Fiber is Beneficial and Found in Many Foods

main of Fiber is Beneficial and Found in Many Foods

If there's one very simple and easy thing a person can do for their health, it's eating more fiber. Fiber's benefits are numerous, from regulating digestion to lowering bad cholesterol. In recent years, scientific research has even confirmed a link between fiber and weight loss, which makes sense. Fiber-rich foods tend to fill stomachs for less calories. In spite of all these benefits, most people don't get enough of this vital nutrient. With an average intake of 16 grams per day, both men and women in America are getting about half of the recommended fiber intake. Part of this is because people don’t like the foods which contain fiber, but much is because they just don’t know which food contains fiber. 

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, men should eat 38 grams of fiber per day, while women should eat 25 grams. This means that most Americans are just a few snacks short of receiving the benefits that fiber can offer! Fortunately, increasing fiber intake can be as easy as adding a few extra servings of food a day, as long as those foods are rich in fiber. There’s plenty of options out there that can be taken advantage of as well. 

1 - Whole-grain pasta

Unlike regular, enriched pasta, which is made from bleached, milled flour, whole-grain pasta has components of the entire grain kernel. There's less processing involved in producing whole-grain flour, which preserves most of the nutrients contained inside of the harvested plant. Besides fiber, whole-grain pasta is also a good source of selenium, manganese, folate, and B vitamins. Today, almost every variety of pasta comes in whole-grain form, so making the switch should be relatively easy.

2 - Oats

Along with 10 grams of soluble fiber per cup, oats contain more protein than most other grains. Oats are also high in antioxidants, which have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Oatmeal is known to ease constipation and help with digestion, thanks to its high fiber content, but it's also been shown to help lower blood sugar in diabetic patients. In short, oats are some of the most nutrition dense foods one can add to their diet.

3 - Chickpeas

Also called garbanzo beans, chickpeas are high in a soluble fiber known as raffinose, which takes longer to digest than other forms. People tend to stay fuller longer and have healthier bowel movements after eating chickpeas. However, the benefits don't stop there. Some studies even suggest that the nutritious legume can help prevent colon cancer! Chickpeas are also the main ingredient in hummus, which boasts its own collection of health benefits.

4 - Popcorn

With 1.2 grams of fiber and only 31 calories per cup, popcorn is one of the best sources of fiber available without having to consume a lot of calories. This popular snack also contains as many antioxidants as a fruit or vegetable, making it truly guilt-free. Plain, air-popped popcorn is healthier than microwave or movie theater popcorn, which tend to have a lot of butter and salt. That being said, even the buttery salty stuff tends to be much better than many of the processed snack foods we eat. The addition of toppings and seasonings can raise the saturated fat content in popcorn, negating some of its benefits, though the fiber remains. 

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