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With all the hoopla surrounding protein it’s easy to forget that many – and we mean many – more people are coming up short in dietary fiber. And that’s bad news for good health and longevity.
A study presented at the Nutrition Live Online 2021 virtual meeting held by the American Society of Nutrition found that only 7.4% of American adults are meeting the Institute of Medicine’s suggested daily fiber consumption, which is 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed.
This investigation also determined that eating more fiber can confer protection from some of today’s biggest killers like heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. It offers up a path to better health through a few mechanisms including improving cholesterol numbers, regulating blood sugar levels and fostering a healthier microbiome. So it’s a very smart move to make sure you’re eating enough.
Luckily, you don’t have to eat like a rabbit or spike your oatmeal with Metamucil to get the fiber you need. Instead, it’s a better idea to sneak in a shot of extra fiber to dishes you already eat. A little bit here and there really adds up. Here are 10 simple ways to up your intake while also making your diet taste even better (we promise!).
1. Add fiber-rich caviar to power bowls
Beluga lentils are a type of small, dark-hued legume which get their name from the resemblance to Beluga caviar. Less earthy in flavor and better at holding their shape once cooked than other lentils, these are a perfect way to bolster the fiber content of a power bowl of nutrition.
Fiber gain: 7 grams for 1/3 cup cooked
2. Make “rice” instead of rice
Make “rice” that’s more likely to help you nail your daily fiber quota by boiling up alt-rice made from legumes including chickpeas and lentils. Brands like RightRice come in toothsome flavors. You can also try rice made from fiber-rich veggies, like cauliflower rice.
Fiber gain: 5 grams for 1/3 cup dry
3. Blitz cocoa powder
Give your smoothies a chocolate flavor profile as well as a surprising source of fiber by blending in a spoonful of cocoa powder. And there’s an added bonus – cocoa is great for combating fatty liver disease.
Fiber gain: 3 grams in 2 tablespoons
4. Scream Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia when spooning up yogurt
Chia seeds are proof that great things come in small packages. These tiny seeds are a fiber powerhouse, and they make an oh-so-simple addition to a bowl of yogurt or oatmeal. They also hold potential for better longevity and graceful aging.
Fiber gain: 6 grams in 2 tablespoons
5. Sweeten up salads with raspberries
When it comes to fruits, sweet-tart raspberries lead the fiber charge. They’re a stealth addition to a bowl of greens. But you don’t have to stop at salad. You can also add these berries as a topping on breakfast foods like smoothie bowls, pancakes and so much more.
Fiber gain: 4 grams in 1/2 cup
6. Snack on a couple handfuls of crunchy edamame
Less caloric and higher in fiber than nuts, dry roasted edamame is the most under-appreciated snacking satisfaction out there. Edamame is also a versatile plant-based protein, one that you can turn into a dip, add to salad or steam like any other veggie.
Fiber gain: 6 grams in 1/3 cup
7. Flip over oat bran
When mixing up pancake batter, try swapping out a quarter of the flour in a recipe for oat bran so you’re flipping discs with an extra boost of fiber. Try adding oat bran into lemon pancakes, carrot cake pancakes or any other variety you enjoy.
Fiber gain: 2 grams in 2 tablespoons
8. Go coco-nuts for oatmeal
Add a taste of the tropics to your morning by stirring fiber-packed coconut flour into a bowl of steamy oats.
Fiber gain: 5 grams in 2 tablespoons
9. Spread on hummus
Forget mustard or mayo, use hummus as a creamy sandwich spread to help you grab hold of more fiber. Hummus is so much more than a dip – you can also turn it into a filling bowl, use it in place of traditional pizza sauce and incorporate it into a salad.
Fiber gain: 2 grams in 3 tablespoons
10. Get cracking on asparagus
The next time you’re whisking up a batch of scrambled eggs, be sure to fold in some chopped cooked asparagus. Asparagus is a source of something special: a hard-to-get prebiotic fiber that’ll feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut. You can also use it to top off bowls of soup or add it into stir frys.
Fiber gain: 2 grams in 1/2 cup cooked