Fiber’s good. Foods that are high in fiber help the gastrointestinal tract, promote good digestion and reduce diarrhea and constipation. Yet the average American gets only half the recommended intake of daily fiber. And tummy trouble ensues.
Granted, it’s hard to eat healthy. The demands of life and hectic schedules we face make it easier to snag a burger with fries than to cook a well-crafted meal. Digestion is a finicky beast, and doesn’t take well to much of the food that we cram down our throat. Solutions? Get fiber.
The foods you’ll find in this article are packed with fiber and blend well in a busy work day. Sprinkle these foods in your daily ritual, and your digestion will thank you.
Whole Grains – Start your day with fiber. Whole grain cereals and oatmeal are among the best sources of fiber you’ll find, with at least three grams per serving. And feel free to add fruit for an extra burst – you’re shooting for 38 grams of fiber each day if you’re a man, and 25 grams for the ladies.
There’s Fiber in Fruit – Speaking of fruit, eat lots of ’em, and don’t be afraid to stray from the ordinary. An Asian pear for example packs a fiber-crazy 9.9 grams a pop. Berries are also good, with raspberries at 4 grams per half cup, and bananas at a respectable 2.5 grams each.
Eat Those Vegetables – Hope you listened to your parents when they told you to clean up on the veggies – artichokes, spinach, corn and potatoes are great sources of fiber, and all vegetables have at least one to two grams per serving. For maximum fiber, sneak veggies in sandwiches and soups, and as with fruit, feel free to experiment. Ever heard of jicama? Look it up.
Dried Fruit – Prunes get the glory as the digestion aid of choice for regular bowel movements and relief from constipation. But dried figs and dates, raisins and apricots are also great sources of fiber and make a great mid-afternoon snack. They also go well with cereals and whole grains. Fiber central.
Beans – Oh beans, the most under-appreciated sources of high fiber and protein, when will they ever get the respect they deserve? Beans are so healthy you can safely swap them for your weekly meat intake. They’re lower in fat and blend well with soups, stews, rice and pasta. Just wash them down with water to avoid constipation and gas.
Peas and Legumes – Similar to beans in nutritional content, peas and legumes are likewise excellent sources of fiber, with lots of protein and low levels of fat. Lentils cook quickly and go great in stews, and you can cook chickpeas and serve them with salad or grind them up for hummus. Heck, chickpeas are so healthy you can eat them uncooked right out of the can as a main course.
Nuts and Seeds – Fear not the calories and high fat content in nuts and seeds. They’re loaded with fiber and will leave you feeling so full that many dieticians tout almonds as an aid for weight loss. Drop them in yogurts and salads, or pack a handful in your lunch bag for a healthy snack.
Whole Grains for Dinner – Did you start your day with fiber? Then finish it the same way. Switch nutritionally void white rice for brown and try whole grain noodles the next time you cook pasta. Also, quinoa and millet are great sources of protein and fiber, and you’ll feel full after dinner. Your digestion will like you too.