Fiber is found in most foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, and potatoes. Ingesting the proper amount of fiber on a daily basis helps prevent constipation and hemorrhoids, aids in controlling cholesterol levels, and helps to control blood sugar levels.
The Food and Drug Administration recommends adults consume 25 grams of fiber on a daily basis. This may seem like a high number, and that you’ll be eating a lot of bread each day. But more important than that specific number is the type of foods from which you get your fiber.
Fiber comes from plant based foods. Meats and dairy have no fiber content, so a cheeseburger on a bun with lettuce and tomato has a low fiber content. Subtract the cheese from your burger and have an apple for dessert and you’ve not only reduced your fat intake you’ve increased your fiber intake.
An apple provides 5 grams of fiber. A banana has 3 grams of fiber, while a handful of roasted peanuts offers approximately 6 grams of fiber. If you ate these three things in one day, you’ll have ingested 14 grams of fiber, over half the recommended amount.
Cereals, whole grain breads, oatmeal, crackers, pretzels, and bagels all have fiber content. The cereal grains used to make these bready foods are made up of fiber, fiber that your body needs.
That doesn’t mean you can eat large amounts of grain-based foods in the hopes of increasing your fiber intake. It does mean selecting the right type of grain-based foods is an effective way of getting fiber into your diet.
For example, three-fourths of a cup of whole grain cereal, such as All Bran, contains as much as 13 grams of fiber, while the same amount of Cheerios contains less than 3 grams of fiber. Though both are made from grain, the difference lies in how that grain is processed.
Foods made from whole grains are foods in which the grain hasn’t been stripped of bran and germ, both high fiber elements. Though you do ingest fiber when you eat slices of refined white bread, you’ll ingest more fiber, and more body-friendly fiber, if you choose whole grain bread instead.
Simply increasing your daily intake of fiber is a positive step toward a healthy diet, but you should also think in terms of an efficient dietary intake of fiber.
Fiber is filling, so if you try to get in your 25 grams worth via refined white bread and bowls of processed cereal grains, you’ll feel bloated and may experience digestive discomfort.
Ensure you eat enough fiber by including whole grain breads, fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, and nuts in your diet. Substitute sliced strawberries for a chocolate chip cookie. Eat a banana with your whole grain toast for breakfast. Add a half cup of black beans to your homemade vegetable soup and you’ve increased the fiber content by 7 grams.
Fiber is a naturally occurring element in plant-based foods. Select unprocessed foods and include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, and you should easily make your goal of 25 grams of fiber a day, without feeling bloated.