FoodHow to boost your fiber intake for better health and digestion

How to boost your fiber intake for better health and digestion

Fiber-rich products
Fiber-rich products
Images source: © Adobe Stock

8:19 PM EDT, May 18, 2024

Dietary fiber, also known as roughage, is a crucial substance for the proper functioning of the human digestive system. It regulates bowel movements, prevents constipation, and helps cleanse the digestive tract of accumulated waste. Although it is easy to obtain adequate fiber in the diet, many people suffer from its deficiency.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the optimal fiber intake is 1-1.4 ounces daily, but the exact amount varies depending on individual needs. Our diet often lacks fiber due to a widespread fear of carbohydrates and trendy diets that eliminate grains. See how you can effortlessly and smoothly incorporate fiber into your diet.

What are the benefits of fiber?

Dietary fiber has numerous health benefits, including:          

  • stimulating the intestines to eliminate waste and toxins from the body effectively
  • preventing constipation
  • aiding in weight loss
  • lowering cholesterol levels and the risk of atherosclerosis
  • regulating blood glucose levels
  • helping eliminate toxins, bile acids, heavy metals, and even carcinogenic substances from the body
  • stimulating intestinal blood flow
  • improving skin appearance, adding shine to hair, strengthening nails, and slimming the figure
Vegetables are a rich source of fiber, it's worth adding them to meals.
Vegetables are a rich source of fiber, it's worth adding them to meals.© Pixabay

However, it is essential to increase fiber intake gradually. A sudden, large dose can have the opposite effect, leading to constipation, abdominal pain, and bloating. A diet rich in fiber also requires drinking more water.

Which foods are rich in fiber? The easiest ways to introduce fiber into your diet

Dietitians Lauren Harris-Pincus and Sarah Schlichter, in an interview with Yahoo.com, suggest how to change eating habits to provide the body with more essential fiber.

          

  • Start the day with oatmeal or other fiber-rich cereals. Just a cup of cooked oatmeal provides 1-2 teaspoons of fiber. You can add other sources of this valuable substance, such as walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds.
  • Eat more legumes. A half-cup of canned beans provides 1-2 tablespoons of fiber. You can add beans to various dishes, bake chickpeas for a crunchy snack, or enjoy edamame as a favorite movie night treat.
  • Choose whole-grain products. (This is not to be confused with multigrain, which can be supplemented with grains.) Replace refined white flour products with whole grain ones to significantly increase your fiber intake and benefit your body. White refined flour is low in nutrients.
  • Try to eat more vegetable-based meals. Why? Fiber is mainly found in plant-based foods, so eating plant-based meals several times a week is recommended to increase your vegetable and fiber intake.
  • Fruits and vegetables should be part of every meal. Add small but mighty berries, such as raspberries and blackberries, to sweet oatmeal – they contain 2-3 teaspoons of fiber per cup. Serve vegetables as snacks with your favorite dips or toppings to make eating them enjoyable.
  • Remember, the less processed the grains, the more fiber they contain.
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