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How to Get More Fiber in Your Diet Self-Help Advice

Written by Paul Wolf

You know it's good for you, and yet you don't eat nearly enough of it. No more excuses. Here's five simple ways to get more fiber in your diet.

High fiber diets have been found to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as the risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes.

In other words, it's good for you. Yet many of us neglect to get the recommended 20 to 35 grams of fiber we need each day.

This, despite the fact that every unprocessed plant food we put in our mouths has fiber in it. So why do we have so much trouble getting enough? The answer is simple: We rely too much on processed food.

 
Andrew Weil on Wellness and Happiness
There are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble.
Wholegrain breads and cereals are prime examples of insoluble fiber.
Fruits, vegetables, dry beans and legumes are examples of soluble fiber sources.
Insoluble fiber can help you to eat less because it gives you a full feeling more quickly.
To get the full benefit from fruits and vegetables, leave the skin on (where appropriate).
Increase your fiber intake gradually to avoid diarrhea. 
 
Here are five simple ways to get adequate fiber in your diet.

1. Frequent the produce section.

Park your cart and plan to stay a while. All the best fibrous stuff is here: Fresh fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, dried fruit and roasted nuts, corn on the cob (usually classified as a grain), and tubers like potatoes and yams.

2. Reduce your reliance on processed foods.

Read the labels on packaged products. Avoid cereals made with milled flours in favor of high-fiber cereals. And be sure you aren't getting more white flour, enriched flour, sugar, or corn syrup than whole-grain flour, wheat bran or oat bran.

3. Switch to whole-grain breads and pastas.

If you fill up on processed starch, you will have less room for salads, beans (a fiber powerhouse), vegetables and whole grains. If you don't want to cut back on bread and pasta, switch to whole grain or multigrain bread and whole-wheat pasta whenever possible.

4. Make fiber convenient.

Having trouble picturing yourself slicing carrots and celery at work? Do it ahead of time. Make a mental note to stash a piece of fruit or two in your briefcase or purse.

Packaged figs and prunes are loaded with fiber and are easy to eat on the go. Because they store well without refrigeration, they'll be good even after you return to work from a long weekend.

5. Make snacks an opportunity for fiber.

While they are relatively high in fat, peanuts are a fibrous treat. If fat grams scare you, opt for fresh popcorn, which has an amazing five to seven grams of fiber per serving. Finally, if your snacking sensibilities lean toward the sweet rather than the savory, you haven't lived until you've tried frozen whole cherries.

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