Ways to Easily Increase Your Daily Fiber

Ways to Easily Increase Your Daily Fiber

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  1. When you hear the word “fiber,” your first thought may be “Gross. Doesn’t that mean I have to eat a lot of wheat, grain, and nasty-tasting food?” The answer is, “It depends.” While it’s true that food such as wheat, bran, and various types of vegetables contain high amounts of fiber, there are recipes that can spruce up any fiber-rich meal. What you may not know is that there are 2 kinds of fiber—and both are easily attainable in a daily diet.

    Soluble Fiber

    Soluble fiber simply means that it can dissolve in water. It helps lower your blood cholesterol levels, reduces the risk of heart disease, and helps control weight gain (an excellent way to combat obesity). Soluble fiber can also help regulate diabetes by absorbing glucose from the small intestine.

    Besides the obvious health benefits, this type of fiber typically is found in tasty fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Below are some ideas that can easily increase this type of fiber in your diet:

    • Take a bag of nuts with you to work or school. Besides being high in fiber, nuts such as almonds, peanuts, cashews, and pistachios also provide protein, calcium, and folic acid—all necessary nutrients for the human body.
    • Make carrots a regular lunch or dinner side dish. Carrot sticks with ranch is one snack kids and adults alike really love. It’s quick and can be packed in a lunch. It’s a delicious way to satisfy mid-afternoon munchies, too.
    • Start your day with a grapefruit or an orange. Citrus fruits contain soluble fiber and make an excellent addition to any meal. Sorry to those of you with a sweet tooth…lemon meringue pie doesn’t count!
    • For those who prefer sweeter snacks, dried fruits are an excellent option. Dried apricots, prunes, and raisins are some of the more popular choices, and can be found in almost any local grocery store.

    Insoluble Fibers

    Insoluble fiber helps speed up the digestion process and prevents constipation and other bowel-related problems. Just like soluble fiber, it can help control blood sugar levels and promote weight loss. Foods rich in insoluble fiber are filling, making you less hungry and therefore not interested in eating as much. Insoluble fiber also absorbs salt, which is an important consideration for those trying to lower their blood pressure.

    This type of fiber is present in wheat products, leafy green vegetables, bran, and fruit and root-vegetable skins. Insoluble fiber is typically what people think of when the word “fiber” is mentioned in context with the word “diet.” Below are some easy ways to incorporate insoluble fiber into your diet:

    • Use spinach leaves for salad instead of lettuce. Fresh spinach is both tasty and nutritious, and this simple switch can drastically increase your fiber intake from 0.8 grams to 3.5 grams. Cooked spinach boasts 7 grams per half cup.
    • Start eating whole-wheat products instead of using regular white bread. There are so many delicious possibilities with whole-wheat foods—whole-wheat bagels and cream cheese, whole-wheat toast with butter and jam, whole-wheat bread on your favorite sandwich, and so many others!
    • When eating fruit or potatoes, eat the skin. The skin of fruit and root vegetables are rich in fiber. So put away the vegetable peeler, and put fiber back into your diet!

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