5 easy ways to bring fiber into your diet
Fiber, or ‘roughage, is a buzz word for many people. We all know we need it, but not everyone knows why. Fiber is made up of the part of plant foods that are indigestible. Well, if it’s indigestible, then why on earth would we want to eat it? Fiber has an important role to play in our digestive tract. It helps to feed you gut flora, which promotes healthy bowel movements. Fiber also helps to maintain good movement, or ‘peristalsis’ in your gut. If you remember earlier I spoke of the problems that happen when your poop doesn’t get out of your system fast enough. We don’t want any fecal stagnation to occur! Without enough fiber, we are constipated and become at risk for all sorts of gut related diseases. Sadly, with the diet that most North Americans consume, we are lacking in fiber quite frequently.
Fiber is traditionally put into two categories: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber means fiber that can be broken down by the gut to a certain extent. It ferments and feeds the flora in your system. Insoluble fiber is just as important. Although it isn’t broken down, it still moves along your digestive tract, absorbing water as it passes and cleaning your ‘walls’, making it easier for you when you head to the washroom. Both are present in plants, though one is usually more present than the other.
Now that you know what fiber is and why it is important, you know that you NEED to incorporate more into your diet if you can. The daily recommendation for fiber is 25 grams for women under 50 and 38 grams for men under 50, so it isn’t too hard to incorporate. Here are some helpful and easy ways to do so!
1. Have a fruit salad for dessert
When I think dessert, I think sugar and chocolate, but I also think sweet. Fruit salad is a great way to subdue that sweet craving and get a lot more fiber into your diet. Fruits like apples and pears are loaded with soluble fiber, while the skins have insoluble. I’m talking fresh fruit salad, with the skins of the fruits on. A half cup of fruit salad can get you anywhere from 2-4 grams, so dig in!
2. Go green!
Among the vegetables with the highest amounts of fiber are spinach (8g for 10 oz.) , brocoli (5.1 g for 1 cup ) and avocadoes with a whopping 10-13 g per medium sized veggie. Just one serving of ‘green’ can make up over a fifth of your daily fiber intake.
3. A serving of raspberries a day keeps the doctor away
Raspberries are the fruit with the highest amount of fiber, 11 grams per serving! They might not keep all doctors away, but they might help you to keep the GI specialist away!
4. Get on the ‘Bran-wagon’
Bran is incredibly rich in fiber, it is the main ingredient in those fiber one bars you see advertised. There are different ways to incorporate bran into your diet, so you can pick the one that suits you most.
5. Go nuts!
Nuts and seeds often have quite a bit of fiber, especially almonds (4g per 1 oz.) and flaxseeds (8g per 1 oz.). I already snack on almonds frequently, they are delicious! You can also sprinkle flax into your salads, baking, cereals and more.
There are many other ways to add fiber into your diet. Many people choose to take a fiber supplement as well, but I think if you can get it from the source, you are much better off. On a personal, caveat note, I would suggest that if you are already constipated, drink lots and lots of water before you start to add more fiber to your diet. Otherwise, you will just end up constipating yourself even further.
What are some of your favourite ways to add fiber to your diet?
- Fiber 101 (healthynutritionforlife.wordpress.com)
- High Fiber Diet Plans (answers.com)
- Foods High In Fiber And Protein (answers.com)
- 5 Reasons to Include More Fiber in Your Diet (lef.org)