Eating a diverse variety of natural foods is one of the best things we can do for our bodies. In addition to optimizing the types and amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other valuable nutrients by eating this way, we also increase our chances of getting more fiber into our diets.
According to WebMD, women should aim to get about 25 grams of fiber a day while men should aim for 38 grams. One of the most noticeable benefits of a high-fiber diet includes reduced hunger and cravings due to feeling fuller longer. Improved digestion is another great benefit.
Besides including fruits and veggies at every meal and choosing whole grains whenever possible, there are a few other things you can do to get more fiber-rich foods into your diet. Try a few of the following and you should have no problem hitting your daily fiber goals.
1. Fuel Up on Smoothies
Smoothies are perhaps one of the easiest and most delicious ways to get more fiber. Unlike juicing, which only extracts the juice from fruits and veggies while leaving much of the fibrous portions behind, smoothies involve blending the whole fruit or vegetable so that all fiber is still there. Here are three green smoothie recipes to try out.
2. Add Flax or Chia Seeds to Your Breakfast
Whether you prefer cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, or even a delicious smoothie for breakfast, pumping up the fiber is easy enough to do with the help of some flaxseeds or chia seeds. Just sprinkle them on top or mix them in with all the other ingredients. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 3 grams of fiber while a tablespoon of chia seeds packs about 5.5 grams.
3. Snack on Nuts
Nuts are great sources of healthy fats and protein in addition to a wider variety of healthy vitamins and minerals. Just a handful can easily make a significant difference in your fiber intake for the day at about 7 grams per 100-gram serving of mixed nuts. Almonds, pecans, and walnuts are among the highest in fiber, so go for those if you really want to up your fiber intake.
4. Make Your Own Hummus
Hummus is made from pureed chickpeas, and this powerful little legume packs a whopping 35 grams of fiber per cup. Although you probably won’t be consuming an entire cup of hummus in one sitting, t’s easy enough to make your own in a blender with some chickpeas and a few other ingredients like olive oil and spices. For an even greater fiber boost, you can enjoy your homemade hummus with other fiber-rich veggies like carrots, bell peppers, and celery!
5. Have Half an Avocado a Day
Besides pretty much being the only fruit that offers a healthy dose of monounsaturated fat, half an avocado has about 7 grams of fiber. You can throw it in your smoothie, spread it on toast, chop it into slices to put in a salad, or even mix it with cocoa and your favorite natural sweetener to turn it into a healthier version of chocolate mousse!
Tip: Drink Up!
As you work on increasing your fiber intake using some of the helpful hints above, remember to balance it out by drinking lots of water. Too much fiber without enough water can slow things down and cause digestive issues for some people, so make sure you’re hydrating regularly throughout the day as you snack on all your favorite healthy, high-fiber foods.