Why Fiber Should Be Your Bestie
Fiber isn’t the darling of any viral diet trends. Bring it up in conversation and you’re more likely to hear, “Sorry, gotta take this call” than “Oooooh, tell me more!” But don’t let that fool you. This complex carbohydrate is a powerhouse with all kinds of health benefits.
What’s so great about fiber
When we think of carbs, we usually think of energy, like kids on a sugar rush buzzing around your house. Here’s the strange thing with fiber — your body can’t digest it. Zero energy. And yet, it has amazing health benefits. Plus, it makes you feel full and adds almost no calories to your meals.
Here’s what fiber can do for you:
- Reduces your cholesterol
- Lowers your blood pressure
- Steadies your blood sugar
- Keeps you regular (goodbye constipation)
- Lowers your odds for colon cancer
Aim for 30 grams a day
That’s your fiber goal, but most Americans don’t come close to hitting it. To give you an idea of what 30 grams means, let’s look at some examples.
- A cup of raspberries, ½ cup cooked lentils, and 2 tablespoons of chia seeds all have 8 grams of fiber each.
- ½ cup of avocado, broccoli, or kidney beans? 5 to 6 grams. Same with 3 cups of popcorn.
- A pear or cup of cooked oatmeal will get you 4 grams. And ½ cup of cooked whole wheat pasta or barley gives you 3 grams.
Add raspberries and chia seeds to your morning oatmeal and you could be at 20 grams before you even leave the house!
Tips to get more fiber
The key to getting more fiber? It’s not so different from our usual advice: fruits and veggies, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. That’s really all there is to it. Start with some of our favorite recipes. Or try these tips:
- Switch to whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat bread
- Top your salads with nuts, seeds, quinoa, bulgar, or farro
- Add beans or lentils to meat sauces and stews
- Go with raisin bran or shredded wheat (no frosting!) instead of corn flakes
- Bake with whole wheat flour
- Try meatless Monday where you skip meat and go with a plant protein instead
- Fig out! Figs are a great for dessert and have lots of fiber
A word of caution: add fiber slowly
Creating healthier eating habits is all about small changes that you can stick to. And with fiber, you definitely want to follow that advice. Go from 10 to 30 grams without warning and you’re likely to get gassy and bloated.
Work your way up instead, shooting to add 5 grams a week. Drink more water and be sure to exercise too — that will help.
Don’t be fooled by added fiber or supplements
Sometimes food makers add fiber during processing. There are countless fiber supplements you could take, too. Are they as good as the real thing? Not quite. You miss out on other nutrients and you don’t get that same feeling of fullness.
If you have no other choice, then go for a supplement. But real foods are your best bet.
Your Firefly care team is here to help
If you need support with healthier eating, your care team is ready and waiting! Book a visit today or speak with your health guide to get personalized tips. Not a member yet? Get started by signing up below, taking our quiz, or calling us at (855) 869-9284 to see if our continuous, coordinated care model is right for you.