Fiber is a very important component to one’s daily diet plan. In addition to improving digestive health, fiber also has the ability to help lower cholesterol and control blood glucose levels. This means that adding fiber to your diet can help lower your risk for diabetes and heart disease. Fiber has also been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers. Plus, if you’re trying to lose weight, fiber can help keep you feeling full longer. Although 25 to 38 grams of fiber is the recommended daily guideline, most people fall short of this amount. Adding fiber to your daily diet is actually simple, as long as you follow a few easy steps.
Eat Plenty of Whole Grains
When given the choice between whole grains and refined carbohydrates, always choose the whole grains. This can be one of the simplest ways to increase your daily fiber consumption. For example, while a slice of processed white bread contains only about 0.6 grams of fiber, a slice of multi-grain high fiber bread can have three times that amount. Or, start your day out with 5 grams or more of fiber simply by eating a high fiber or bran cereal for breakfast. As an added bonus, you won’t be hungry until lunchtime.
Add Fruit to Every Meal
Fruit is a delicious way to add fiber to your diet. If you add a banana to your breakfast cereal, enjoy an apple with your lunch, and have a pear for dessert with your dinner, you will have eaten a total of approximately 12 grams of fiber. That’s a pretty painless way to satisfy about a third of your daily fiber requirement. Be sure to leave the peel on the fruit to get the most fiber.
Boost Your Fiber with Beans
Beans are one of the best ways of adding extra fiber to your diet. They are inexpensive, versatile, and can be used in many different recipes. They are rich sources of fiber and protein, and are a healthy replacement for meat. One cup of black beans contains an impressive 15 grams of fiber. A bowl of chili made with plenty of beans could be a delicious high fiber choice. One cup of lentils also contains 15 grams of fiber, and could be used in a hearty soup or to make a refreshing lentil salad. If you like split pea soup, you’ll be happy to know that one cup of cooked split peas contains 16 grams of fiber. As you can see, just one cup of almost any bean and you’ve satisfied half of your daily fiber requirement.
Eat Plenty of Vegetables
Vegetables are a healthy addition to your diet for many reasons, including fiber. The USDA recommends eating three to five servings of vegetables a day. Since one serving represents a cup of leafy raw vegetables or a half cup of other vegetables, you can essentially get half of your daily fiber requirements just by following these guidelines. For example, a cup of spinach or lettuce salad will provide 1 gram of fiber, an ear of corn will provide 2 grams, a half cup of peas has 4 grams, a sweet potato has 4 grams, and a baked potato with the skin has 3 grams. If you simply had a pea salad and baked potato for lunch, and a fresh green salad, ear of corn and baked sweet potato with dinner, you’d have added 14 grams of fiber to your diet for the day.
Choose Smart Snacks
You can also add fiber to your diet easily by choosing smart snacks. A cup of popcorn has 1 gram of fiber, while a half cup of roasted soybeans packs a whopping 15 grams. If you choose fruits, vegetables and nuts as snack foods, you will be adding plenty of extra fiber to your diet effortlessly.