“Health is our greatest wealth” and we all want a happy, healthy, and more productive life. Of course, good nutrition and regular exercise are the most important steps to being healthier. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is must to improve your health and fitness. And making the right food choices is a good place to start. By doing this, we can prevent many serious health problems such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Each nutrient in a balanced diet (carbohydrate, protein, fat, minerals, fiber) performs a distinct function and is necessary for the proper functioning of our body. Fiber is one of the most important nutritional element of a healthy and balanced diet. Consuming enough fibers in your diet can have many health benefits.
Types Of Fiber
There are mainly two types of fiber. They are as follows:
- Soluble fiber – It gets dissolved in the water easily and becomes a soft gel in the intestine. It helps in lowering blood sugar level and cholesterol level. Oatmeal, apples, and beans are good sources of soluble fiber.
- Insoluble fiber – It remains unchanged and speeds up the food’s trip through the digestive system. It promotes the bowel regularity and helps in the treatment of constipation. Wheat, whole grain, and brown rice are good sources of insoluble fiber.
Health Benefits Of Fiber
According to NCBI, fiber is one of the most important nutrients of a balanced diet. It has numerous health benefits.1
- The adequate intake of fiber lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, primarily through a reduction in low-density lipoprotein level (LDL).
- Fiber also plays an important role in prevention of diabetes. Regular consumption of recommended amount of fiber has the potential to attenuate glucose absorption rate and helps in maintaining blood glucose level.
- It is also important for normal laxation and helps prevent or relieve constipation.
- It aids bulk to your diet because it makes you feel full faster and thus helps in controlling appetite and maintaining an ideal body weight.
- Sometimes it is used for treating diverticulosis, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
The daily recommended intake of fiber is 25-35 grams, but according to the National Institute of Health, most people eat only 5-20 grams of fiber a day. This reduced intake of fiber increases the risk of digestive disorders, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. So, it is best to keep a watch on your diet and try to make some dietary changes to include the recommended portion of the fiber in your diet.
7 Ways To Boost Fiber Intake In Your Diet
Here are 7 simple ways to boost the fiber intake in a routine diet.
1. Make A Weekly Menu Planner
Pre-preparation and menu planning is the first and best thing to make a healthy and balanced meal in limited time. Menu planning is a fantastic strategy to save money, time, and mounds of frustration. It is best to sort out some healthy and quick recipes during the weekend for upcoming weeks. And try to select those recipes that cover the recommended daily requirement of each nutrient, including fiber. With a little preparation, planning your meal in advance can help you eat a more nutritious and well-balanced diet during busy weekdays.
2. Shop smartly
Smart shopping is the second important strategy to make a balanced meal and increase more fiber in your diet. Usually, we tend to buy and eat the same food products over and over again. And it may be a major cause of nutritional deficiency in our diet. So, why not be a little adventurous and try to buy and eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Read labels and check the nutrition information for the amount of dietary fiber in each product. Aim for 5 grams of fiber per serving. Here is a complete list for a healthy shopping skill.2
3. Find Natural Sources Of Fiber
According to Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, including foods that are naturally high in fiber is the best way to boost your fiber intake.3 Eating the skin and peel of fruits and vegetables provides a greater dose of fiber. With a few simple and tasty substitutions, you can increase your fiber intake in no time.
Here are some foods that are naturally high in fiber.
- 1 large pear with skin – 7 grams
- 1-ounce almonds – 3.5 grams
- 1 cup fresh raspberries – 8 grams
- ½ medium avocado – 5 grams
- 3 cups air-popped popcorn – 3.6 grams
- 1 cup pearled barley – 6 grams
4. Jump Start Your Day With Fiber Boost
Of course, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, starting your day with a healthy and balanced meal is equally important. Choosing a cereal that contains at least 5 grams of fiber and topping it off with fruits and raisins is a good idea to add more fiber in your routine breakfast.
5. Add More Fruits And Vegetables In Your Diet
According to UCSF (University of California San Francisco), adding more fruits and vegetables in your diet is the easiest way to boost fiber intake.4 And for doing that:
- Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
- Eat whole fruits instead of fruit juice.
- Have fresh fruits for desserts.
- Add fresh fruits and dry fruits in bread, muffins, and other dishes before baking.
Here are two easy ways to add more vegetables and fruits in your diet.
- Start main meals with a vegetable platter – This is another simple but effective way to include more fiber in your routine diet. Try to start your main meal with an attractive vegetable platter (preferably raw) with some healthy dressing. This step allows you to feel full sooner and helps you to eat less in the following meal. It is a simple way to maintain the vegetable (as well as fiber) requirement for the day. It helps in adding fiber to your diet and is also a great source for healthy weight management.
- Healthy snacking with fresh fruits and dry fruits – Unhealthy and processed food snack is the major cause of unnecessary calorie intake and may cause obesity and metabolic disorders at a young age. Eating a nutritious and healthy snack can boost your daily intake of essential nutrients such as fiber and antioxidants. So, always try to eat whole fruits (without peeling) and dry fruits as a snack to get the adequate fiber and nutritional benefits of fruits.
6. Replace White Bread And White Rice With Brown Bread And Brown Rice
Scientific studies suggest that brown rice and brown bread both are the finest sources of vitamin B-complex, fibers, and proteins. White bread and white rice are made with the refined flours. Refined carbohydrates are low in essential nutrients and have been linked with a range of health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and obesity. So why not replace white bread and white rice with brown bread and brown rice? It will increase our fiber intake and help in feeling full for a longer period of time.
7. Add Beans To Soups And Stews
Beans and legumes are one of the finest sources of fiber. Just 1 cup of cooked black beans offers 15 grams of fiber. Do not hesitate to be a little experimental while cooking! Adding beans in soups and stews is an easy, excellent way to boost the fiber intake. It tastes great, satisfies hunger, and helps in a healthy weight management.
Even though most people eat far less than the recommended amount of fiber per day, making quick changes to your diet is not advised. Sudden increase of fiber intake may cause nausea, bloating, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. When you start increasing the fiber intake in your diet, be sure to do it gradually and with plenty of fluids. Fiber needs water to plump up and helps your body to digest it.
So these were the easy steps to boost the fiber intake in your routine diet. What are your secret ways to include the healthy ingredients in your routine diet? Please share with us. Until then eat healthy and live well!
|↑1||Anderson, James W., Pat Baird, Richard H. Davis, Stefanie Ferreri, Mary Knudtson, Ashraf Koraym, Valerie Waters, and Christine L. Williams. “Health benefits of dietary fiber.” Nutrition reviews 67, no. 4 (2009): 188-205.|
|↑2||Build a Healthy Diet with Smart Shopping. Nutrition.gov.|
|↑3||Easy Ways o Boost Fiber in Your Daily Diet. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.|
|↑4||Increasing Fiber Intake. University of California San Fransisco.|