Fiber is an essential requisite for the body. It helps in the absorption of nutrients and chemicals. Though it is present in nature in wide variety only a small miniscule can be ingested by the humans. It is tough to digest and so excess of fibers also causes constipation. The main sources of fibers are vegetables and fruits and the best way to take them is raw. Fibers have many health benefits like lowering the blood cholesterol level and regulating the blood sugar. It speeds the passage of digestion and so when present in the body in adequate amount it alleviates constipation. Doctors recommend an intake of 35 grams of dietary fibers everyday for adults but due to overindulgence in refined and processed foods, the intake is significantly less. Read on to know how to increase the fiber in your diet.
Ways To Increase Fiber In Diet
- Increase the intake of fiber slowly as a sudden increase can cause constipation. Set a period of three to four weeks and gradually go on increasing the fiber content in your diet.
- Plants are the richest source of fiber. So, cut down on meat and dairy products and include a lot of vegetables and fruits. Also, remember that different types of fibers do different functions in the body and so consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is essential.
- Avoid processed foods as the fiber content is depleted through processing. Instead, go for the high fiber alternative. So, instead of white bread you can include whole grain bread. Likewise, instead of cakes, biscuits, sweets, you can go for dried fruit, nuts, raw carrots, celery etc. it is always better to take fiber in the natural form.
- If you are buying commercial food products then note the amount of fiber content in the food and buy those that are rich in it.
- If you are suffering from a health disorder that requires low fiber diet then you must check with your physician before adding fiber.
- Pregnant and breast feeding women and also people with low appetite should not take raw bran though it is rich in fiber. This is because raw bran increases the depletion of calcium, iron, and zinc from the body. However, those with an excellent diet should have no problem with it.
- When the intake of fiber is increased then it is vital that the fluid level of the body must also be increased. Drinking a minimum of eight glasses of water is essential.
- Foods that are rich in fiber do not add many calories but satisfy the hunger. Such foods are mostly vegetables and fruits and these should be a permanent addition to your diet.
Fiber Rich Fruits And Vegetables
Apples, Beans, Berries, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Cauliflower, Figs, Oranges, Pears, Peas, Prunes, Soybeans, Barley, Oats.
Other Good Sources Of Fiber
Bran muffins, Brown rice, Multi-grain cereals, Oatmeal, Popcorn, Whole-wheat bread.
The daily diet should consist of at least 2 cups of fruits and 2 ½ cups of vegetables. Some of the fiber rich foods and the amount of fiber they contain are:
Beans such as navy beans 1/2 cup = 9.5 grams, kidney beans 1/2 cup = 8.2 grams, pinto beans 1/2 cup = 7.7 grams, black beans 1/2 cup = 7.5, lima beans 1/2 cup = 6.6 grams and white beans 1/2 cup = 6.3 grams.
Artichokes 1 artichoke = 6.5 grams
Sweet potatoes 1 medium sweet potato = 4.8 grams
Pears I small pear = 4.4 grams
Green peas 1/2 cup = 4.4 grams
Berries such as raspberries 1/2 cup = 4.0 grams and blackberries 1/2 cup = 3.8 grams
Prunes 1/2 cup = 3.8 grams
Figs and dates 1/4 cup = 3.6 grams
Spinach 1/2 cup = 3.5 grams
Apples 1 medium apple = 3.3 grams
Oranges 1 medium orange = 3.1 grams
The daily diet should consist of:
- A fruit or a vegetable salad.
- Have the whole fruit instead of drinking juice.
- The skins of apples and pears should be eaten.
- The potato peels are also a good source of fibers and so include these in your diet.
- Take whole grained bread instead of refined white bread.
- Have more of vegetable stews and soups.
- Have dried fruits regularly.
- Have a plate of baked bean as a side dish.