Want to be your healthy weight? It’s easier than you think. Eat more fiber-rich food!
No, not cardboard tasting bread. How about fresh raspberries? Apples? A black bean and quinoa bowl with salsa and avocado?
Yep, these are all fiber-rich foods. And there are many more. How about kiwis, persimmons, pears, peas, and pumpkin? Yep, these too.
What does fiber have to do with our weight and weight loss?
- It helps us feel full so we eat less.
- It helps slow the absorption of sugars and fats.
- It helps reduce blood glucose levels after meals.
Fiber is also important because it:
- Removes toxins and bacterial by-products from our colon.
- Binds cholesterol and can lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.
- Promotes digestion and bowel movements.
- Encourages the growth of helpful bacteria (probiotics) in the colon.
- Helps regulate our immune system.
- Can lower the risk of heart disease, colon cancer, and colon polyps.
Fiber sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, most of us don’t eat nearly enough of it. We recommend 32 grams of fiber a day for women and 45 grams for men. This may sound daunting but it really isn’t. Check out these easy ways to get more fiber in your diet:
- 1 cup raspberries – 8 grams of fiber
- 1 medium apple – 5 grams of fiber
- 1 cup cooked black beans – 15 grams of fiber
- 1 cup cooked lentils – 15 grams of fiber
- 1 cup cooked broccoli – 5 grams of fiber
- 1 cup green peas – 7 grams of fiber
- ½ cup avocado – 4.2 grams of fiber
- ½ cup oatmeal – 5 grams of fiber
- ½ cup brown rice – 4 grams of fiber
- ½ cup canned pumpkin – 3 grams of fiber
- 1 slice whole-grain bread (read labels- not all bread is the same!) – 4 grams of fiber
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed – 4 grams of fiber
- 1 ounce almonds – 3 grams of fiber
There are many other high-fiber foods, including fruits, veggies, legumes, seeds, nuts, and minimally-processed cereal and grains. If you eat a plant-based diet, you’re eating healthy fiber.
But are you getting enough? Think about what you really eat in a day and see if you meet our recommended daily fiber goals. If not, gradually increase the amount of fiber each week until you hit your goal. It could take about 30 days for your gastrointestinal system to adjust to your optimum fiber intake. If you add it in too quickly, you could have bloating and gas – just what you don’t want!
We suggest reading food labels to find out how much fiber is in each serving. And while you’re at it, check to see what the serving size is. Is it a half-cup of cereal or one cup? One slice of bread or two?
And don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Fiber needs water to move through our systems, so water is crucial to help fiber do its job.
Fiber-rich foods are great for our weight and overall health. They’re highly nutritious and provide needed vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Eat more fiber-rich foods each day, and you’ll help your entire body look and feel great.