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Are You Eating Enough Fiber?

The American Heart Association recommends eating 25-35 grams Total Dietary Fiber each day from food, not supplements, but most Americans are only consuming about 15 grams.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Katie Francisco, Registered Dietitian from Mercy Health Saint Mary’s is here to provide tips for increasing our daily fiber consumption.

Why is Eating Fiber Important?

  • Heart disease: Fiber may help prevent heart disease by helping to reduce cholesterol.
  • Weight management: Fiber slows the speed at which food digests; this can make us feel full longer. Foods that are higher in dietary fiber often are also lower in calories.
  • Diabetes: Because fiber slows down how quickly food is digested, it may help control blood sugar levels after meals.
  • Digestive issues: Fiber increases bulk in the intestinal tract and may help improve the frequency of bowel movements.

What are the Best Sources of Fiber?

There is a wide variety of foods that are excellent fiber choices including whole grains, dried beans and lentils, nuts plus fruits and vegetables. You can find the fiber content of foods on the Nutrition Facts Label below Total Carbohydrates.

Fiber Food Swaps

Here are some easy “swaps" to add more fiber to your day

Choose Raspberries instead of Grapes

For 5 ounces (around 1 cup):

Green grapes – 1.3 grams fiber (100 calories)

Raspberries – 9 grams fiber (70 calories)

Instead of drinking Apple Juice, eat an Apple 

Apple juice, 12 ounces – 0 grams of fiber (175 calories)

Apple, 2 small – 7.2 grams fiber (156 calories)

Use Chia Seeds on top of yogurt instead of Granola 

For one ounce:

Granola – 1.5 grams fiber (132 calories)

Chia seeds – 9.8 grams fiber (138 calories)

Pick Fresh Lima Beans instead of Canned Green Beans

For one cup cooked:

Canned Green Beans – 3.4 grams fiber

Fresh Lima Beans – 8 grams fiber

Try Quinoa instead of Rice

For one cup, cooked:

White rice – .06 grams fiber (206 calories)

Brown rice – 3.6 fiber (216 calories)

Quinoa – 5.2 grams fiber (222 calories)

** These are just some examples to show you how to increase fiber. Best practice is to try to eat more fruits and vegetables in as close to their natural state as possible (i.e. less processed)

Recipe – Fresh Bruschetta and Lentil Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 lb package steamed lentils 
  • 5 or 6 roma tomatoes, diced 
  • 8-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced 
  • pepper to taste 
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice 
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil 
  • 1 cups crumbled feta 
  • Veggies for dipping 

Instructions – Mix all ingredients & chill for at least 1 hour. Enjoy with fresh cut veggies or whole grain crackers. *If using regular lentils, cook per package instructions then rinse before mixing with other ingredients

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