You probably know that it’s a good idea to eat more fibre. But do you know why?
Fibre is found in plant-based foods. It adds volume to your diet, but passes through the intestines quickly because the body can’t digest it. That’s why fibre can make you feel full faster and prevent constipation. It may also help lower your cholesterol level and reduce your risk for heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women should get 25g of fibre every day and men, 38g. Yet only 5% of Americans meet this guideline.
With a little effort, you can reach this healthful goal by eating a variety of fibre-rich foods rather than depending on supplements. That’s a good idea because you also get the foods’ other nutrients – vitamins, minerals and more.
1. Eat vegetables
Vegetables are a major source of fibre, some more than others. These include leafy, raw greens, and cruciferous ones like broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Depending on the veggie, you can enjoy it raw or cooked. Legumes like lentils, dried peas and all manner of beans are other good sources of fibre; many even pack in some protein, making them a great substitution for meat.
2. Incorporate nuts and seeds into your diet
Nuts and seeds also add fibre to your diet. Just watch quantities since they’re very kilojoule-dense.
3. Eat fresh and dried fruit
Put fresh and dried fruit on your list, too. Apples and pears with the skin are good choices. Also try raisins and prunes.
4. Don’t shy away from cereal
Hot cereal like oatmeal and cold cereal like bran flakes provide good amounts of fibre. And, of course, don’t forget whole wheat bread and pastas, bran muffins, brown rice and even popcorn.
However, ramping up your fibre intake too quickly can cause gas and bloating.
So if you’re looking to fill up on fibre, experts say start slowly and gradually increase the amount every day.