With the rampant occurrence of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer in our society, we’ve had to take a hard look at our eating habits and how they are affecting our health. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease accounted for nearly one in every four deaths that occurred in the United States in 2006. The ironic thing about heart disease is that it is completely preventable through proper lifestyle habits. Heart disease, also called cardiovascular disease, is basically caused by the buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries, preventing blood flow to major organs, including the heart. Its been proven that a diet high in fiber can play a big role in preventing heart disease, as it blocks the body from absorbing fat and cholesterol in food.
So, we all know that fiber is great and easy diet for our health, but how can we get enough of it? Here are a few simple tips to help you add more fiber to your everyday diet:
1. Choose Brown Carbs over White Carbs
This is an easy diet and simple rule of thumb that can help you make an easy choice between whole grains and refined carbohydrates. When you do your grocery shopping, opt for brown rice over white rice, choose whole wheat pasta over traditional pasta, and purchase whole grain bread over white bread. There might be a small price difference between these items, but the small added cost is definitely worth your health. If you do a lot of cooking with flour at home (bread, rolls, pizza crust, etc), choose to use whole-wheat flour over refined white flour, or if you prefer to keep the taste same, choose to use half whole-wheat flour and half white flour. Not only will these choices provide you with more fiber, but because they provide your body with more nutrients, you will probably eat less and stay full longer.
2. Re-Vamp Your Breakfast
Eating a wholesome breakfast can really set the tone for healthy eating habits during the rest of the day. A lot of people have strong preferences in what they have for breakfast, and a lot of that depends on how much time is available to eat in the morning. Even if youre dead-set on keeping cold cereal as your breakfast staple, you can still make healthy choices that are high in fiber. Instead of choosing cereals with high sugar content and virtually no other nutritional value, opt for more whole-grain options like frosted shredded wheat or bran flakes. There are even specific brands that specialize in producing high-fiber cereals, so you could also try those as well.
If youre open to trying something completely new for breakfast, consider hot cereals like rolled oats or steel cut oats. Combined with fresh fruit, this can be a great high-fiber option that will keep you full until lunchtime.
3. Snack Smart
Most snack foods on the market are considered empty calories, as they provide little nutrition for the amount of calories they contain (think soda, potato chips, crackers, etc). The next time you get the urge to munch, try making simple substitutions like fruits and vegetables instead of sugary, salty, or fatty snacks. If youre fighting a sweet tooth, opt for raspberries, strawberries, and apple, or a pear, as they all have high fiber along with other valuable nutrients. If youre looking for something crunchy and/or salty, try carrots, celery, or broccoli.