Healthy Living

Ways to Include More Fiber in Your Diet

How to Include More Fiber in Your Diet

Importance of eating Fibrous Foods

Fiber refers to the indigestible shares of plant foods. Eating foods that are high in fiber has several health gains. The digestive benefits of fiber in food are very well known. Yet, fibrous food provides a lot of other benefits for a healthy life. Studies report that increasing the amount of fiber in your diet helps in decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. 

It provides protection against digestive problems, heart diseases and cancer. It also lowers cholesterol levels, aids in weight regulation and smooth running of digestive system and controls blood pressure. Getting adequate fiber in your diet plan can help decrease stomach issues and normalize the bowel movements, lessen fat, assist in weight reduction, and maintain sugar levels.

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Dietary fiber refers to certain carbohydrates present in vegetables and plants that cannot be digested completely by the body. There are two types of dietary fiber, soluble & insoluble, and most plant-based foods encompass a combination of these two. The soluble fiber is so called as it dissolves in water and turns into a gel-like substance in the stomach and slows digestion, thereby helping in lowering of the cholesterol plus blood glucose. On the other hand, as insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, it remains unaffected all the way to the colon and promotes heavier & softer stools, consequently it can go over the intestines easily and benefits people suffering from constipation.

Avoiding the consumption of fiber often results in constipation that leads to further health issues as well. Consuming the appropriate amount of fiber is necessary; however its deficiency or excessive intake both can affect your body adversely. Accumulating your fiber can likewise aid in weight loss, as meals containing fiber are digested slowly so they give you a feeling of being full.

Do not try adding a lot of fiber initially to your diet as it could cause swelling, cramping, and gas. Prevent these things from occurring by growing your fiber intake slowly. Drink more liquids as you upsurge the quantity of fiber you consume. Fluids support your body to digest the fiber. Don't make too many changes simultaneously. Pick some ideas to try every week and stick to those which work for you and your family.

The Best High-Fiber Foods

  • Black beans
  • Split peas
  • Broccoli
  • Bran Flakes
  • Raspberries
  • Artichokes
  • Pearled barley
  • Blackberries
  • Avocados
  • Lentils
  • Oatmeal
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Peas 
Fiber Foods

Some ways to increase fiber within your diet

  • Switch to whole wheat or whole grain breads - Whole wheat & whole-grain bread are correspondingly higher in protein and make you feel full for a longer time. You can likewise try substituting to whole wheat or multigrain breads.
  • Try complete grain foods instead of refined carbohydrates - Foods with grains act as a natural cradle of fiber unlike refined carbohydrates. The whole grains are fiber rich as they retain the outer shell.
  • Complement meals with fresh fruits - Whether supplementary to the pulses or cereal, consumed as a snack, or relished as a dessert, fresh fruits are a sweet way to increase the fiber in your diet. Fruits that are highest in fiber are pears, apples, berries, prunes, & oranges. The peel of the fruits is particularly high in fiber. 
  • Switch to a high fiber cereal - Numerous cereals claim to be high in fiber, but check the food labels to know for sure as that will show you how many grams are in a helping of your favorite cereal. Some high fiber cereals are Grape-Nuts, Fiber One, Raisin Bran, Shredded Wheat, and All-Bran. Oatmeal and corn flakes are an added fiber of high quality.
  • Start your day through a fiber lift - Beginning your day with the right foods is important. Choose high-fiber foods for breakfast such as cereals, wheat toast and berries. 
  • Consume more legumes - Legumes such as sprouts, beans, lentils are among the greatest sources of fiber. Incorporate legumes in salads, soups, salsa & casseroles, or puree them to create a delightful dip.
  • Stay hydrated - As you increase your fiber intake, increase your consumption of fluids too. Both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber need water as soluble fiber absorbs water while insoluble fiber holds water drawn from the intestines. Deprived of sufficient hydration, fiber can trigger constipation. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water a day when you are on a high fiber diet.
  • Bake fiber goodies - Whether you are at home or going to work, improve your diet by including baked fiber snacks. Improve the fiber content of your baked goods by using whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose white flour in recipes, adding oatmeal to cookies, or filling homemade muffins or doughnuts with raisins, nuts, berries, or bananas.
  • Take it slow - Most people introduce large amounts of fiber in their diets all at once for quick results. However, making sudden changes to your diet plan is not recommended. Increase fiber slowly to avoid effects like excess gas and bloating as well as to let your gastrointestinal area time to accept the change.
  • Choose high-fiber snacks during the midday munchies - Stay away from high-calorie, high-fat and low-fiber vending machine options. A perfect response to the afternoon slump is eating whole grains, nuts, granola bars, homemade trail mix, mixed nuts, and dried figs/apricots, which can be consumed as healthy midday snacks.

These are some of the easiest ways to boost your fiber consumption while adding some flavor and diversity to your diet chart. With some creativity and planning you should be able to meet your daily fiber needs while enjoying healthy and delicious foods.

A diet rich in fiber helps in reducing:

  • Levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol – LDL cholesterol
  • Blood sugar levels in people with diabetes
  • Blood pressure in hypertensive people
  • The risk of diabetes

Fibrous food also helps in maintaining healthy weight as it gives you a feeling of being fuller longer, helping you reduce the intake of unhealthy foods, thereby also lowering the risk of obesity. As you can see, fibrous food offers a range of health benefits.

  • As per the recommendation of Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intake, 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 foods 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. Try to include about two cups of fruits and two cups of vegetables in the diet.
  • Shift to whole grain foods to have more fiber. Have more whole-grain rice and oatmeal. Substitute refined products with whole grains. Studies show that people who have a diet with more whole grains have about 40% less risk of heart disease.
  • Reduce the amount of refined foods in the diet.
  • Talk to your doctor about fiber supplements if you feel you cannot get much more fiber in your diet.