How to Increase Dietary Fiber to Your Diet
Soluble and Insoluble dietary fiber are important to add to any diet. Soluble fiber helps with digestion and insoluble fiber helps to lower cholesterol. One of the easiest ways to increase your fiber intake is to switch to whole grain bread products at the supermarket. Whole grain pastas are also available.
How Much Do You Need?
The recommendation from the American Heart Association is to eat between six and eight servings a day of whole grains. These include simple things like whole grain bread, 1 oz. of lowfat dry cereal, and 1/2 cup cooked rice. Always choose the whole grain varieties of whatever you're eating.
Fresh vegetables should be kept raw for the retention of fiber, or cooked without a lot of fat as in steaming. Three to five servings a day could include 1 cup greens, 1/2 cup cut up cooked vegetables, or 1/2 cup pure vegetable juice. Fruits are easy to add as most people like to eat fruits. These can include fresh fruits, those that are dried like raisins, pruned and apricots, and low-sugar canned fruits. When eating fresh fruits and vegetables, keep the skins on if possible for the most fiber. If using canned fruits, use those that are in their own juice and not packed in heavy syrup.
While increasing fiber is beneficial to many, it is also helpful to increase the water intake as you are increasing the fiber intake to help reduce stomach upset.