For The Love of Fiber
By Donna Stark
Maintaining healthy habits is important and it's usually not too hard to understand why. In fact, there is rarely any confusion over why sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet are needed for the body to be able to function at an optimal level ... well, unless you are a young child. Then you might need some extra convincing. But really, most people know that to avoid serious consequences to their health, a certain lifestyle must be followed.
A big component of maintaining your overall wellness is your consumption of a healthy diet. Sure, you have already heard all you need to hear about why vegetables and fruit are good for you, why too many carbs may not be, and why you should avoid refined sugar as much as possible, right? You may even have heard that getting the recommended amount of fiber is good for you too, but do you know why ... besides the very obvious?
The Other Reasons for Choosing High-Fiber Foods
Fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains all contain fiber and should be a huge component of a healthy eating plan. Here's why.
- Fiber helps to regulate blood sugar levels - Fiber slows the rate that sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream and helps to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Fiber may help prevent heart disease - Fiber found in items such as beans, oats, and flaxseed may help reduce "bad" cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and inflammation
- Fiber helps to maintain weight - High-fiber foods tend to be more filling, so you are more likely to eat less and feel full longer
Adding Fiber to Your Diet
Whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables are all great sources of fiber so be sure to include them in your diet as much as possible. Here are some simple ideas on how to add more to your meals.
- Choose a high-fiber cereal for breakfast
- Blend high-fiber fruit such as bananas, mangoes, strawberries, or raspberries into a smoothie
- Top cereal, pancakes, or desserts with fiber-rich fruits
- Switch to whole-grain bread
- Mix in some oats to meatloaf, bread, or other baked goods
- Substitute whole-grain flour for white flour
- Add some extra beans into your next salad or soup
- Use spinach in place of lettuce as a sandwich filler
- Toss some fiber-rich veggies such as carrots, broccoli, and spinach into your pasta or stir-fry recipes
Add Fiber Gradually
High-fiber foods are good for your health, but adding too much, too quickly can cause some discomfort, so take your time! Increase the amount in your diet gradually, over a period of a few weeks, and don't forget to drink plenty of water.
It's easy to add fiber to your diet and be extremely budget-friendly. And now that you know why fiber is important, you may feel encouraged to start thinking about new ways to spruce up your meals!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Sunset Hills, Mo.