Because of the fact that so many of us spend our days rushing around from one obligation to the next, the unfortunate truth is that many of us tend to overlook certain nutritional staples. Insoluble and soluble fiber (the stuff that keeps us going) is one of the most easily disregarded nutrients. We may rush around, bouncing from work to the store to the drycleaners to the post office before realizing, “Hey! I haven’t ‘gone’ in two days!” While it may seem a little funny, fiber is no laughing matter. Not only does this nutrient keep us regular, diets rich in fiber may prevent serious health conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, and stroke1.
So how do we get the fiber we need throughout the day?
Most plant-based foods contain a combination of both soluble and insoluble fiber. It is extremely important that we get a significant dose of both types of fiber on a daily basis. Insoluble fiber is not broken down or changed at all once it enters the body – it stays intact as it makes its way through the colon, helping to prompt the flow of other waste. Soluble fiber, on the other hands, is transformed into a sort of gel once it enters the stomach, aiding in digestion and helping to lower blood glucose and cholesterol1. While getting enough fiber is crucial to maintaining regular bodily function and keeping things regulated, it is also possible to overdo it on fibrous foods. When fiber intake is rapidly and dramatically increased, bloating, gas, and intestinal discomfort are likely to occur.
In order to get just the right amount of fiber into your diet each day, try incorporating some of the following foods – all of which are very high in soluble and insoluble fibers.
Lentils are extremely high in fiber, boasting around 16 grams per cup2. Use lentils to make a classic and hearty soup, or incorporate them into the patty of a mouth-watering veggie burger.
- Black beans
One cup of cooked black beans has about 15 grams of fiber3, making this complex-carb the perfect addition to any stew. Add a cup of black beans to your huevos rancheros, or nosh on a cup topped with guacamole and sour cream as an ideal post-workout snack.
A cup of raw raspberries has a whopping 8 grams of fiber3. Add some to your morning oatmeal, or simply eat a handful or two on the go for a delicious and easy fiber boost.
Shooting in fiber-wise only slightly below raspberries, blackberries boast around 7.6 grams per cup3. Blackberries are a great treat straight from the carton, and also add a delicious topping for pancakes, yogurt, cereal, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
This super-food doesn’t stop at omega-3 fatty acids – each half avocado contains about 7 grams of fiber4. Pile avocado on top of salads, burgers, or breakfast dishes for a whopping dose of healthy-fats, vitamins, and fiber.
- Bran flakes
Turn boring bran flakes into a breakfast parfait, or add some blackberries and honey to your bowl of cereal for added fiber and flavor. Each cup serving of bran flakes contains 7 grams of filling fiber, and will work to keep you satisfied up until lunch.
Adding fiber to your daily diet regime takes little effort, and you are sure to notice the payoff in a short amount of time! Conscious eating is happy eating, and a little fiber goes a long way.
Yours in good health,