Dietary fiber is an important part of human health. A diet rich in high fiber foods can reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, lower the risk of several forms of cancer, improve cholesterol and blood pressure, help regulate your digestion, and help you feel fuller, so you eat less. However if you’re like many Americans, you aren’t getting enough. Most of us get less than half the recommended amount of fiber each day.
Tips to Get More Fiber in Your Diet
- Bulk up your breakfast. Choose a high-fiber cereal (5+ grams per serving) or have a bowl of oatmeal and top it with nuts and fruit. If your favorite cereal doesn’t have the fiber needed, add a few tablespoons of wheat bran.
- Switch to whole grains. Look for bread that lists whole-grain flour as the #1 ingredient. Experiment with barley, wild brown, or even black rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta and bulgur. Substitute whole wheat flour for half of the white flour in your recipes.
- Add vegetables. You should be having at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Try starting dinners with a tossed salad and always have a side of veggies.
Leave the skin on! Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet will add fiber, but eat the skin as that’s where all the fiber is.
- Legumes. Try peas, different kinds of beans (pinto, kidney, lima, navy and garbanzo) and lentils.
- Snack on fruit, nuts and seeds. Grab a piece of fruit such as an apple, pear or banana. Keep some almonds, sunflower seeds and pistachios handy. Low-fat popcorn or sliced vegetables and hummus also make a great snack.
- Drink plenty of water. Drink 6-8 cups of water a day to keep things moving smoothly through your intestines.