I bet when most people hear the word ‘fiber’ they think of bran cereals, prunes, and wheat germ—items that essentially don’t bring much excitement to the palate—and, honestly, it’s not hard to understand such an association. Those types of foods are precisely what the general public is directed towards when fiber is referenced in the media and that leads many people to take a pass on this misunderstood element—what a mistake!
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for fiber is 20-25 grams per day (or about 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables), but the more you can squeeze into your diet, the better (personally I manage to intake 45-50 grams per day). That said, I would caution anyone against starting off with too much fiber if your body isn’t use to such high quantities as it might cause you to spend a little more time in the loo (or potty) than you are comfortable.
That said, the types of foods you can find fiber in aren’t just the obvious ones named at the outset but other less mentioned foods as well. Raspberries, apples, celery, pears, cabbage, broccoli, beans, whole grain breads and pastas, oranges, bananas, cauliflower, and avocados (although be careful here as avocados are also extremely high in fat) are all good sources of fiber and can easily be incorporated into your daily diet.
Fiber’s purpose is simple: it helps you feel full (which means you eat less and lose weight) and aids in maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Furthermore, anytime you resolve to add more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet, you can be assured of also reaping other health benefits as well—i.e. lowering cholesterol, decreasing your risk of heart disease and certain types of cancers, and lowering blood sugar levels (a factor that is of great importance to those who struggle with diabetes).
Never underestimate the value of fiber in helping you to both maintain and attain a healthy body weight. Start finding ways to make this element a more prominent part of your diet and see what a difference it can make. Below are just a few suggestions on how you might do so:
- Sprinkle blueberries or raspberries over your pancakes or waffles.
- Eat an apple a day. It truly does keep the doctor at bay.
- Sprinkle a 1/2 cup of bran cereal into your yogurt (that’s nearly 15 grams of fiber!)
- Double up on salads and vegetables at dinner and lunch—skip the rice (unless it’s brown).
- Like pasta? Skip the white pasta and make a b-line for the whole grain variety.
- Almonds are not only a healthy snack, but they also offer 3 grams of fiber per serving.
Lastly, when increasing your intake of fiber, be mindful to also do the same with your water intake. Fiber can be a real drag if there isn’t anything to help dissolve and flush it out of your system. 8-12 cups a day is the RDA but, as with fiber, too much water is not necessarily a bad thing.