High five for high fiber

You don’t get a choice in your genetic lot in life. If one or both of your parents have heart disease or digestive issues, there is a good chance that you will too. One thing you can do to start now and control your health is to eat more fiber. Fiber is in some of my favorite whole foods, such as whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, and veggies. If you start slipping more fiber into your diet NOW – before these issues rear their ugly heads – you can prevent or manage diseases. At the same time, there are tons of ways to get fancy with fiber!

Let’s start with some simple tips and changes:

  • Craving crunch? Skip the chips and grab a serving of whole grain crackers, which often have more fiber than those greasy chips. Read those labels carefully though – there are tons of fiber-fakers out there that may boast the benefits of “whole grain” but there may be no fiber in there! Or equally bad, they may contain fiber with a whole mess of unwanted ingredients as well.  An even better crunchy option: go for nuts or seeds; just don’t go too nuts! Stick to the recommended portion size (usually 1 ounce), as the fat and calories in nuts can add up quickly. Round out your snack with raw veggies.
  • Get a grip on your grains! A simple switch from “white carbs” to whole grains will likely increase your daily intake of fiber. Switch from white bread to whole grain bread, white pasta to whole wheat, shoot for brown rice in place of white rice, or make an adventurous leap to quinoa, spelt, or wheat berries.
  • An apple a day keeps constipation away. Apples are a great source of fiber, as are pears and figs. That’s right, simply adding more produce to your diet is a great way to up your fiber intake. Be sure to stick to whole fruits and veggies as opposed to juices and sauces, which often have most of their fiber removed during processing.
  • Get popping.  Instead of reaching for a candy bar when the snack craving kicks in, opt for some air-popped popcorn, another great source of fiber.
  • Beans, beans, they’re good for your…We can all learn a little something from the old, playful rhyme! Beans, peas, and lentils all have an impressive batch of fiber, despite their, ahem, gaseous side effects.
  • Consider a supplement.  Try adding a supplement such as Konsyl’s psyllium based powder, into your cooking and eating routine. Sprinkle some on your morning yogurt in place of granola, or sneak it in when making muffins or even cookies!

Beat your genetic lot in life (or at least prolong the fate) by eating more whole, unprocessed, fiber-rich foods. All this fiber talk has me in the mood for a snack; perhaps some toasted pumpkin seeds and a couple of dried figs, yum!

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