Most Americans are not getting enough fiber in their diets. The average adult only eats 15 grams/day, but did you know the recommendation for males is 38 grams/day and women 25g/day? Here are some great facts on fiber from Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, is director of nutrition for WebMD.
In order to add more fiber to your diet, it’s important to add more plant based foods to your diet. This includes fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and nuts. Avoiding refined grains — such as white flour, white pasta, and white rice — and replacing them with whole grains is a great way to boost the amount of fiber in your diet.
Soluble fiber is found in beans, peas, lentils, oatmeal, oat bran, nuts, seeds, psyllium, apples, pears, strawberries, and blueberries. Soluble fiber is associated with lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, regulating blood sugar, and a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains, barley, couscous, brown rice, bulgur, wheat bran, nuts, seeds, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, celery, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, nuts, grapes, and tomatoes. One of the benefits of insoluble fiber is that it helps keep you regular, prevents constipation, and reduces the risk of diverticular disease.
Here is a sample healthy meal packed with nutrients and 37 grams of fiber:
- Breakfast: whole-grain bran flake cereal (5 grams of fiber), half a banana (1.5 grams of fiber), and skim milk.
- Snack: 24 almonds (3.3 grams of fiber) and a quarter cup of raisins (1.5 grams of fiber)
- Lunch: Turkey sandwich made with 2 slices of whole wheat bread, lettuce, and tomato (5 grams of fiber), and an orange (3.1 grams of fiber)
- Snack: Yogurt with half a cup of blueberries (2 grams of fiber)
- Dinner: Grilled fish with a salad of romaine lettuce and shredded carrots (2.6 grams of fiber), half a cup of spinach (2.1 grams of fiber), and half a cup of lentils (7.5 grams of fiber)
- Snack: 3 cups popped popcorn (3.5 grams of fiber)
Here are seven more ways to add fiber to your diet:
- Start your day with a whole-grain cereal that contains at least 5 grams of fiber. Look at the list of ingredients to be sure the whole grain (such as whole wheat, whole rye, or whole oats) is first on the list.
- Read labels and choose foods with at least a few grams of fiber per serving. A good source of fiber contains 2.5-4.9 grams of fiber per serving. An excellent source has 5 grams or more per serving.
- Use whole-grain breads with at least 2-3 grams of fiber per slice for sandwiches.
- Choose whole fruit over juice. Whole fruit can have as much as twice the amount of fiber as a glass of juice.
- Toss beans into your soups, stews, egg dishes, salads, chili, and Mexican dishes. Substitute beans for meat in at least one vegetarian meal per week.
- Experiment with international cuisines (such as Indian or Middle Eastern) that use whole grains and beans in main dishes.
- Make snacks count as opportunities to enjoy foods high in fiber. For instance, snack on raw vegetables with bean dip or hummus.
For more information: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/fiber-how-much-do-you-need