(RxWiki News) Lower cholesterol, healthy bowels, better blood sugar and healthy weight — that's the potential power of dietary fiber. Here's how to get more of it in your diet.
Fiber is often overlooked, but it's an essential part of a healthy diet. Consider these five tips to make sure you're getting enough fiber every day.
1. Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are the primary natural sources of fiber, so you can make sure you're getting enough fiber by making sure you're getting enough fruits and vegetables.
Health officials recommend getting five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Take a look at your daily diet to see if there's room to add more fruits and veggies to your plate.
2. Don't Leave Out the Legumes
Lentils, beans, peas and other legumes are not just low-calorie and healthy foods. They're also a delicious source of dietary fiber.
To get more legumes in your diet, consider using them as a replacement for meat for a couple of meals each week. Alternatively, use legumes like lentils to replace your usual starches, such as rice, in your favorite dishes.
3. Whole Grain, Not Refined
Bread and bread products are often made from refined fiber. The process of refining flour removes much of the fiber-containing outer hull of the grains used to make the flour. But that's not the case if you choose the whole grain variety.
Check the packaging for any grain product you buy to make sure it's whole grain. And remember that "multi-grain," a common descriptor on bread products, is not the same thing as whole grain.
4. Reconsider Your Snacks
What do you snack on? If it's anything other than fruits, veggies or nuts, you probably have room to switch up your snacks and get more fiber every day.
Instead of snacking on sweets or salty processed foods, snack on fruits, veggies and nuts. You'll not only get more fiber, but you'll get more vitamins and minerals.
5. Consider a Fiber Supplement
If you feel like you just aren't getting enough fiber, you might want to consider one of several over-the-counter fiber supplements available in most pharmacies. These supplements are usually in capsule form or powder form. In any case, start slowly with any fiber supplement because it can be easy to overdo it.
Talk to your health care provider before making any major changes to your diet or daily supplements.