Eat more fiber! We have all heard that a million times. But, do you really know what it is and why you need it?
‘Go’ With Your Gut
Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, is the part of plant foods your body can't digest or absorb. There are many health benefits associated with eating a wide variety of gut healthy soluble and insoluble fiber rich foods.
Insoluble fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system, which can aid those who struggle with constipation or other digestive issues. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes are good sources of insoluble fiber. Avoid refined grains as the refining process removes the outer coat (bran), lowering the fiber content.
Soluble fiber, found in fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains such as oats and barley, dissolves in water to form a gel-like material that can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels.
Additional health benefits of a fiber rich diet may include:
- Lowering the risk of some types of cancers including colorectal cancer
- Reducing blood pressure and inflammation
- Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Helping to maintain a healthy weight
Weave Fiber Into Your Diet
Bulking up on fiber can be delicious! There are so many flavorful, fiber-rich foods to choose from that it is easy to incorporate fiber into tasty meals throughout your day. Here are a few simple ideas to get things moving:
Breakfast: Start your day by sprinkling a few tablespoons of unprocessed wheat bran on your favorite cereal, yogurt or chia pudding.
Lunch: Create your own Mexican inspired bowls with brown rice, avocado, beans, corn, homemade pico de gallo, and tofu for a fiber and protein rich meal.
Dinner: Choose whole wheat pasta and serve with fresh vegetables, chickpeas and your go-to sauce.
PPB Tip: You don’t even have to give up your favorite baked goods, simply substitute whole wheat flour for white flour in your recipe.
High-fiber foods tend to be more filling than those low in fiber, so you're likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer. To allow the natural bacteria in your gut to adjust to the change in your diet, take it slow at the beginning by gradually increasing the amount of fiber you eat over a few weeks. And, remember to drink plenty of water!