lunes, 13 de mayo de 2013

Practical tips to eat more fiber

Keep in mind that fiber is only found in food from plants, such as fruit and vegetables, wholegrain bread, oats, brown rice and pasta, beans, peas and lentils... So if you want to increase your fiber intake you have to eat more of this kind of foods and less animal products.

Here are some easy ways to increase fiber:
  • As a general rule, include at least one serving of whole grain in every meal. For exemple oatmeal porridge in the breakfast, whole-grain pasta, rice or bread in the lunch and the dinner, and popcorns as snacks.
  • Buy packaged grain products with ‘whole’ stated on the ingredients label. You should read “whole” in the grain or flour name of the first 3 ingredients.
  • Keep a jar of oat bran or wheat germ handy. Sprinkle over salad, soup, breakfast cereals and yogurt.
  • Try a new whole grain breakfast cereal. Look on the label for cereals with the highest amount of fiber per serving. They must have at least 6 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Snack on a ready-to-eat, whole-grain cereal.
  • Add whole-grain flour or oatmeal when making cookies or other baked treats.
  • Substitute a whole-grain product for a refined product, such as eating whole-wheat bread instead of white bread or brown rice instead of white rice. If the rice switch is hard to make, start by mixing them together (but start cooking first the brown rice because it needs some more time to get cooked).
  • Add kidney beans, garbanzos or other bean varieties to your salads. Experiment with international dishes (such as Indian or Middle Eastern) that use whole grains and legumes as part of the main meal or in salads.
  • Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Fresh fruit is slightly higher in fiber than canned. Leave the skin on fruits, such as apples and pears, and on vegetables, such as potatoes or courgettes
  • Eat whole fruits instead of drinking juices. Juices don't have fiber.
  • Add dried fruits to your cereals, salads... they have a higher amount of fiber than the fresh versions.
Note: ‘Wheat flour’ and ‘enriched flour’ are not whole grains.

The good news is that the development of new fiber ingredients and improvements in food formulations have improved the taste of fiber-containing processed foods, so the taste is not a problem (or a excuse...) anymore. Check out for this names in the ingredients label: inulin, polydextrose, and oligofructose. They enhance the inherent fiber content of certain foods or they can be added to foods that typically don't contain fiber in order to increase the fiber content.

Caution: If you don't drink enough water on a high-fiber diet you may develop abdominal pain and constipation.


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