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Health, Nutrition & Diet

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increase Dietary Fiber
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Dietary Fiber Sources

Increasing Your Dietary Fiber

Copyright (c) 2006 Ted Crawford

Everyone should include an ample amount of fiber in the diet everyday. Eating foods that are high in fiber helps relieve problems with constipation, diverticulosis, irritable bowel syndrome, and hemorrhoids. Fiber may also help lower your cholesterol levels and prevent diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Fiber, also called roughage, is obtained from plant source foods. It greatly aids in the digestive process, improving gastric emptying and ridding the gastrointestinal tract of toxins that can accumulate in our gut. If we do not eat enough fiber, the food and by products we take in do not move through the digestive tract as efficiently. To ensure that you get enough fiber in your diet, try the following. Replace white bread with whole grain breads and cereals. Replace white rice with brown or wild rice and eat more bran muffins, multi-grain cereals, oatmeal 100 per cent whole grain bread and even popcorn. You can check package labels for the amounts of dietary fiber in each brand. Some cereals have less fiber than one might think.

Add ¼ of a cup of wheat bran (also called miller's bran) to foods such as cooked cereal, applesauce, or even meat loaf. You can buy this in health food stores and many grocery stores. Eat cooked beans each week and at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber include:

  • Apples
  • Figs
  • Green peas
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Prunes
  • Beans
  • All berries
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel sprouts

An important thing to consider if you don't already eat much fiber is to start
SLOWLY. Some people notice bloating, cramping, or increased gas when they start to add fiber to their diet. This is normal. Don't stop! You digestive tract is merely adjusting to the change. Making small changes in your diet over a period of time can help prevent this. Start with one of the changes above and wait several days to a week before implementing another change. If one change does not seem to work for you, try a different one.

It is important to drink more fluids when you increase the amount of fiber you eat. If you do not already drink more than six glasses of liquid a day (NOT soda pop), then drink AT LEAST two more glasses of water a day when you increase your fiber intake. Everyone should drink at least 64 ounces of water a day.

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About the author

Dr. Ted Crawford is a family practice physican in Tucson, Arizona and has a website devoted to helping patients find reliable health information and
products. His article "Increasing Your Dietray Fiber...How To Do It" can also be found at http://www.babyboomersdoc.com