The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that more than 90% of people don’t get the recommended daily intake of fiber. This article will discuss fiber’s health benefits, food sources, and simple ways to increase fiber intake. We also provide five fiber-rich snack options.
Fiber Health Benefits
Non-digestible carbohydrate carbohydrates found in many plant foods are called dietary fiber. High-fiber diets have been proven to have many health advantages, including reducing the risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, and obesity, managing blood sugar levels, and positively affecting cholesterol. For those who are trying to lose weight, diet fiber is an important nutrient. It helps in satisfying your hunger and makes you feel fuller after eating.
Some dietary fibers can also be prebiotics. This means they feed the probiotics (good bacteria) that make up your gut microbiome. It has been demonstrated that the gut microbiome can influence many body processes, including energy production, mood, immunity, and energy production. A greater diversity of microbiomes has been linked to better health outcomes. The research found that people who eat 30 or greater varieties of plants per week have a more diverse microbiome compared to those who eat 10 or fewer. This goes beyond fruits and vegetables. It also includes legumes, whole grains, and nuts.
Although dietary fiber has many health benefits, athletes need to be cautious about consuming it close to training. It can cause GI upset if taken too soon after a workout. Athletes should limit their intake of fiber (and fats) within the first 1-2 hours before training.
Food Sources of Fiber and Simple Ways to Increase Your Intake
For women, the recommended daily fiber intake is at least 25g and for men at least 38g. All plant foods, including whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, as well as seeds, nuts, seeds, and legumes, contain dietary fiber. There are many ways to increase fiber intake throughout the day, even though different foods have different fiber contents.
Include Fruits and Vegetables
Try to include at least one fruit or vegetable in every meal and snack. There are many fiber-rich foods. Some examples include strawberries, avocados, butternut squash, and collard greens. You can also get your daily vitamin and mineral requirements met by including fruits and vegetables in all meals.
Flax and chia seeds, which are rich in nutrients, are very flavorless. This makes them great for adding to snacks or meals without altering the taste. They are great to be added to yogurt, oatmeal, and smoothies.
Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats are high in fiber as well as many other essential vitamins, and minerals, such as sprouted grain bread, and quinoa.
Add Chickpeas, Beans, or Lentils to Your Meals
A cup of cooked beans and lentils has approximately 15 grams of fiber. You can add them to soups and stir-fries, as well as salads and grain bowls.
5 Snacks that Contain 5 Grams Or More Of Fiber
Here are five high-fiber snack ideas that you can use to increase your fiber intake.
- Sprouted grain bread with half an avocado and a hard-boiled egg.
- Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup raspberries, 1 T chia seeds, and Greek yogurt
- Whole-grain crackers, chopped veggies, and 1/4 cup hummus
- Fruit and protein smoothie (1 banana; 1/2 cup berries; protein powder, 1 T flaxseed).
- 1/2 cup edamame mixed with an apple