- Fiber can help lower cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, and an individual's risk for diabetes.
Digestive benefits of fiber in food are very well known. Yet, fibrous food provides umpteen number of other benefits for a healthy life. Studies report that increasing the amount of fiber in the diet helps in decreasing the risk the cardiovascular diseases.
Dietary fiber refers to certain carbohydrates present in vegetables and plants that cannot be digested completely by the body.
A diet rich in fiber helps in reducing:
- Levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol – LDL cholesterol
- Amount of blood sugar in people with diabetes
- Blood pressure in hypertensive people
- The risk of diabetes
Fibrous food also helps in maintaining a healthy weight, thereby lowering the risk of obesity. Fibrous food reduces the intake of unhealthy and less healthy foods and thus offers a range of health benefits.
- As per the recommendation of Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intakes, a women should have 25 grams, while men should have up to 38 grams of dietary fiber a day. It would be better to add the fibrous content gradually to the diet as it may cause some amount of bloating and gas.
- One of the best ways to increase the fiber in diet is to increase the intake of vegetables and fruits. One should try to include about two cups of fruits and two cups of vegetables in the diet.
- Shift to whole grain foods to have more of fiber. Have more of whole-grain rice and oat meal. Substitute refined products with whole grains. Studies show that people who have diet with more of whole grains have about 40% less chances of getting heart diseases.
- Reduce the amount of refined foods in the diet, as it will naturally reduce the intake of fiber in food.
- If you feel that the amount of fiber obtained from your diet is less, you may opt for fiber supplements. It is always better to discuss with your doctor before you start with any of the supplements.
What are the best sources of fibers in our diet?
- Legumes like split peas, lentils, black beans, and lima beans
- Among the vegetables opt for peas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, and broccoli
- Include more raspberries, blackberries, avocado, and pears
- Bran flakes, whole-wheat pasta, pearled barley, and oatmeal
Here are some more tips to increase the amount of fiber in your meal:
- Add spoonful of flaxseeds to some of your favorite dishes to get more of fiber and the additional benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Modify some of the cookie and cake recipes and include chia seeds in them.
- Add more vegetables into the sauces and stews.