high-fiber, multi-grain bread

Fiber: How (and Why) To Incorporate More Into Your Diet

Does thinking about fiber conjure up ads for supplements for constipated old men? It might seem like it isn’t something you, a healthy, active young person, needs to worry about. However, fiber is critical to your digestive health, lowers cholesterol, supports weight loss, and reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Unfortunately, chances are: you’re not getting enough of it.

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults eat 22-34 grams of fiber per day, but only 10% of women and 3% of men are actually meeting the standard. The average American adult eats 16 grams of fiber a dayIf you don’t eat as many vegetables as you should, if you eat out a lot, or if you eat a lot of processed foods, you are very likely not getting enough. Here are a few simple swaps you can make to help increase your fiber intake.

Vegetables

  • Focus on getting enough vegetables. Adults should be eating two to four cups per day of vegetables. A cup of broccoli contains about 3 grams of fiber, while a cup of kale contains about 1.5 grams. Total gain: Up to 12 grams.

Beans & Lentils

  • Swap out some animal proteins for legumes. Beans, peas, and lentils are great sources of protein and fiber. One cup of beans contains anywhere from 12 to 19 grams of fiber! A cup of lentils contains about 15 grams, and a cup of peas about 9 grams. Try burritos, a side of peas at dinner, or make a delicious vegetarian lentil curry to really boost your nutritional intake. Total gain: Up to 19 grams.

Bread

  • Switch to high-fiber, whole-grain bread. Whole wheat bread tends to have several more grams than white bread, and it’s much more filling because of it. You can use it to boost your sandwich’s nutritional value. Total gain: 2-5 grams per slice.

Oatmeal

  • Try bran cereal or oatmeal for breakfast. That will give you at least 5 grams, depending on how much of it you eat. Total gain: Up to 10 grams.

Fruits

  • Snack on high-fiber fruits. Skip the sugar-laden cereal bars and eat a cup of blackberries (7 grams), raspberries (8 grams), a pear (6 grams), or an apple (4.5 grams). Total gain: Up to 8 grams.

Eating fiber is crucial to maintaining long-term health. And as you can see, it’s not that hard to get enough. Making just a couple of these changes in your diet can significantly increase your fiber intake and boost your nutrition

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