Fiber: it’s one of the most important components of a balanced diet. However, did you know that according to estimates, 95 percent of Americans don’t get enough? It’s one of the most problematic aspects of our national nutrition. It also may help explain why so many people these days are experiencing various digestive issues. Fiber is absolutely vital to the processes of our stomach, intestines and colon. With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at some of the best fiber sources and serve up some easy ways to add them to your routine. Chances are, there are plenty of foods you love that will make increasing your intake easy.
What does fiber do? Basically, it feeds the good bacteria (or probiotics) in your intestines. Fueling these helpers with the best fiber sources enables them to do their important jobs more effectively. Achieving a good balance in the gut flora leads to numerous health benefits. These include boosting metabolism (and fat burning), managing blood sugar and improving cognitive function. Insufficient fiber intake stands out as one of the primary culprits behind constipation and other digestive issues.
Why Don’t We Get Enough Fiber?
Well, it partially seems to stem from a lack of understanding. Firstly, many don’t fully comprehend the importance of this nutrient. And secondly, many don’t know where to get it. One study conducted a few years ago found that more than half of respondents thought steak was a significant source of fiber. This is, well, very untrue. In fact, fiber only comes from plants and you won’t get it from meat or dairy unless fortified. Meanwhile, with people increasingly turning to strategies like juicing diets, which remove the fibrous skin from fruits, we’re missing some important elements of our food.
So placing a consistent emphasis on including the best fiber sources in your diet is a key consideration. Follow the tips below in order to do so without much difficulty.
What are the Best Fiber Sources?
There are plenty of natural places to get your fiber. We’ll offer up three overarching categories below, along with some specific items you can include in your meal rotation.
Grains are healthy for a number of reasons, and their ranking among the best fiber sources is certainly one of them. Too many people are turning to processed foods or enriched white bread, which lack the fiber content that you should really be getting. To get your full fix, try leaning on items like brown rice, whole wheat toast, oatmeal and barley.
They’re a critical food source for vegetarians and vegans, because beans provide protein in addition to fiber. It’s also a versatile food item that you can include in many salads, casseroles and dishes. Among the best beans for fiber are soybeans, navy beans, pinto beans and black beans.
Swap out potato chips for nuts as a snacking choice and feel the benefits. It’s so convenient to carry around a bag of these salty munchies, making them a great on-the-go energy source. The highest fiber nuts are pecans, walnuts and almonds.