When it comes to our health, we often think that we are doing everything right. We eat healthy, we exercise regularly, and we take care of our bodies. However, there is one important aspect of our health that we often overlook- fiber. Fiber is an essential part of our diet and plays a vital role in our overall health. Unfortunately, many of us do not get enough fiber in our diets. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the average American only consumes about 15 grams of fiber per day, which is far below the recommended 25-38 grams per day.
There are many reasons why fiber is so important for our health. Fiber helps to regulate digestion, lower cholesterol levels, controls blood sugar levels, and promotes regularity. Fiber also helps to keep us feeling full, which can aid in weight loss and weight management.
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and is found in foods like oats, beans, lentils, and some fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fiber doesn't dissolve in water and is found in foods like wheat bran, whole grains, and some vegetables.
Both types of fiber are important for a healthy diet. Soluble fiber helps to keep you regular by absorbing water and softening stool. It also helps to regulate blood sugar levels and can lower cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool and helps food move through your digestive system more quickly. If you're not used to eating a lot of fiber, start slowly and increase your intake gradually. And be sure to drink plenty of water, too. Fiber can make you feel bloated if you don't drink enough water.
Despite the many benefits of fiber, many of us still do not get enough of it in our diets. One reason for this is that we often do not know how to incorporate more fiber into our diets. Here are some easy tips:
1) Fruits and vegetables: Not only are they packed with fiber, but they're also loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that are great for your health. So eat up those apples, carrots, broccoli, and oranges! Aim for 5-7 servings per day.
2) Whole grains: Opt for whole grain breads, quinoa, brown rice and oats instead of their refined counterparts. You'll get more fiber and more nutrients overall.
3) Beans and legumes: Beans are an excellent source of fiber and protein. They're great in soups, salads, burritos, or just on their own as a side dish.
4) Nuts and seeds: These little guys are loaded with fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Throw a handful in your next salad or yogurt for a nutrient-packed punch.
5) High Fiber snacks: Believe it or not, popcorn is actually a whole grain! And it's a great source of fiber. Just be sure it's nonGMO and avoid the kind that's loaded with butter and salt.
Being more aware of adding in these extra grams of fiber is just one simple change that can make a big difference in your overall health!