Have you ever heard about a high fiber diet plan? Most of you want to include a lot of fiber into your diet but somehow manage to skip it. Only having fruits will not make your diet full of fiber. You need to plan it out and measure the quantity of fiber carefully. The right fiber quantity in your diet will help you improve your gut health, ensure healthy weight loss, make your heart function properly, lower risk for diabetes, and help you with proper digestion. So, if fiber can do all that, why are 95% of Americans still not getting enough? (eatingwell.com) Americans only consume around 16 grams of fiber every day on average. However, according to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines issued for Americans, they need to consume approximately 28 grams of fiber. What is a high fiber diet? Let’s find out.
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What is a high fiber diet?
According to a 2016 study, people who have a high fiber diet plan tend to live longer. The study was conducted over ten years. All of them included whole grains, vegetables, and fruits in their diet, leading to an 80% increase in their longevity. Fiber is a type of complex carbohydrate. It can be found in the cell walls of all kinds of plant-based food items. Humans are well equipped to break down other kinds of carbohydrates into sugar. It helps you to get the energy that you need to carry out daily activities. However, your body is not able to break down fiber easily. Most of it passes through your body in an undigested manner till it reaches your colon or large intestine. Eating fibrous foods ensures that you can enjoy a lot of health benefits. Fiber can be classified into three categories (depending on the function it on your digestive system):
Most of the plant-based food items contain fiber. Some of them are legumes, vegetables, whole grains, fruits as well as nuts and seeds. (Cookinglight.com) When you add more amount of fiber to your diet, it allows you to eat at a slower pace. Moreover, it lets you savor your meals as well as prevent eating more than you should.
How to construct a high fiber diet plan?
Before constructing a high-fiber diet, you need to know what is high in fiber? According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, any food item can be classified as a high fiber food when it contains around 5 grams (or more) of fiber. The American Government had issued guidelines in July 2015 that suggest that dietary fiber should at least be about 30 grams a day. That is what makes up a fiber-rich diet. Adults and children above 16 years of age require a high fiber diet. Whereas children who are:
- 2-5-year-olds need around 15 grams of fiber
- 5-11-year-olds need about 20 grams of fiber
- 11-16-year-olds need about 25 grams of fiber
It is advisable to make them eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. You can also include starchy food items in their diet. While many are going for Keto Diets, Many still rely on the wholesome diet. However, if you are starting to include more fiber in your diet, you should slowly do it. Adding too much fiber into your diet at one go can result in an upset stomach. You have to make sure that apart from increasing your fiber content, you need to drink plenty of water as well. You need a couple of weeks to get used to a high fiber diet plan. Here are a couple of ways through which you can make your diet fiber rich:
- Eat whole carb food sources as they contain a high amount of fiber.
- Try to eat a salad that is full of vegetables before your meal
- Fruits can serve as an excellent method of fiber, and you can snack on them
- Try to include whole grains over refined ones
- There are several fiber supplements in the market that you can try, such as Guar Fiber, Psyllium, and Glucomannan. However, you need to make sure that you take your medications at least four hours before eating such supplements.
- If you like to bake, then use high fiber flour
- Do not trust food items blindly. Read the labels before you start eating them.
- Try to keep the skin on potatoes and fruits as much as you can while eating them.
- You need to include fiber-rich food in every meal of yours. For example:
- For breakfast, you can add berries or other fruits to your fiber-rich cereal. You can take some whole bran cereal (around 5 grams) and put in berries or bananas (1.5 grams of fiber). Try to use skim milk with it.
- At lunch, you can have a salad or a sandwich. Make sure that it is 100% whole wheat. You can make yourself a tuna or turkey sandwich. Make sure that you use whole wheat bread (around 5 grams of fiber). Add tomato or lettuce to it (approximately 3.1 grams of fiber).
- An afternoon snack can be some berries (around 2 grams of fiber) along with some yogurt.
- At dinner, you can eat grilled fish with a salad. The salad should have generous proportions of lettuce as well as carrots (around 2.6 grams of fiber). You can also add lentils (approximately half a cup for about 7.5 grams of fiber) along with cooked spinach (around 2.1 grams of fiber).
- The diet plan mentioned above is only an example. You can choose your favorites and construct your own high-fiber diet plan. You can take help from a certified dietician before you start consuming it.
Benefits of high fiber food
As it was mentioned before, there are three types of fibers – soluble, insoluble and prebiotic. Different types of fibers have different kinds of health benefits. Let’s look at them.
Soluble Fiber enters the digestive system and, after dissolving with water, turns into a gelatin form. There are several health benefits of including soluble fiber in your high fiber diet plan:
It keeps your cholesterol levels in control and keeps your health healthy. Moreover, it also ensures that your blood pressure remains in control.
People who struggle with weight-related issues can increase their soluble fiber intake. It can help with weight management. The soluble fiber has a thick gelatin form that blocks the fats and stops them from getting absorbed by your body.
Your body has healthy and gut-friendly bacteria—soluble fiber help to sustain those bacteria by feeding them. The colon can ferment soluble fiber. It can help the bacteria to survive for more extended periods inside your gut.
Glucose levels get stabilized by soluble fiber. As it was mentioned before, soluble fat reduces fat absorption. As a result, it can slow down the digestion process of other carbohydrates as well. Hence, soluble fiber keeps blood sugar levels in check.
Barley, black beans, lentils, raspberries, sweet potatoes, and apples are some of the food items with high soluble fiber.
High amounts of insoluble fiber can retain water and helps to sweep down the waste through your intestine. Insoluble fiber has a lot of benefits, such as:
It helps to prevent constipation. Since it is indigestible, it can sit in the gastrointestinal tract as well as absorb fluid. It sticks to the other waste products in your intestine and helps the stool come out of your body. The insoluble fiber in your high fiber diet plan speeds up the process of pooping as well as prevents gastrointestinal blockage.
It helps to avoid diverticular diseases such as hemorrhoids and colorectal cancer.
Corn, apples, Brussels sprouts, wheat bran, and kidney beans contain high amounts of insoluble fiber.
It falls under soluble fibers and can be fermented into energy sources for probiotics. Fibers such as glucan, pectin, beta are examples of prebiotic fiber. It has several health benefits such as:
It helps to increase dietary calcium in your bloodstream. As a result, your bones remain healthy. It can prevent diseases such as osteoporosis.
It ensures that a healthy amount of gut bacteria is present in your digestive system.
It can decrease toxins in your bloodstream and help you build a robust immune system. (prebiotin.com)
Both soluble and insoluble fats have some expected health benefits. Both can help you to feel full or satiated for a more extended period. Hence, Insoluble and soluble fiber stops binge-eating. Insoluble and soluble fiber can also decrease obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular diseases.
It is a common habit for people to pick up pre-packaged food items without reading the labels. But it makes one miss out on the ingredients. If you want a high-fiber diet plan, you need to be more careful about what you eat. You have to make small substitutions in your diet to ensure that your fiber intake increases over time. Instead of taking white rice, use brown rice in your food—Munch on popcorns instead of picking up a packet of chips. But make sure that you do not overdo it. Adults who are over 50 years of age need to be careful. The ideal fiber dosage for men and women of that age group is 38 grams and 25 grams of fiber daily. (webmd.com) Too much fiber can cause bloating and stomach pain. But if you adopt a balanced high fiber diet plan, then you can lead a healthy life.