Most of us don’t know how much fiber we consume in an average day and have no clue how much is optimal for our bodies, but fiber is such a vital part of a healthy and balanced diet that you are doing yourself a disservice by not getting your recommended amount (25 grams for women and 38 grams for men). There are so many ways you can increase your fiber intake that won’t require a ton of time or a complete overhaul in the way that you eat. Hopefully, this post gives you a great list of foods you can quickly and easily incorporate into your diet!
Why is fiber so important?
Fiber (also referred to as dietary fiber) is an important part of every diet and is pivotal to the health of your digestive system and keeping your bowels moving. Dietary fiber, a type of carbohydrate, is a plant-based nutrient that unlike other carbohydrates cannot be broken down into digestible sugar molecules.
Fiber comes in two main forms—insoluble and soluble. Both are important to your digestion and health, but there are key differences that you should understand.
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, remains relatively intact as it travels through the digestive system and adds bulk to your stool. Foods containing insoluble fiber include nuts, whole wheat foods, and vegetables
Soluble fiber attracts water and forms a gel-like substance that softens stools and helps slow digestion. Foods containing soluble fiber include oats, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
Many fiber-rich foods contain both types of fiber and as you work to increase your intake you only need to focus on total fiber intake, not the specific type.
Can fiber help me lose weight?
If you are looking to add more fiber to your diet to lose some weight please note that this is not a magic pill and won’t help you lose weight without other healthy lifestyle changes. But all is not lost, as fiber can aid in your weight loss by naturally reducing the amount of food you consume. This happens because foods high in fiber take longer to digest thus giving you a full or satiated feeling for longer. So include fiber in your healthy diet to help hit your weight loss goals, but you also need to be mindful of your caloric intake as a whole when you are trying to lose weight.
Don’t forget to download my list of over 40 fiber-rich foods to help you!
How do I get more fiber into my diet?
Before you go pick up some Fiber One Bars or a fiber supplement, check out this list of over 40 fiber-rich foods and start eating! The fruits and vegetables on this list can be consumed with little to no preparation!
I know it is a lot easier said than done and just going to the store and buying more fruits and vegetables doesn’t really make them easier to eat so here are a few other ways that you can quickly and easily get more fiber into your diet that you may find a little more appetizing:
Smoothies are a great way to get fruit, vegetables and fiber-rich seeds (like flax seeds and chia seeds) into your diet. Check out my green smoothie recipes for ideas and delicious smoothies to try.
When cooking, opt for brown rice and whole wheat and whole grain substitutes.
Start your day with oatmeal! I think oatmeal is a great way to get fiber into your diet. Check out my steel cut oats recipe and see how easy it is to make your oatmeal and meal prep it for the week.