Are You Getting Enough Fiber in Your Diet?
Dietary fiber can be found in many common foods including whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Eating a diet with foods that supply fiber can help keep your digestion system working in a healthy way, keep you regular, and may lower your risk of developing certain diseases. For example, studies have also found soluble fiber in foods like oats, which may help lower cholesterol levels as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. In addition, although the development of cancer depends on many factors, eating a diet low in fat and high in whole grain products, fruits, and vegetables that contain dietary fiber may reduce your risk of certain cancers. Eating a diet high in fiber may also help people maintain a healthy weight because foods containing fiber tend to help promote satiety.
If your diet is lacking in fiber, try these simple ideas for adding more fiber to your diet.
- Top your oatmeal with fresh berries or slices of apple for breakfast.
- Make pancakes or waffles using whole-wheat flour and top them with apples, berries or bananas.
- For lunch, make your favorite sandwich with a whole-wheat pita instead of white bread.
- Choose whole-wheat or whole-grain cereals, breads and pastas. Be sure to check the product package to make sure whole wheat or another whole grain is listed as the first ingredient.
- Replace up to half of the flour in cookie and muffin recipes with whole-wheat flour. You can also add oats or fresh fruits, including raisins, berries or bananas for an extra fiber boost.
- Add shredded or finely chopped vegetables to your soups, hamburgers or meatloaf.
- Leave the edible peel or skin on your favorite fresh fruits and vegetables for extra fiber and nutrients.
- Eat plenty of fresh vegetables, especially vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and zucchini.
- Choose brown rice instead of white rice and try other grains such as barley and bulgur.
- Eat legumes, such as dried beans, peas, lentils, etc., several times a week.
- Munch on unbuttered popcorn, whole-grain crackers topped with fat-free cheese or carrot and celery sticks dipped in fat-free Ranch dip when you want a crunchy snack.
- Top low-fat yogurt with whole-grain cereal and fresh fruit as a delicious alternative to ice cream.