suggests that as much as 35 grams of fiber a day are needed to help
reduce the risk of chronic disease. Fiber supplements can help, but
should not be substituted for fiber-rich foods. Eating a variety of
fiber rich foods may help reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Ways to fit more fiber into your day:
Read food labels. The labels of almost all foods tell you the amount of dietary fiber in each serving, as well as the Percent Daily Value (DV) based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Eating 2 to 4 servings of fruit, 3 to 5 servings of vegetables, and 6 to 11 servings of cereal and grain should provide 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day.
Start each day with whole-grain cereal containing at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. Top with wheat germ, raisins, bananas, or berries, all good sources of fiber.
When appropriate, eat vegetables raw. Cooking vegetables may reduce fiber content by breaking down some fiber into its carbohydrate components. When you do cook vegetables, microwave or steam only until they are al dente--tender, but still firm to the bite.
Avoid peeling fruits and vegetables; eating the skin and membranes ensures that you get every bit of fiber. But wash thoroughly to remove surface dirt and bacteria before eating. Remember, whole fruits and vegetables contain more fiber than juice.
Eat abundant amounts of foods that contain unprocessed grains in your diet: whole-wheat products such as bulgur, couscous or kasha and whole-grain breads, cereals and pasta.
Add beans to soups, stews and salads; a couple of times a week, substitute legume-based dishes (such as lentil soup, bean burritos, or rice and beans) for those made with meat.
Keep fresh and dried fruit on hand for snacks.
When increasing fiber to your diet, it's best to take it slow. Add just a few grams at a time to allow the intestinal tract to adjust; otherwise, abdominal cramps, gas, bloating, and diarrhea or constipation may result. Other ways to help minimize these effects:
* Drink at least 8 cups of fluid daily.
* Don't cook dried beans in the same water you soaked them in.
* Use enzyme products, such as Beano or Say Yes To Beans, that help digest fiber