Most adults in the United States only eat 15 grams of fiber a day, which is nowhere near the recommended amount of 28 grams per day. So why is fiber such an important part of our diets? According to the Mayo Clinic there are many health benefits to eating foods rich in fiber.
- Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool.
- Helps maintain bowel health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon. Researchers are looking at how this may play a role in preventing diseases of the colon.
- Lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that high-fiber foods may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
- Helps control blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, fiber — particularly soluble fiber — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Aids in achieving healthy weight. High-fiber foods tend to be more filling than low-fiber foods, so you’re likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer. And high-fiber foods tend to take longer to eat and to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food. (Source: Mayo Clinic)
So how do you incorporate more fiber in your diet? Check out these 7 high fiber fruits for breakfast. You could also try this delicious high fiber hot cereal in the morning, topped with bananas and fresh berries. Each serving (1 cup of cereal, one banana, 1/2 cup blueberries) has 10 grams of fiber!
Warm Whole Grain Cereal
- 1/2 cup barley
- 1/2 cup wheat berries
- 1/2 steel cut oats
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 1/2 ts salt
- 6 cups of water
Combine all the ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for 3 hours. Top with fresh fruit and agave or maple syrup if desired.