Fiber: 3 simple ways to get more of it in your diet
If your doctor didn’t give you this advice at your last checkup, she probably should have: 97 percent of Americans don’t get the recommended daily amount of dietary fiber they need to stay healthy. But what is fiber, and why is it good for you?
Dietary fiber, sometimes called “roughage,” is a plant-based carbohydrate found in fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains such as rice and wheat. Our bodies have a difficult time digesting fiber, which is actually a good thing — as fiber passes through the body undigested, it does a lot of good along the way!
Fiber has many proven health benefits. It has been shown to improve heart health, lower cholesterol, control blood sugar, decrease the risk of stroke, help you feel fuller longer, prevent constipation and boost digestive health and your immune system.
Experts like the Food and Drug Administration recommend we consume about 28 grams of fiber each day — which, it turns out, is a lot of food. Here are three ways to include more fiber in your diet.
Eat whole grains
Whole grains like whole wheat breads, cereals, oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa are an excellent source of dietary fiber. There are a number of ways to add whole grains to your favorite meals. Start your day with whole grain cereal to boost your fiber intake at breakfast or bulk up your baking by substituting whole-grain flour for half or all of your recipe’s white flour.
Check your food label
The FDA has approved seven ingredients that can be taken as supplements or added to food to boost the amount of dietary fiber they contain. One of those ingredients is cellulose gel, or microcrystalline cellulose. Cellulose gel is derived from cellulose, an essential component of fruits, vegetables and trees. In fact, it is the most abundant organic compound on Earth! Cellulose gel offers the same great health benefits as the dietary fiber found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and can be found in foods such as yogurt, cereal bars and protein shakes.
Add nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great way to add more fiber to your diet and improve heart health. Better yet, nuts and seeds make for a satisfying on-the-go snack! Add a small handful of nuts to your morning smoothie or homemade trail mix or top your soup or salad with a handful of seeds to add extra fiber and healthy fats to your everyday diet.
To learn more about cellulose gel and other food ingredients that make our favorite foods better for us, visit www.foodsciencematters.com.
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