Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. Fiber plays many roles in health, including treating high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, helping maintain normal blood sugar, helping reduce high blood pressure, preventing many cancers, and promoting normal digestive functions.
If you plan to try to increase your fiber intake, it’s a good idea to increase it gradually by a few grams per day and increase your fluid intake as well. Drastically increasing fiber intake too quickly without adequate fluids may cause bloating.
Ten Great Ways to “Fiber Up”!
1. Eat a variety of food. With a mix of foods, you consume a mix of fibers both soluble and insoluble. And you get the benefits of both types.
2. Pick high-fiber snacks: popcorn, fresh fruit, raw vegetables, and nuts.
3. Remember breakfast–a good time for fiber-rich foods. Besides bran cereal or another fiber-rich breakfast cereal, enjoy oatmeal, whole-bran muffins, or whole-wheat waffles. Top with fruit for a little more fiber.
4. Switch to whole-grains–in bread, cereals, buns, bagels, and pasta, to name a few. Breads with whole grain include cornbread from whole, ground cornmeal; cracked wheat bread; oatmeal bread; pumpernickel bread; rye bread; and the perennial favorite, whole-wheat bread. Eat breads made with bran, too, such as bran muffins.
5. Plan to eat legumes two to three times a week. They’re among the best fiber sources around and add exciting new flavors to dishes.
6. Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Plan a cooked vegetable and a salad for dinner (that’s two vegetable servings) and enjoy another for lunch. You have just two more to go!
7. Enjoy fruits and vegetables with the edible skin on. With the skin, a medium potato has 3.6 grams of fiber. Skinless, it has less–2.3grams. Also enjoy the flavor and crunch of edible seeds, for example, in all kinds of berries, kiwi, and figs. They, too, supply fiber.
8. Choose whole fruit more often than juice. Fiber is found mainly in the peel and pulp; usually both are removed when juice is made. So juice has almost no fiber at all.
9. “Fiberize” your cooking style. Substitute higher-fiber ingredients in recipes, such as using part whole-wheat flour in baked foods. And fortify mixed dishes with high-fiber ingredients, perhaps bran added to meatloaf.
10. Check food labels for fiber facts. Almost all food labels carry a Nutrition Facts panel, which lists the amount of fiber per serving. Lookfor words, such as “high in fiber” or “more fiber,” on labels, too.
Source: American Diet Association
Author: Dots Rego- USA