how to eat more fiber

6 Easy Ways to Work More Fiber Into Your Diet

Fiber is an incredibly important part of our diet – it helps us maintain digestive and gut health, which is essential to overall wellness. As we age, the body’s metabolism will naturally slow down and can lead to a harder time keeping weight off, higher levels of blood sugar and cholesterol, and other possible health risks. Fiber lessens the impact of these health concerns by regulating digestion and keeping you healthy!

The truth of the matter is, many Americans don’t get enough fiber in their diets. According to the Institute of Medicine, most of us only get about 10 to 15 grams of fiber per day; studies show that men over 50 should aim for 30 grams and women over 50 should aim for 21. The good news? It’s easier than you think to find delicious whole foods that offer plenty of fiber to keep you feeling great! Keep reading to learn how to eat more fiber.

A Quick Guide to Understanding Fiber

Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that comes in two different types: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is found in vegetables and fruits, beans, rice, and oats; it makes up about 30% of our fiber intake. Insoluble fiber is found in cereal, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and vegetable skins; it makes up about 70% of our fiber intake.

There are so many health benefits associated with fiber, including the following:

  • Reduce risk of developing heart disease, colon cancer, and diabetes
  • Regulates blood sugar
  • Reduced cholesterol
  • Decreased cancer risk for certain types, such as colon cancer
  • Weight management
  • Improved digestion and gastrointestinal tract function

6 Simple Ways to Include More Fiber In Your Diet

1. Prioritize Fruits and Veggies

Make nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits a top priority for each of your meals to consistently be getting enough fiber in your diet. You should aim to eat a minimum of three servings (one serving = ½ cup) of vegetables and two servings of fruit each day. 

2. Check Nutrition Labels

An easy way to keep your fiber intake consistent is by checking the nutrition labels while you’re grocery shopping. Too often we mindlessly add foods to our carts without reading the labels, which means you might be missing out on fibrous, healthy options! Though it depends on the product, try to aim for at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.

3. Snack On Seeds and Nuts

Next time you’re hungry and looking for something crunchy and satisfying, put away the chips and instead reach for a handful of nuts! This small swap will make you feel fuller due to the high amounts of protein and are full of fiber. Nuts are higher in calories, so be mindful of how big your handful is. They can be deliciously addicting!

4. Find a Source of Fiber You Love

Fiber can sometimes get a bad rap, misconstrued as foods that aren’t very tempting. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! There are so many delicious sources of fiber out there. Some of our favorites include the following:

  • Fruits – pears, apples, bananas, strawberries, oranges, mangos, raspberries
  • Vegetables – broccoli, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, carrots, artichokes, cauliflower, corn, peas, Swiss chard
  • Legumes – black beans, baked beans, chickpeas, lentils, pinto beans, kidney beans
  • Grains – quinoa, oatmeal, popcorn, brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta
  • Seeds/nuts – almonds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, walnuts

5. Go for Whole Grains

You can enjoy delicious cards like pasta, bread or cereal, but always be on the lookout for whole grains if you want to reap the benefits of added fiber! Just be mindful that some products, though they may be labeled “multigrain” or “100% wheat,” are typically not whole grain. 

6. Leave the Peel On

Did you know that some peels are actually better left on? It’s true! Most fruit and vegetable peels are chock full of insoluble fiber that make for a healthy digestive system. Next time you bake a sweet potato or bite into an apple, leave the skin on for an extra boost to your digestion!

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