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Eating a diet high in fiber has been shown to have many health benefits such as lowering the risk for diabetes and maintaining blood sugar levels. The daily recommendations for fiber are 25 to 30 grams from food. Adding fiber to your diet doesn’t have to be boring, Dr. Cohen-Lewe, Family Medicine at NorthShore, shares his top five tips on how to add fiber to your daily meals.
Start your day with fiber. Eat a large bowl of oatmeal. Add spices, fresh fruit and berries to taste. You can add fresh or dried fruit to your breakfast cereal or as a mid-day snack to add fiber to your diet. Consider eating a non-American breakfast that includes beans and vegetables. Many cultures from around the world have nutritionally superior breakfast traditions compared with the United States.
Eat more fruit. Whether it’s fresh or dried fruit, you can add them to your breakfast cereal, or as a midday healthy snack using fruit can add fiber to your diet. The best options for fibrous fruit are apples, berries, oranges and pears.
Choose whole grain over processed foods. Select whole grains which contain bran, the fiber-rich outer shell of grains, instead of carbohydrates. Whole wheat, barley, oats and rye are all good examples that can be found on food labels. In addition to already made food, using whole grain flours can add fiber to your diet as well.
Drink more water. If you are adding fiber to your diet it is important to not only introduce fiber slowly, but also drink enough water. A high-fiber diet can help alleviate ailments such as constipation. However, if you are not drinking enough, water can cause more stomach pain as fiber pulls water in places such as the intestines.
Eat nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds provide flavor, healthy fats and fiber to your diet, so adding them into your daily snacks or meals can help increase your daily fiber intake. A handful of nuts on a daily basis is associated with better health.
Before starting a new diet it is always important to consult your physician or nutritionist first.