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Let’s take a moment to appreciate fiber, the unsung hero of every healthy diet. Not only does fiber help keep you regular, it can be key in maintaining a healthy weight, lowering cholesterol, and controlling blood sugar. Plus, fiber takes longer to digest, so it will keep you full long past lunchtime (take that, snacks!).
According to James Roche, Registered Dietition Nutritionist at St. Mary’s Medical Center, “fiber’s main roles in health can be divided into two categories -digestion and disease prevention. Insoluble fiber does not break down as it is digested, meaning that it pushes things through our GI tract. Soluble fiber softens the contents of our intestines, making digestive end-products easier to pass through. Intake of both soluble and insoluble fiber are linked to decreased risk of GI diseases, whereas soluble fiber helps prevent absorption of ‘bad’ cholesterol.”
Here are some delicious ideas to help you fill up on fiber.
Say Bravo for Avo: Swap empty-calorie sandwich spreads like mayo for avocado. Just half an avocado is a great source of healthy fats, vitamins, and 4.6 grams of fiber.
Get Figgy with It: Just four figs will give you 8 grams of super filling fiber. Try pairing figs with Greek yogurt for a protein-packed snack, or grilling them with balsamic and goat cheese for a sweet ‘n savory treat.
Go Nuts for Almonds: Just a handful of almonds delivers a powerful, fiber-packed punch. Make your own trail mix by mixing them with raisins (even more fiber!) or add them to cereal to start the morning strong.
More Peas, Please!: Upgrade any side dish by adding peas to the mix. These little green guys are a sneaky source of fiber. Try swapping out chicken noodle soup for split pea.
Ra, Ra, Raspberries: Did you know that 1 cup of raspberries boasts an impressive 8 grams of fiber? Add them to your smoothies, put them on top of oatmeal, or enjoy them by themselves. They won't let you down.
Power Up Your Pasta: Swap out regular pasta for pasta made from chickpeas or lentils. Then simply whip up your favorite pasta dish. That extra fiber fix will keep you fuller, longer.
Keep it Popping: If you’re looking for a high fiber snack, popcorn is where it's at. The whole grain favorite delivers 4 grams of fiber per ounce.
With countless healthy benefits, there’s no reason not to be a fan of fiber. Experts recommend getting between 25-38 grams of this powerful macronutrient per day. James Roche adds, “Once adults reach the age of 50, fiber recommendations for women increases to 30 grams/day. Fiber is especially important as we age, and also during pregnancy.”
We hope these tasty tips will help you fill up.