Fiber is a key part of digestive health. There are two types of fiber, which are soluble and insoluble. The soluble type of fiber can be broken down by the body and used for energy. The fiber in fruit, some vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes is soluble. Insoluble fiber provides bulk for easier passage of stool and helps you feel full. It comes from whole grains and vegetables. Use these four tips to add more fiber for better digestive health.
1. Eat Oatmeal for Breakfast
Oatmeal has soluble and insoluble fiber. When you start adding more fiber to your diet, it is a good idea to add more water in order to promote regular passage of stool. Since oatmeal is prepared with water, it meets both of these needs. You could also prepare your oatmeal with almond milk for additional nutrients. Add some sliced strawberries or apples for an even bigger boost of fiber.
2. Replace a Carb-heavy Snack With Nuts
Many people have a daily snack or two. A lot of those snacks are filled with carbohydrates and low in fiber and protein. Consider replacing a snack of crackers, chips or pretzels with a handful of nuts such as almonds, cashews or pecans. If you are allergic to nuts, try seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Nuts and seeds contain soluble fiber, healthy fats and protein. A serving of nuts or seeds is small, so be sure to measure them instead of eating them directly out of the bag.
3. Try an Apple a Day
Apples are a healthy and affordable option. They contain a lot of soluble fiber. Be sure to eat the peel of the apple, which is where many of the nutrients are contained. A fresh, raw apple of any variety is an ideal choice. You could also bake the apple and dust it with cinnamon for a warm treat. For a filling breakfast, try apple slices dipped into a nut butter. This combination provides you with healthy carbohydrates, fiber, healthy fats and protein.
4. Replace a Meat-heavy Meal With Legumes or Lentils
If you tend to prepare meals that are centered around meat as the main dish, switch at least one of your weekly dinners to one that replaces meat with legumes or lentils. Legumes and lentils have soluble and insoluble fiber. You could prepare a dish of lentils with peppers, onion and garlic for a big nutritional boost. The peppers also contain insoluble fiber. In lieu of adding a lot of salt to the dish, try adding some spices. Cardamom, thyme and curry powder pair well with a dish made of lentils or legumes. There is more information to be found at the Digestive Center website.