Fiber is a key nutrient in digestive health.
It’s also a nutrient that people should incorporate into their diet more often. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to increase their fiber intake. The good news is that adding more fiber to your diet is fairly easy and can come from a variety of sources.
Why is fiber so important?
Fiber acts as a broom for the intestines. Fiber cannot be digested. So, when you eat fiber, it acts as a cleanser for your stomach by moving all the unnecessary waste through your digestive system. Lack of fiber can cause minor digestion issues such as constipation and weight gain or more serious issues like irritable bowel syndrome and even colon cancer.
Here are 5 tasty ways to increase your fiber.
- Sprout Out – Switch out white bread for spouted bread. Look for breads that have more than just “whole wheat” on the label. A trick to discovering if a bread product claiming to be “whole wheat” is worth your purchase is to look at the grams of fiber contained. If the fiber content is only 1 or 2 grams, then most likely the bread is made with white flour primarily. Spouted breads will contain anywhere from 2.5-4.9 grams of fiber per serving. And, anything over 5 grams of fiber per serving is considered high fiber and may be what you need to jump-start your fiber intake.
- Rely on the staples – Healthy diets usually include lots of fruits and veggies. Many of them are loaded with fiber and can be added to your favorite meals in order to enhance your fiber content. Blackberries and raspberries are two fruits that pack a big punch with around 8 grams o fiber per serving.
While vegetables are a bit lower in fiber, eating them is still an excellent way to get nutrients without compromising your diet. A small sweet potato with the skin measures in around 4 grams of fiber per serving and steamed artichoke hearts come in at 4.5 grams per serving.
- Make breakfast count – The sugary cereals we loved as children did little to provide a real source of nutrition. As you browse the aisles now, you may see certain cereal manufacturers making claims about how they use “whole grains” in the making of their product. BUT don’t be fooled! A wiser choice to start your day would be a raisin bran or shredded wheat cereal. If you don’t love the taste of those cereals, you can try adding a sweetener like honey or agave or sprucing it up with fresh berries.
- Beans – A great source of fiber, beans can be added to just about any dish and there are so many to choose from that you’ll be sure to find one that suits your tastes. Dishes that are high in beans and legumes are usually high in fiber. Beans don’t have to be boring or flavorless. Black bean soups, chili and other dishes are as well known for their taste as they are their bean content.
- If you have too…Â If you try all of the above mentioned ways to increase your fiber intake and you still come up short, then using replacement fiber may be the last resort. Fiber supplements come in many different forms including tablets and powdered drink mixes. Commercials for many of the newer fiber drink mixes claim that they are tasteless and can be added to almost any drink or food.
Adding fiber to your diet isn’t a hard feat. Minding a few of these tips will ensure that your body will be in fine working order. Add more fiber to your diet gradually to avoid digestive troubles. Add 5 grams a week until you are getting about 25 grams a day.