every day so your digestive system can adapt and make sure you drink plenty of fluids.
Here are a few high-fiber foods:
- 1 cup raspberries – 8 grams
- 1 cup strawberries – 3 grams
- 1 cup brown rice – 3 grams
- 1 cup Brussels sprouts – 4 grams
- 1 cup lentils – 7 grams
- Apple with skin – 4 grams
- 3/4 cup bran flakes – 5 grams
- 1 cup black beans – 10 grams
- 1 cup green peas – 8 grams
- Whole grain bread – 3-4 grams
The biggest reason to eat high-fiber foods is because they result in just plain good nutrition! Try adding some fiber into your day and see how you feel. Here’s to big changes, healthy eating and nourishing your body.