“Eat fiber.” You’ve probably heard this advice. But if you’re like most Americans, your diet still falls short. Experts recommend eating 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day, but most Americans eat only around 10 grams.
Numerous studies say that diets high in fiber, or the indigestible part of plants, provide health benefits. Fiber promotes normal digestion and naturally prevents constipation. And for people who want to lose weight, a high fiber diet is a great way to go. – high fiber foods fill stomachs with fewer calories, allowing dieters to eat more and still lose weight.
There are two main types of fiber. Apples, oranges, carrots, potatoes, oats, barley and beans all contain water-soluble fiber. Water-soluble fiber helps regulate blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels.
Water-insoluble fiber traps water and helps move food through the intestines. It can be found in vegetables, wheat bran, corn bran, rice bran and most other whole grains. You need both types of fiber, so aim to eat many different fruits, vegetables, legume and whole grains throughout your day. Eat fruits and vegetables with their skins for extra fiber. Focus on whole grains like oatmeal, bran cereals, brown rice, millet and barley.
You can also find 100 percent whole grain breads and pastas at many supermarkets. Even with these changes, you may still have trouble meeting your fiber intake goals, so taking a product that contains soluble and insoluble fiber, such as Herbalife’s Active Fiber Complex, can help you get the maximum benefit that fibers provide.
Here are some tips to sneak fiber into your diet:
- Replace your morning OJ with a whole orange. Fruit juices often contain added sugars, and they almost never have fiber. Switching from fruit juice to fruit will help you meet your daily fiber needs.
- Snack on raw vegetables. Dip raw vegetables, like cauliflower florets, baby carrots and celery, into black bean salsa or hummus to boost your fiber intake.
- Buy whole grain pasta and breads. Make your pasta salad with whole grain pasta to enjoy fiber’s health benefits. When baking breads, muffins and cookies, consider replacing some or all of the white flour with whole wheat white or whole wheat pastry flour.
Suddenly upping your fiber intake can upset your stomach, so slowly incorporate high-fiber foods into your diet, and drink plenty of water.
Susan Bowerman is a consultant to Herbalife.