Why a Fiber-Rich Diet Is Important
Fiber is a necessary component of your daily diet because it aids in proper digestion and facilitates a healthy lifestyle.
Fiber boosts the body’s immunity and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and helps control blood cholesterol levels. Fiber is also a significant factor in weight loss and acts as a check against obesity.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that men between the ages of 19 and 50 get about 38 grams of fiber daily; men over 50 should get at least 30 grams. The recommendation for women age 19 to 50 is at least 25 grams and for women over 50, at least 21 grams.
Unfortunately, the consumption of fiber is precariously low for most people, often hovering below 15 grams a day.
The primary food source of fiber comes from plants. As a result a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nuts provide the two main types of fibers – soluble and insoluble – both significant in their own way.
Web MD recommends the following as the top 10 best sources of fiber:
1. Beans. Think three-bean salad, bean burritos, chili, and soup.
2. Whole grains. That means whole-wheat bread, pasta, etc.
3. Brown rice. White rice doesn’t offer much fiber.
4. Popcorn. It’s a great source of fiber.
5. Nuts. Almonds, pecans, and walnuts have more fiber than other nuts.
6. Baked potato with skin. It’s the skin that’s important here.
7. Berries. All those seeds, plus the skin, give great fiber to any berry.
8. Bran cereal. Actually, any cereal that has 5 grams of fiber or more in a serving counts as high fiber.
9. Oatmeal. Whether its microwaved or stove-cooked, oatmeal is good fiber.
10. Vegetables. The crunchier, the better.
Insoluble fiber does not break down during digestion. However, it helps in the absorption and smooth passage of other foods through the stomach and intestines. This fiber contributes to healthy bowel movements and acts as a preventive measure against digestive problems.
Soluble fiber on the other hand decreases cholesterol and helps prevent constipation because it softens the stools.
Fiber Rich Foods
Fiber rich foods helps you feel full longer, which lessens the desire to eat and is often helpful for people working long hours.
Word of Caution: Do not switch suddenly to a fiber-rich diet because it can cause flatulence (gas), stomach cramps or feeling bloated.
The amount of fiber in your diet must be increased gradually for best results.
Cooking Fiber Rich Meals
Cooking a fiber-rich diet is not difficult. It is simply a matter of adding the proper ingredients.
- Instead of making soups with cream and meats, try a rich lentil soup. Beans are extremely healthy and rich in nutrients and fiber.
- When selecting breads choose whole grain products instead of white flour products.
- Brown rice and whole grain pasta are also fiber-rich and much healthier than their white counterparts.
- Bran, rice and whole grain cereals, such as Cheerios and Grape nuts give your body the right fiber intake without compromising the quality or taste.
- Choose fiber-rich snacks such as nuts, peas and flaxseeds. They will fill your tummy without adding extra calories.
- All fruits are good for you and contain fiber; but, for that added fiber punch, eat more berries – they are the most fiber-rich.
- Vegetables and fruits are irreplaceable when it comes to fiber-rich cooking. Try slow-cooker meals because the fiber incorporates into the dish and adds a delightful flavor to your stews, broths, and gravies.
- Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, and Swiss chard are also fiber-rich and should be included in at least 2 out of 3 of your daily meals.
- Salads should become a regular item on your dinner menu for all occasions. They are exceptionally good for you and with a light dressing make a delicious way to eat more fiber.
Love Your Body
Your body needs love, care, and attention. Paying attention to what you eat ensures that your body is getting the nutrients it needs to build and sustain a healthy body with a great immune system.
All nutrients are equally important, including fats, carbs, proteins and fiber. The goal should always be to eat a balanced diet with enough fiber. When you commit to that kind of healthy eating, you will be able to watch miraculous changes in your body and energy levels. ENJOY!