Dietary fiber has numerous health benefits and many Americans are not getting enough in their daily diet. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body does not digest. The best sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans and legumes. It is recommended that most adults consume between 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day and the average American only consumes 10 to 15 grams per day. Fiber aides in digestive health and can help with weight loss by keeping you full and satisfied after eating. Other benefits of fiber include lowering cholesterol levels and helping to control blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream. It is recommended to gradually increase fiber in your diet to prevent stomach upset. Fluid is also important to increase when you increase dietary fiber. Fluid will help fiber move through your system and prevent discomfort.
Tips to Add Fiber to Your Diet:
- Skip the juice and eat the fruit instead. Fruit juice has very little fiber. Eating the whole fruit will give you the same vitamins and minerals as the juice but with the added benefit of fiber.
- Swap your white rice and pasta for brown rice and whole wheat pasta.
- Pick whole grain breads and cereals. When choosing bread, verify the first or second ingredient is whole wheat, rye, oats or bran.
- Enjoy a variety of vegetables at each meal.
- Substitute whole grain flour for white flour. In most recipes that call for white flour, half of the flour can be replaced with whole wheat flour.
- Incorporate beans, nuts or seeds in your recipes such as salads and soups.
- Try new whole grains such as barley, faro and quinoa which are good sources of fiber.