All About Fiber

January is Fiber Focus Month and it couldn’t fall at a better time. Almost every popular New Year’s Resolution can be more successful by adding fiber! So what is fiber? Dietary fiber is a type of non-digestible carbohydrate found in plant foods. There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps remove cholesterol from your body, which is good for heart health. Both types of fiber increase feelings of fullness are good for regular bowel movements. Adults should be aiming for 25 – 35 grams of fiber each day, although most are only getting an average of 16 grams per day. Keep reading to learn why fiber is such an important part of a healthy diet.

Eat Smart with fiber rich foods

Dietary fiber is found in whole grains, fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds. By focusing on increasing your fiber, you’ll end up eating more plant foods, which are important for a healthy diet.  

Drink Smart with a high fiber diet

As you increase the amount of fiber in your diet, you also need to increase how much water you’re drinking at the same time. Fiber helps keep you regular, but increasing fiber in your diet too much or too quickly can cause digestive discomfort.

Slim Down with high fiber foods

Fiber can help you feel fuller, longer. This helps many people in their weight loss journeys. Foods high in fiber also tend to be more nutrient-dense, meaning they have more nutrients per calorie than low fiber foods. So by swapping low fiber foods for their higher fiber alternatives, you’ll get more nutrition, fewer calories, and feel just as satisfied. Talk about a powerful weight loss strategy!

Stay Healthy with fiber

Diets high in fiber have been shown to improve health. Dietary fiber, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Diets rich in foods containing fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. As you can see, fiber has a powerful effect on health.

Good sources of fiber

Some of the best sources of dietary fiber are beans and peas, like navy beans, split peas, lentils, pinto beans, and black beans. Vegetables high in fiber include artichokes, collard greens, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and other winter squash, potatoes, and parsnips. Fruits that are good sources of fiber include pears, avocados, apples, raspberries, blackberries, prunes, and figs. Whole grains, like bran and wheat cereals (choose plain varieties instead of sweetened ones), whole grain crackers, bulgur, air popped popcorn, oatmeal, or whole wheat pasta, are all fiber-rich options. Finally, nuts and seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, and peanuts, are good sources of fiber, too.

Diets high in fiber have many health benefits.

Chart of foods high in fiber from The 2010 Dietary Guidelines. You can find a longer chart in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines here.

By switching to higher fiber foods, you can have a great impact on your health. What foods will you focus on to eat more fiber?

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