Did you know that by simply increasing the amount of soluble and insoluble fiber you eat each day, you can lower your risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, diverticular disease, constipation and colon cancer? Nutritional experts have also discovered that you can reduce your LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) by five percent when you consume 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber per day. What’s more, fiber even helps lower blood glucose levels. Find out how you can get more fiber in your diet.
What are dietary sources of fiber?
Soluble fiber helps increase the bulk of your stool and decrease blood cholesterol levels. Examples of soluble fiber include fruits (e.g., apples, oranges and grapefruit), vegetables, legumes (e.g., lentils, dry beans and peas), nuts and oat bran.
Insoluble fiber helps promote the normal movement of your intestinal tract. Examples of insoluble fiber include fruits and vegetables with an edible peel or seeds (e.g., apples, grapes, red or green peppers and carrots), whole grains, bulgur wheat, stone-ground cornmeal, buckwheat, etc.
Here’s a list of some common foods and their fiber content:
- Legumes or beans (e.g., kidney, garbanzo, black, etc.) contain approximately four to eight grams of fiber per half-cup serving.
- Fruits with higher fiber content include apples, oranges, tangerines, pears and one cup of blueberries or strawberries. Each serving of these fruits contains approximately three to four grams of fiber. And one cup of raspberries contains a whopping eight grams of fiber!
- Vegetables with three to four grams of fiber per serving include a half cup of peas, cauliflower or squash, one cup of carrots and one medium sweet potato.
You can increase your fiber intake just by making simple changes in your daily routine. Keep a jar of oat bran or wheat germ handy and sprinkle some on your salads, soups, yogurts and breakfast cereals. Use whole wheat flour instead of white flour in recipes and when baking. Cook or choose brown rice instead of white rice. Try substituting legumes for meat. Mix black beans and low-salt salsa into ground meat for fantastic-tasting burgers.
There are a lot of ways to add fiber to your diet. No matter which one you choose, your body will thank you.