6 easy ways to up the fiber in your diet

In my previous post, I talked about how important fiber is to our body – from keeping you “regular” to lowering your risk of diabetes to knocking your cholesterol down a few points, the benefits are many.

One thing to keep in mind, is to make sure you drink enough fluids – upping the fiber without upping the fluids can lead to constipation, because the way fiber works is absorbing or dissolving in water – if you are dehydrated, it won’t serve it’s purpose.

There are many simple ways to incorporate extra fiber into your diet – here are a few easy ones:

1. Snack on nuts and seeds.

1 serving (1oz) of nuts\seeds has anywhere from 2 grams of fiber per serving (walnuts) to 10 grams per serving (chia seeds). For more information on how to incorporate chia seeds into your diet, check out my previous blog post, 5 Yummy Ways to Use Chia Seeds. Other great nut\seed varieties include pumpkin seeds (2) , sunflower seeds (3) , and almonds (4). A serving is about a handful (or 1\4 cup), so it’s a great snack choice. Just keep in mind portion control, as they are very calorically dense
2. Up your intake of fruits and vegetables.

This is a no brainer – fruits and veggies are chock full of this nutrient, among many others. It’s always best to choose the whole food versions over the juice version. A few notable ones to mention are peas (9g\cup), broccoli (5g\cup), avocados (7g per half), raspberries (8g\cup). Eating your fruits and veggies first in a meal can assist with weight maintenance, also, as you tend to eat less of the meal overall.

3. Incorporate fiber powder into your daily routine

2 tsp = 3g fiber, if using the generic brand (Equate) of Benefiber at Walmart. $9.17 for 90 servings (12 ounces). It can be mixed into a glass of water, your coffee or tea, or as an extra in an smoothie. It’s tasteless, and dissolves completely in hot liquids, so you don’t even realize it’s there.

4. Snack on popcorn

This whole grain snack has about 3 grams per serving, depending on the brand, although if you are like me you don’t stop at one serving – 1 bag (4.5 cups) has about 8 grams. It’s a nice cheap and quick snack, and if you buy a reduced sodium version it’s even more guilt-free.

5. Flaxseed

Full of Omega 3 fatty acids, this grain gives 4g of fiber per 2 TBS. It can be added to smoothies, yogurt, and is also a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. You can either choose the whole seed varieties and grind it yourself, or buy the ground version.

Bottom line: The more processed a food is the less fiber it usually has. Choose whole grain over refined versions whenever possible, and read the back of nutrition labels to check fiber content. Whenever you see “100% whole wheat flour” as the first ingredient, fiber is kept intact. Ingredients indicative of more processed versions include “white flour”, “wheat flour” and “enriched flour” – in these versions, the wheat and bran have been removed, which is what provides the fiber. Maintaining an adequate fiber intake is essential to good health – practice these tips at home to up your own intake.

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