Fiber is an important nutrient that many Americans fall short on. The recommended intake is 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men. Fiber is not only important to aid in a healthy GI system but also promotes fullness after meals, helps to promote a healthy weight, can help to lower cholesterol, and helps to maintain blood sugar levels within a healthy range.
Fiber is found naturally in many food sources such as fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grains so before thinking you need a supplement to help meet your needs you may want to try incorporating some of the foods listed below:
- 1 large pear with skin (7 grams)
- 1 cup fresh raspberries (8 grams)
- ½ medium avocado (5 grams)
- 1 ounce almonds (3.5 grams)
- ½ cup cooked black beans (7.5 grams)
- 3 cups air-popped popcorn (3.6 grams)
- 1 cup cooked pearled barley (6 grams)
Meal ideas may entail oatmeal with nuts and berries for breakfast or for lunch a whole wheat wrap with added vegetables such as spinach and tomato. For healthy and fresh snack ideas try vegetables or whole wheat crackers with hummus.
When eating fruits and vegetables, eating the skin or peel will help to increase fiber intake. Just be sure to always wash your fruits and vegetables prior to eating. Also, consuming products that have not been refined will have greater fiber content. For example, an apple will have more fiber than applesauce and applesauce will have more fiber than apple juice as apple juice has no fiber. So, the more refined the product is the less fiber it will have.
It is important to increase your fiber intake slowly and to be sure to drink plenty of water. Increasing fiber too quickly can cause GI discomfort such as constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain or bloating. Drinking plenty of water will also help reduce discomfort as the more fiber you have, the more water you will need.
Larson, Holly. "Easy Ways to Boost Fiber in Your Daily Diet." Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Sept 2016. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.