High Fiber Diet
What is fiber?
Fiber, in soluble and insoluble form, is the part of vegetables, fruits and whole grains that the body can not digest. Fiber both soluble and insoluble form promotes good health. Some fiber adds bulk to your stool and helps the colon (large intestine) function normally.
Importance of fiber
Fiber can promote good health. Fiber can add bulk to your stool and helps stool pass more easily through your colon. Fiber absorbs water as it passes through the colon, resulting in softer, bulkier stools to help prevent constipation and straining. When food passes through the colon too quickly, the intestine cannot absorb enough water causing diarrhea. More bulk means less pressure in the colon which prevents many digestive symptoms. Soluble fiber also helps lower blood cholesterol by binding with the cholesterol in the intestine and carrying it away in the stool.
Tips for increasing fiber in your diet
The average American does not eat enough of the recommended 20 to 35 grams a day of fiber. High fiber foods can be found in the food groups you eat everyday. Eating a well-balanced meal with a variety of foods high in fiber every day helps with digestion.
- Legumes -which includes beans: kidney, pinto, navy, lima and baked beans
- Whole Grains – whole wheat, and oat bran found in many cereal and breads. Be careful and look for the whole grain content
- Whole Fresh Fruits – the valuable fiber is found in the skin and pulp of the fruit
- Green Leafy Vegetables – lettuce, spinach, celery, and broccoli are good examples.
- Root Vegetables – baked potatoes with skin, carrots
- Drink plenty of liquids – including water, fruit and vegetable juices. Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day.
- Eat meals at regular intervals
- Eat slowly and chew food thoroughly to help digestion work well
- Dietary fiber supplements – Bulking agents and stool softening products can be purchased over the counter to help increase your fiber intake. Look for products that contain psyllium or methycellulose fiber like Metamucil, Citrucel, Benafiber, Fiber Com or their generic version. Avoid any laxatives containing Senna.