It’s no surprise to most health-conscious people that the inclusion of fiber in your diet can yield certain health benefits. But you may struggle with knowing exactly how to get more fiber in your diet.
No matter your fiber goals, there are lots of different approaches. It helps to know whether you’re consuming soluble fiber or insoluble fiber. And educating yourself about food labels, fortified foods, and dietary guidelines can also assist you in supporting the health of your digestive system.
Are you curious about how to get more fiber in your diet, but not sure where to start? Whole foods and fiber supplements are a great beginning. Read more here.
Tips for Adding Fiber To Your Diet: Get Familiar With The Types Of Fiber
There are so many food products claiming to be good for you. But some well-marketed healthy ‘great snacks’ just don’t cut the mustard. So, what do you need to know about high-fiber foods?
Well, let’s start with the two types of dietary fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber is the fiber that dissolves in water. Soluble fiber can help with the regulation of your blood sugar levels. It’s also been said to help with lowering your bad cholesterol levels.1
Soluble high-fiber foods include the following:
- Legumes (eg: black beans, lentils)
- Citrus fruits
Insoluble fiber will not dissolve in water. People often refer to insoluble fiber as the bulky fiber or roughage. Adding these foods to your daily diet might help you avoid issues with your digestive system like constipation.3
Healthy snacks full of roughage are:
- Whole grains (whole wheat bread)
- Whole wheat breakfast cereals (check sugar content)
- Wheat bran
Insoluble fiber will move through your digestive tract undigested. That’s what makes insoluble fiber foods some of the best foods to help you keep your system clear and clean.
It’s easy to make a high-fiber meal. Salads are one excellent way to boost your roughage intake. Simply toss together some of the veggies listed above with leafy greens and dress with a little olive oil — you’re good to go.
There are a variety of fiber-based foods that contain insoluble and soluble fiber. Extra nutrition tip: Natural foods and unprocessed foods contain more fiber than processed or packaged foods. And remember, you won’t find any fiber in animal proteins or dairy. And you certainly won’t find any in refined sugars or as much in refined grains.
A good bottom line for remembering which seemingly healthy snacks lack fiber is if the food is white (like white bread, baked goods, or rice), they’re likely not good sources of fiber. Even if they say ‘healthy’ on the nutrition label, don’t buy it.
The Benefits Of A High-Fiber Diet
It’s no secret that a healthy diet inclusive of high-fiber foods can be beneficial to your health. But according to the National Institutes of Health, most families in America consume under half of the recommended amount of fiber. For your reference, the FDA recommends an intake of at least 14 grams of dietary fiber per 1000 kcal. That’s about at least 21 grams of fiber per day.4
Dietary Fiber is said to be at least partially responsible for the following health benefits:
- Heart health support
- Blood sugar assistance
- Weight loss and weight control support
- Gastrointestinal support5
Furthermore, upping your fiber intake might even support healthy blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.6
Knowing these benefits are possible, why wouldn’t you swap out refined products for whole grain products? It’s as easy as grabbing a package of brown rice instead of white rice.
The Best Tips For Adding More Fiber To Your Daily Diet
- Ditch refined white foods like white rice, white bread, and pasta that isn’t whole grain. Try barley or dishes using whole-wheat pasta for a fiber boost. For sandwiches, opt for whole grain bread.
- Let snack time mean fiber time. It’s as easy to pick up an apple or a bag of dried fruit as it is to open a package of cookies. So make the switch. Fill your fridge with fresh veggies and keep fruit in a bowl on your counter. A half-cup of nuts can do the trick too.
- Kick your day off with a fiber-packed breakfast. Whole grain cereals or homemade bran muffins can power-pack your morning with a blast of fiber. Cereals with bran or oats will do more for your body than sugary processed cereals. If you’re craving some sweetness, toss in a few raisins or dried cranberries.
- Flaxseeds are tiny fiber-packed seeds that can add a crunch to your favorite salads, baked goods, cereals, or even desserts. Grind them up or sprinkle them over your meals whole for added fiber.
- Don’t peel the peel. When it comes to apples, pears, cucumbers and the like — eat the peel. There’s a lot of great fiber in the peel or rind of certain fruits. Plus, a lot of flavor and crunch can be found in the peel too. Don’t toss it out.7
Fiber Is An Important Nutrient: Add It To Your Diet Today
Again, if you’re looking to polish up your digestive system and add well-rounded foods to your diet, don’t discount the fiber content on a food’s nutrition label. Fiber helps your body and even promotes the feeling of fullness.
If it’s a challenge to get the recommended amount of fiber into your diet, check out different supplements or chat with your doctor about the best sources of fiber for your lifestyle.
It’s never too late to add fiber to your diet. When you plan your meals for the week, add high-fiber foods to your grocery list. Focusing on fiber can help your health in so many ways — so what are you waiting for? Find more fiber today.