Dietary fiber which is found in grains, fruit and vegetables and other fiber rich foods is very important in a healthy diet.
Fiber adds bulk which makes the body feel full and helps in controlling weight. Fiber rich foods which are eaten help the body to digest food. These foods also help to reduce the risk of constipation.
Fiber is in the following foods - fruit and vegetable, nuts, beans and whole grains. If the fiber is increased quickly this can result in suffering from cramps, bloating and gas, so any increase in fiber rich foods should be done over a gradual period.
Fiber in the diet can also reduce the chance of type 2 diabetes developing and helps to reduce cholesterol levels. Fiber rich foods reduce the rate sugar is absorbed and by doing so helps to improve blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. Fiber may help if used in a healthy eating plan to lose weight.
Choose fruit and vegetables, dried beans, peas, wholegrain products to increase the level of fiber in the diet. The following are all high in fiber:
It is best to get the fiber from foods rather than fiber supplements. Some people may have to take a supplement if they suffer from particular medical conditions e.g. irritable bowel syndrome.
To eat more fiber rich foods begin the day with a breakfast cereal that is high in fiber. Bran products can be used crushed on salads, vegetables or casseroles and also cakes, cookies and muffins.
Eat bread that is whole grain and has whole wheat or another whole grain listed on the label showing ingredients. Try to use a brand that has a minimum of 2gms of dietary fiber in each serving. Instead of using white flour when baking bread change to whole grain flour. Increase the amount of whole grains and whole grain products such as bulgur, whole wheat pasta and brown rice. Add chopped frozen broccoli into a spaghetti sauce and when snacking eat baby carrots. Also increase lentils, peas and beans and add kidney beans to soup or a salad. Make nachos using refried black beans and tortilla chips with a salsa.
Have fruit at every meal. Good sources of fiber are berries, pears, oranges, apples and bananas. Whole grain crackers, raw vegetables, dried fruit are excellent snacks to have.
Eating too much fiber in the diet can cause problems which may include cramps, abdominal bloating and intestinal gas. It is recommended to increase the fiber in your diet over a gradual period of a couple of weeks. Drink plenty of water on a daily basis as this helps the fiber regulate the body.
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