Boosting Your Fiber Intake
Fiber has a long list of health benefits. Here are the best ways to get more of this special compound in your daily diet.
- Consume as many fruits and veggies as possible. The superstars for fiber content include: berries (raspberries #1), snow peas, apples, canned tomato products, pumpkin, cauliflower, avocado, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, okra and winter squash.
- Eat more beans – strive for one serving daily. Measures for measure, beans provide more fiber than any other food (about 3-4x more than fruits/veggies). All of them are fiber superstars so choose what you enjoy the most. Don’t forget about bean dips like hummus which are delicious!
- Make a high fiber cereal (at least 5 grams per serving) a part of your daily breakfast. There are at least 30 varieties/brands now available that fit the bill. Personally, one of my breakfasts of choice includes: 1 cup mixed – fruit usually berries/apples (7 grams fiber), ½ cup high fiber cereal (5 grams fiber), ½ cup of Greek-style plain yogurt (2 grams fiber) and 2 tablespoons of wheat germ (2 grams fiber).
- Eat physically intact whole grains- brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, barley, farro, etc vs. their refined, processed white counterparts.
- Substitute 100% whole grain breads, crackers etc for their refined counterparts. Numerous brands are available. Check out the newer 100% whole grain crackers – Multigrain Wheat Thins, Triscuits, Ak-mak, Kashi Heart to Heart ect. Many provide 3 grams of fiber per serving.
- Choose multigrain pasta over regular. I love the taste of Barilla Plus.
- Include more physically intact whole grains—brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, barley, farro, black rice, etc.
To get the most health and metabolic benefits from the fiber you eat, you need to have an abundance of good bacteria residing in your colon. Here are the key strategies for establishing and maintaining a robust supply of fat-fighting beneficial gut bacteria.
- Eat an abundance of plant-based, high fiber foods as noted above. Good bacteria “feed” off of fiber and the more real–food fiber you eat, the more good bacteria you will have in your gut. This is THE MOST POWERFUL and EFFECTIVE of all five of these strategies. Honestly, if you do not eat an abundance of fiber, success is IMPOSSIBLE.
- Include probiotic foods regularly in your diet – yogurt, kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi, and any other “fermented” foods that contain live bacteria.
- Do not take antibiotics unless medically indicated. And if you must take an antibiotic, be sure to take a daily probiotic supplement as directed (they are over-the-counter) while you are on the antibiotic and for two full weeks thereafter.
- Get out in nature and get dirty. The soil contains an entire ecosystem of good bacteria. Gardening is highly recommended, especially vegetable gardening!
- Consider a regular, daily supplement of a high quality probiotic. I personally buy Sedona Labs iflora multi-probiotic for my family. (I have no financial relationships with any supplement companies!)
Ready to make real positive changes to your diet? Join Dr. Ann for a live web class on May 5th.
If You Could Only Do ONE Thing to Change Your Diet…Let It Be THIS!