Dietary fiber-rich foods can keep you full, help you lose weight, and improve your overall health. By using these tips to add more to your diet, you can look and feel your best.
High Fiber Diet To Prevent Constipation
Many of us associate fiber with digestive health and bowel function. But eating foods rich in dietary fiber can do much more than regular maintenance. It can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, improve your skin health and help you lose weight. It may even help prevent colon cancer.
Good Sources Of Fiber
Fiber, also known as forage, is the part of plant foods (grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans) that the body cannot break down. It passes through the body undigested, keeping your digestive system clean and healthy, facilitating bowel movements, and removing harmful cholesterol and carcinogens from the body.
Insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water. These are bulk fibers that help prevent constipation and are found in whole grains, whole grains, and vegetables like carrots, celery, and tomatoes.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and helps control blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol. Good sources are oats, oatmeal, beans, nuts, and fruits such as apples, berries, citrus fruits, and pears.
Many foods contain soluble and insoluble fiber. In general, the more natural and unprocessed the food, the more fiber it has. There is no fiber in meat, dairy or sugar. Refined or “white” foods such as white bread, white rice, and pastries have all or most of the fiber removed.
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The latest data shows that nine out of ten Americans don’t eat enough fiber—and people in other parts of the world are lagging behind. Part of the problem may be related to bathroom habits. Yes, fiber is a healthy and effective way to stay regular, but that’s not the only reason we should include more in our diet. Many different studies have shown how a high-fiber diet can boost your immune system and overall health, and improve how you look and feel.
Digestive health. Dietary fiber normalizes the work of the intestines by increasing the size of stool and facilitating its excretion. It can help relieve and prevent constipation and diarrhea. Eating plenty of fiber can also reduce the risk of diverticulitis (inflammation of the bowel), hemorrhoids, gallstones, kidney stones, and provide some relief from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Some studies have also shown that a high-fiber diet can help reduce stomach acid and reduce the risk of GERD and ulcers.
Diabetes A diet rich in fiber—especially insoluble fiber from grains—may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. If you already have diabetes, eating soluble fiber may reduce sugar absorption and improve blood sugar levels.
Cancer There is some research that suggests a high-fiber diet may help prevent colorectal cancer, although the evidence is still inconclusive. A diet rich in high-fiber foods is also associated with a reduced risk of other common cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, including stomach, mouth, and pharynx.
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Skin health. When yeast and fungi are shed through the skin, they can cause boils or acne. Eating fiber, especially psyllium husks (a type of plant seed), can flush toxins from your body and improve the health and appearance of your skin.
Heart health Fiber, especially soluble fiber, is an important component of any heart-healthy diet. A high-fiber diet can improve cholesterol levels by lowering LDL (bad cholesterol). High fiber intake may also reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors associated with coronary heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Fiber can also help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve HDL (good) cholesterol levels, and reduce excess weight around the belly.
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High Fiber Foods
In addition to helping with digestion and preventing constipation, fiber boosts your nutrition, which is a key factor in weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. Adding more can help you feel full faster. Because fiber stays in your stomach longer than other foods, it keeps you feeling full longer and helps you eat less. Fiber-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are usually low in calories, so adding fiber to your diet will make it easier to cut calories.
Depending on age and gender, nutritionists recommend eating at least 21 to 38 grams of fiber per day for optimal health. Research shows that most of us don’t even eat half that amount.
While meeting your daily goal may seem difficult at first, eating whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains can give you the fiber you need to start reaping the health benefits.
Refined or processed foods have less fiber, so try to make whole grains an integral part of your diet. There are many easy ways to add whole grains to your meals.
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Start your day with fiber. Look for whole grains to increase your fiber intake at breakfast. By switching your breakfast cereal from corn kernels to bran kernels, you can add an extra 6 grams of fiber to your diet. Switching to All-Bran or Fiber-One strengthens it even more. If those grains aren’t your thing, try adding a few tablespoons of unprocessed wheat bran to your favorite cereal.
Replace white rice, bread and pasta with brown rice and whole grains. Try wild rice, oats, whole wheat pasta, and whole grains. These alternatives have more fiber than their regular counterparts, and you may find that you like their taste. Choose whole grain bread for toast and sandwiches.
Increase your baking. When baking at home, replace half or all of the white flour with wholemeal flour, as wholemeal flour is heavier than white flour. In yeast breads, use a little more yeast or let the dough rise more. Try adding crushed bran cereal or unprocessed wheat bran to muffins, cookies, and cakes. Or add psyllium husks to gluten-free baked goods such as bread, pizza dough, and pasta.
Add flax seeds. Flaxseeds are small brown seeds that are rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids that can lower blood cholesterol. You can grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor and add them to yogurt, applesauce or breakfast cereal.
The Benefits Of A High Fiber Diet (plus Best Food Sources)
Most fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, which is another good reason to include more in your daily diet. Here are some simple strategies that can help:
Add fruit to your breakfast. Berries are high in fiber, so try adding fresh blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or blackberries to your morning cereal or yogurt.
Make fruits and vegetables available. Wash and cut fruits and vegetables and refrigerate for quick and healthy snacks. Choose recipes that contain these high-fiber ingredients, such as stir-fries or fruit salad.
Substitute fruit for dessert. At the end of the meal, instead of dessert, eat a piece of fruit such as a banana, apple or pear. Top it with cream or frozen yogurt for a delicious treat.
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Instead of drinking fruit juice, eat whole fruits. You’ll get more fiber and burn fewer calories. For example, an 8-ounce glass of orange juice has almost no fiber and about 110 calories, while a medium fresh orange has about 3 grams of fiber and only 60 calories.
Eat the peel Peeling can reduce the amount of fiber in fruits and vegetables, so eat the skin of fruits such as apples and pears.
Include vegetables in cooking. Add pre-chopped fresh or frozen vegetables to soups and sauces. For example, mix chopped frozen broccoli with prepared spaghetti sauce or toss fresh carrots into soup.
Fill soup and salad. Liven up a boring salad by adding nuts, seeds, beans, peas or black beans. Artichokes are also very high in fiber and can be added to salads or eaten as a snack. Beans, chickpeas, lentils, and rice make delicious additions to fiber-rich soups and stews.
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Don’t leave out the beans. Add beans, peas or lentils to soup or black beans to a green salad.
Count the snacks. Fresh and dried fruits, raw vegetables, and whole grain crackers are good ways to add fiber at snack time. A handful of nuts can also be a healthy, fiber-rich snack.
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If you’re new to eating high-fiber foods, it’s best to start by gradually adding fiber to your diet and increasing your water intake. Fiber absorbs water, so the more fiber you add to your diet, the more fluids you should drink.
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Suddenly adding too much fiber to the diet can sometimes cause side effects such as stomach cramps, gas, bloating or diarrhea. This burden must be removed
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