How Much Dietary Fiber Do You Need? continued...
Don’t worry about what kind of fiber you are taking in unless you are seeking a specific health benefit, such as eating more soluble fiber to lower cholesterol. Instead, focus on eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. This will provide a variety of soluble and insoluble fibers and all of the health benefits.
As you increase the fiber in your diet, you may experience more intestinal gas. Increasing fiber gradually will allow your body to adapt. Because some fibers absorb water, you should also drink more water as you increase fiber.
Tips to Get More Fiber in Your Diet
Meeting dietary fiber goals can be a challenge, especially if you’re used to eating lots of processed and refined foods. Use these tips to help work more fiber in your diet:
- Eat more whole fruit instead of fruit juice.
- Read labels. Look for the word "whole” before any grains on the ingredient list and check the number of grams of dietary fiber on the nutrition facts panel of packages to select high-fiber foods.
- Start your day with a bowl of bran or other high-fiber cereal that contains at least five grams of fiber per serving.
- Snack on raw vegetables.
- Add legumes, seeds, and nuts into soups, salads, and stews.
- Replace refined white bread, pasta, and rice with whole-grain products.
- Eat a vegetarian meal at least once a week.
Fiber supplements can also help you meet your fiber needs. But experts warn that the health benefits of supplements have not been studied as extensively as dietary fibers and may not have the same effect as fiber in foods.