Most people understand the importance of having a high fiber foods in their diet, but do any of us really understand why?
Well, fiber is an important step to keeping your digestion regular, but in reality its benefit goes much further.
Fiber plays a large role in losing weight, as it helps us feel fuller for longer to curb appetite.
Eating more fiber can even cause you to consume less calories throughout the day, as well as maximize your gut health and prevent belly fat gain.
Most vegetables are naturally high in fiber, so if you’re already eating your greens, your fiber count might be in good shape.
Some of the foods with the highest fiber content include peas, squash, broccoli, kale, carrots, Swiss chard, sweet potatoes and corn… all of the foods you know you should be eating a lot of, but probably aren’t.
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According to the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, women should be eating 24 grams of fiber and men should have 38 grams – but most of us aren’t getting nearly enough.
Only about 5% of the population gets the recommended daily fiber intake, so chances are that you need more fiber in your diet.
Change is never easy – especially when it comes to food and diet.
So to simplify things, we turned to the experts to learn how to get more fiber in our lives.
And it’s not as challenging as you may think.
You can increase your fiber intake by adding three new foods into your routine: chia seeds, kiwi fruit and ground flaxseed.
How Eating Chia Seeds Improves Your Fiber Intake
Chia seeds are an ancient whole-grain that come from the Salvia hispanica plant and have origins dating back to the Aztecs and Mayans.
In recent years they have emerged as a popular health food, and for good reason.
But despite their tiny size, chia seeds are loaded with nutrients, including fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and calcium.
Just two tablespoons of chia seeds gives you 11 grams of fiber, four grams of protein and nine grams of omega-3 fatty acids.
This combination of fiber, protein and fat, paired with their ability to absorb and retain water, keeps you feeling full for longer, therefore reducing the likelihood that you will snack or graze later.
And to top it all off, there are only 137 calories per a one-ounce serving!
The Best Way To Eat Chia Seeds
You can add chia seeds to literally every meal of the day.
I recommend adding them to your morning oatmeal, smoothies and even homemade baked goods.
They can also be enjoyed on their own as a gel-like pudding topped with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey, by mixing with water and leaving overnight.
To get the maximum benefits, it’s recommended to have a little less than 2 tablespoons twice per day.
How Eating Kiwi Fruit Improves Your Fiber Intake
Kiwi fruit is an under-rated source of fiber.
They often get recommended to those with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, because they are low in FODMAPs, which are fermentable carbohydrates that can cause uncomfortable digestive symptoms in some.
But in reality, kiwi benefits everyone – not just those with digestive conditions or sensitivities.
On average, one kiwi provides 2.1 grams of fiber, which is 8% of the recommended daily intake for adults.
They are also great sources of vitamin C, other antioxidants, and vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting. All of this is contained in one small package that is less than 45 calories.
The Best Way To Eat Kiwi Fruit
You can simply eat a kiwi on its own, though I have a few better suggestions:
Throw two of these nutrient-powerhouses into your morning smoothie or mix them into a fruit salad.
How Eating Ground Flaxseed Improves Your Fiber Intake
A less common pantry staple, ground flaxseed is a game-changer when it comes to adding more fiber into your diet.
Ground Flaxseed is an excellent source of insoluble fiber, which means it helps promote regularity by absorbing water in the digestive tract and acting as a bulking agent.
Plus, its ratio of fiber to calories is remarkable.
Just one tablespoon of ground flaxseed has nearly two grams of fiber with just 37 calories.
And it also contains protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
The other benefit of insoluble fiber [like ground flaxseed] is that it’s not absorbed by the body, which means that only a fraction of those 37 calories will actually contribute to your energy intake for the day.
The Best Way To Eat Ground Flaxseed
Ground flaxseed has a powdery consistency almost like flour, which can be daunting to many who have never used it before.
Yet I share several ways to incorporate flaxseed into foods you’re already making.
I suggest sprinkling two tablespoons onto the tops of either cereal, oatmeal or smoothies, and you can even use flaxseed as an egg substitute for a high-fiber, vegan friendly way to bake.
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