There are a host of benefits to eating a diet high in fiber. Besides making you feel full, a high-fiber diet can help lower cholesterol levels, decrease your risk of colon cancer, and help prevent and treat constipation.
Different foods have different kinds of fiber, therefore, it is important to eat a variety of foods containing fiber. Foods to add to your diet include:
- Beans and legumes, which are high in fiber and protein
- Breads and cereals, which can be high in fiber as long as the grains are whole (Look for "whole-grain" and not just "whole wheat," which often refers to the ingredient.)
- Fruits and vegetables, especially the skin, which is typically the highest-fiber portion; that is why you want to opt for whole fruit instead of fruit juice
When adding fiber to your diet, read food labels to determine the amount of fiber in a serving size, and then gradually increase your daily fiber intake to 20-35 grams. As you increase your fiber intake, be sure to increase the amount of water you drink to avoid constipation.
- Eat the skin of cleaned fruits and vegetables, such as apples, tomatoes, peaches, pears and potatoes
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables instead of drinking juice
- Opt for whole grain breads, such as 100% whole wheat, rye bread and bran muffins
- Choose bran, oat or whole wheat cereals (either dry or cooked) with at least 2 grams of fiber per serving
- Use lentils and dried peas in soup
- Substitute at least some of the white flour in baking recipes with whole wheat flour (You’ll need to increase liquid in the recipe by 1-2 tablespoons per cup of wheat flour when substituting for white flour.)
- Eat brown rice and whole wheat pasta
- Add raisins, dried fruit or nuts to your favorite cereal