Most of us need to eat more fiber. More than 90% of women and 97% of men do not meet the recommended amount for good health, according to the US government. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. One reason may be that dietary fiber is hard to find, especially in highly processed foods such as fast food, which make up a large part of the standard American diet.
You can make your fiber quota a lot easier by: moving away from processed food and to various whole foods. But if you want to know exactly where the most dietary fiber is, read on and consider these easy and delicious ways to get more of this disease-fighting nutrient into your meals and snacks.
Why you need more fiber
You probably know from experience that eating more fiber means you won’t have to worry about constipation. Your stool is bigger, softer and easier to pass. You’ve probably heard that fiber helps lower total cholesterol by lowering “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
But fiber also helps control blood sugar levels, helping you maintain a healthy weight. It’s also important for your gut health and reducing chronic inflammation, as well as reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Mayo Clinic.
How much fiber do you need per day?
“30 grams of fiber a day is a great general health goal for adults,” she says Eat this, not that! Medical Review Board member and registered dietitian Julie Upton. “Most of them only eat about 15 grams a day … and a good rule of thumb when comparing the amount of fiber in packaged foods found on nutrition labels is that foods with 3 grams or more of fiber are the better choice,” says Upton.
In order to achieve this recommended daily amount of fiber, here are some sneaky ways to achieve it.
One thing you can do is start each morning with a piece of fruit. Try an apple or a handful of berries, or combine a fruit with another a breakfast full of fiber like oatmeal for double the fiber. Do you eat eggs instead? “Add sliced oranges to the side of scrambled eggs,” she suggests Eat this, not that! Member of the medical board Lauren ManakerMS, RDNregistered dietitian nutritionist and book author Mom’s first pregnancy cookbook. “There are tons of creative ways to enjoy fruit in the morning”
Oats contain a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which lowers blood sugar levels to prevent type 2 diabetes and improve overall metabolic health, according to a study in Journal of Functional Foods. But let’s say you can’t stand the taste and texture of hot oatmeal in the morning. Do you like muffins? Muffins made with rolled or steel-cut rolled oats provide fiber in a satisfying gastronomic carrier that goes well with coffee. Make it even healthier by adding apple and cinnamon, like this recipe does for Apple Cinnamon Oat Muffins A healthy slice of life.
Do you go back for seconds after eating a plate of spaghetti? Or are you hungry half an hour after it’s over? This is because typical pasta is made from white flour that has had all its fiber removed during processing. In fact, drinking it can raise your blood sugar almost as quickly as drinking a sugary soft drink.
The solution is to choose whole-wheat pasta, he says Eat this, not that! Member of the Medical Examination Committee and Registered Dietitian Amy GoodsonMS, RD. You can find several brands at your local grocery store. Read the ingredient list and look for lentil, chickpea, pea protein, puree and barley pasta. One popular brand that Goodson recommends is Banza pastamade with chickpea flour, which provides 5 grams of satiating fiber per serving.
Even plain, fiber-free pasta can be made healthier by sneaking fiber into the sauce you put on top. Add any chopped vegetables to your jars or homemade sauce for a healthy dose of dietary fiber. Or add lentils, white beans, or kidney beans. Just one cup of this will contribute 5 to 20 grams of fiber on the container.
Go to an orchard or local farm to pick your own fiber. in autumn, pick a bush of apples, and in the summer pick raspberries or blueberries. Fresh-picked wild blueberries beat store-bought wild blueberries because “they have more fiber and a little less sugar than regular blueberries,” says Upton.
“One of my favorite ways to get more fiber is to add pears to smoothies, chew them as a snack, or mix sliced pears into salads,” she says. Eat this, not that! Member of the medical examination committee Toby AmidorMS, RD.
Pears are one of the best fruit sources of fiber, with one medium-sized pear providing 21% of the recommended daily intake. “The soluble fiber in pears may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer,” says Amidor. Try tossing slices or chunks of pears into salads like Amidor’s Lighter Waldorf salad with pears or add them to the muffin batter as described in this recipe for Pear Pumpkin Seed Muffins.
Catch a good movie at the local multiplex and sneak in a bag of homemade popcorn. “popcorn is a healthy whole grain,” says Upton. “You get 3.5 grams of fiber in a 3-cup serving of popcorn.”
Stomach rumbling at work? Reach across your desk for a bag of dry roast almonds (14.8 grams of fiber per cup) or walnuts (8.5 grams). Also keep a container of chia seeds to mix into smoothies, yogurt, salads and more. Table spoon Chia seeds contains 6 grams of fiber.
A very simple way to get more soluble fiber into your diet is by drinking. Mix some psyllium husk powder into a tall glass of water, orange juice or other beverage and drink. Psyllium husk, a key ingredient in Metamucil, is a dietary fiber supplement that has been clinically shown to be effective against chronic constipation, ulcerative colitis, hemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome, according to a journal report. Nutrition today.
Psyllium, which turns into a gel in your small intestine, slows the absorption of nutrients and sugars, improves blood sugar control, and reduces hunger, which can lead to weight loss and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. And soluble fiber is well known for lowering LDL ( “bad”) and total cholesterol without affecting good HDL cholesterol. You can find different types of psyllium products in the form of powders, tablets and even gummies at your pharmacy.