You Probably Need to Boost Your Fiber Intake. Here’s How:
Unfortunately the standard American diet (SAD for short) is woefully deficient in fiber – an undigestible form of plant-carbohydrate that we now know plays a huge role in broad spectrum disease protection including promoting gastrointestinal health, aiding in maintenance of a healthy body weight along with reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, many cancers and type 2 diabetes.
The average American consumes about 12 grams daily – while studies show intakes of 30 or more grams are optimal. Medical anthropologists report that our hunter-gatherer, Paleolithic ancestors consumed massive amounts (up to 100 grams/day) of fiber because of their dependence on the dietary staples of the times namely leafy greens, legumes, nuts, berries, roots and seeds. You could say that our robust requirement for fiber is “built into our genes” thanks to the Paleo diet. My best advice for boosting fiber intake includes:
- Consuming 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, Brussel sprouts, sweet potato, okra and winter squash.
- Eat more beans – strive for one serving daily. Measure 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) part of your daily breakfast. There are at least 50 varieties/brands now available that fit the bill. Personally, my breakfast of choice includes: 1 cup mixed fruit usually berries/apples (7 grams fiber), ½ cup high fiber cereal (5 grams fiber), ½ cup of Stoneyfield Farm plain yogurt (2 grams fiber) and 2 tablespoons of wheat germ (2 grams fiber).
- Substitute 100% whole grain breads, crackers etc for their refined counterparts – There are zillions of brands available now. Read the ingredients labels! Check out the latest 100% whole grain crackers – many have 3 grams of fiber per serving.
- Choose multigrain pasta over regular. I love the taste of Barilla Plus.
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