We are always hearing we need to have a balanced diet, right? Well, as important as it is to eat carbohydrates, protein and fats; a very important part of having a balanced diet is to consume fiber. There are 2 types of fiber in foods: soluble and insoluble. Both of them are equally important for our health. They help us have a healthy digestion and to prevent certain diseases. Soluble fiber helps us reduce low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, which is the “bad cholesterol”. Products such as legumes, peas and apples contain soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber promotes a healthy digestion because it speeds the transition of foods in the gut. Examples of foods containing insoluble fiber are oats and wheat bran.
The recommended intake of fiber is 10 to 25 grams a day. Even though it seems like a lot, it could be accomplished quite easily. The key is to start increasing your fiber rich foods intake by incorporating them little by little in every meal. In addition, it is important that you increase your fluids consumption as well to prevent stomach discomfort and gas forming.
Don’t know how to start incorporating more fiber in your diet? No problem! Here are some easy tips:
- Add fiber to foods you already consume:
- Sprinkle your cereal with some wheat bran.
- Add almonds to your salad.
- Add some legumes in your soups.
- Add some flax seeds to your bread or cereal.
- Eat whole fruits instead of just drinking their juice.
- Choose from vegetables high in fiber like Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, broccoli, eggplant, carrots, potato (with skin) green peas and artichoke.
- Eat more whole grain products, especially those containing oats and barley.
- Make a wholesome sandwich for lunch with whole wheat bread and vegetables.
- Have some delicious fiber rich fruit for snack like banana, orange, raspberries, and raisins.
Remember that creating a healthy habit takes time and dedication. Start by incorporating one healthy and fiber rich food to your diet at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many changes at once! Plan your meals ahead. And always remember that goal setting is the key for successHappy eating everyone!