How to Get More Fiber in Your Family’s Diet
We all know that we should have enough fiber in our diet; fiber attracts water and helps to move the food we eat through the digestive tract and out of the body. Without adequate fiber we are more likely to have problems with constipation. Many of us don’t always eat the way we should, for whatever reason. Some folks just don’t have the time to cook, or they don’t have the finances to buy the foods that are good for them.
Precautionary statement: Although most people will benefit from a higher fiber diet, there are some health conditions where a higher fiber diet would not be indicated, such as in gastroparesis, which is a condition in which the stomach doesn’t empty as quickly as it should. Before making any major changes in your eating habits it would be advised to consult your physician. Small children will not require the same amount of fiber as an adult. It is best that you consult your doctor on how much fiber you and your family should consume each day. One of my sources has a list of foods and their fiber content, feel free to look at that source.
How can fiber improve your health?
You and your family can avoid serious health problems by adding enough fiber to your meals. One common problem associated with a lack of fiber is hemorrhoids, which are secondary to constipation. When your child comes to you complaining of a tummy ache, it could be related to being constipated. A lack of fiber in your diet can lead to dry bowel movements, which can cause pain when you are trying to evacuate. Many illnesses start in the gut; it is quite common to have nausea and vomiting when you are constipated also. Sometimes we are tired, and listless. People who suffer from irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) suffer with chronic diarrhea and they may also have periods of constipation. People with IBS often find that their symptoms are relieved when they increase the fiber in their diet. Water is just as important as the fiber. It takes both water and fiber to move the digested food along the digestive tract to be eliminated.
By increasing your fiber intake you are also taking care of your heart and blood pressure. Foods such as oatmeal (the real kind, not the instant), barley, and legumes such as black, red, and kidney beans help to keep your cholesterol in check, so that you don’t run as much risk of heart disease and elevated blood pressure. By keeping your blood pressure within normal limits (below 140/90) you will be decreasing your risk of having a stroke.
It’s never too late to make changes to try and turn your health around. By making changes to your diet by adding more fiber and decreasing your fat intake you can also reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer. Increased fiber moves the digested food out of the digestive tract so that it doesn’t sit in the colon to ferment and cause irritation, which could lead to poor colon health.
One of the great side effects of having more fiber in your diet each day is that you may find you are losing weight without even trying. Fiber makes you feel full and satisfied. High fiber foods have fewer calories than lower fiber foods. If you really want to lose weight, all you really need to do is change how you think about food.
I changed my thinking, and just by changing the way I was eating I lost 31 pounds without dieting. I am just eating more of what is good for me and less of what isn’t. I eat less meat and more vegetables and fruit. You don’t have to go on a vegetarian diet, but if you do eat meat it should be eaten more as a condiment, rather than a main course. It’s not hard really, you just have to have the want to’s enough to change the way you think about food. I can’t wait until my next appointment to see the doctor and get weighed.
Whole grain breads, and fresh fruits and vegetables are ideal, but they can be rather expensive. You may be able to find fruits and veggies in your supermarket’s freezer section that are much more economical. The nutritional value is about the same between fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. Even canned fruits and veggies are preserved in such a way that they contain most of their nutritional value, so if you feel you cannot afford fresh fruits and vegetables you have more options.
Another way to get enough fiber in your diet, especially if you aren’t a vegetable eater, is to use a fiber product such as Benefiber. Benefiber is a powder that you can pour into water, or your favorite juice. You can also add it to the foods you are cooking. Let’s say that you are making spaghetti sauce for the family, and you want to sneak in some healthy fiber into their meal; all you have to do is pour some benefiber into the sauce. There is no taste or texture to the benefiber, so your kids won’t know you have added healthy fiber to their food unless you tell them.