Your Health Seth Stratton | 6 years ago

Rough it Up: 5 Ways to Fill Your Plate with Fiber

Most of us know that a fiber-rich diet is important for good health. Yet, most Americans fall short of the recommended 25-35 grams of fiber per day. Here are 5 easy ways to add a little roughage to your plate.

A growing body of evidence shows that people who eat more fiber tend to have a healthier body weight. Fiber-rich foods keep you feeling more satiated with less calories. But the majority of Americans consume only half of the recommended amount. But a fiber-rich diet does more than just keep you regular. It can slow the rise of blood sugar after eating, lower cholesterol, as well as help fight heart disease and some cancers. So how much fiber should you eat to see some benefits?

Got it. Fiber = good for the body. So where do I find it?

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested and can be found in plants, fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. There are two types of fiber. Soluble fiber which helps to lower cholesterol and blood sugars. Sources include peas, beans, oats, barley, apples, oranges, Avocados, dried figs, pears, Brussels sprouts, carrots, sweet potatoes and asparagus. And insoluble fiber, which helps to remove toxic waste through the colon in less time and helps prevent constipation, diverticulosis and is associated with protection from some type of cancers. Sources include wheat bran, whole grains, peas, cauliflower, beans, potatoes, celery, nuts and flax seeds.

So which type of fiber should I eat?

Don’t worry about choosing a specific type of fiber. Many fiber rich foods contain both types of fiber. Focus on eating the recommended 25-35 grams of fiber per day for good health. To achieve this goal, include at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily and six servings of grain products per day (at least three of which are whole grains).

5 Ways To Get More Fiber In Your Diet

  1. Leave on the skin: Fruit and vegetable skins contain a good amount of fiber. Leaving the skin on foods, such as potatoes, cucumbers, apples, pears, and apricots is an easy way to increase your fiber.
  2. Flex your flax seeds: This powerful plant provides both soluble and insoluble fibers, plus essential Omega 3’s. Flax seed had a nutty flavor. Try blending it into a fruit smoothie, mixing it into baked goods, or sprinkled over yogurt. Choose flax seed that is milled or ground.
  3. Go nuts: Try adding seeds, nuts and beans into soups, salads, and stews.
  4. The whole enchilada: Looks for whole grain as the first ingredient, or products labeled 100% Whole Grain.
  5. Fiber break: Whole grain cereal can make a great snack. Look for at least 4 grams of fiber per serving. Or make your own trail mix with high-fiber cereal, dried fruit and nuts.
To help you get started, here's a list of high-fiber foods you can easily incorporate into your diet (grams of fiber).
  • Whole wheat bread - 1slice (2g)
  • Bran flakes - ¾ cup (5g)
  • Oatmeal -1 cup (6g)
  • Popcorn - 1 cup (3.5g)
  • Avocado- 1/2 medium, 6g
  • Raspberries - 1 cup (8g)
  • Apple with skin - 1 med (5g)
  • Peas - 1 cup (9g)
  • Broccoli - 1 cup (5g)
  • Baked potato with skin - 1 med (5g)
  • Almonds - 1oz (4g)
  • Flax seeds - 3Tbsp (7g)
  • Black beans - 1 cup (14g)
  • Lima beans - 1 cup (13g)

The following post was written by Tricia Azra, RD, LDN, Carolinas HealthCare System, Community Wellness.