When you’re thinking about what to eat, how to get that beach body, or simply how to improve your health, fibre is not usually at the forefront of your mind. Instead, you’re probably thinking about getting more protein, or cutting down on your sugar intake. But that needs to change, because you’re almost certainly not getting enough fibre.
According to the FDA, most Americans are not getting their recommended dose of fibre. (That’s anywhere between 30 and 42 grams of fibre, depending on your age and your level of physical activity, according to 2010 dietary guidelines.) This is a problem, because under-consumption of fibre has been linked to adverse health outcomes, such as a higher risk of heart disease, obesity, or colorectal cancer.
“Our data show that only 4% of all men and 13% of women in the United States have a fibre intake above the recommended amount,” nutrition researcher Yanni Papanikolaou, MPH and PhD candidate, told MensHealth.com.
Wanna start eating more fibre, but sick of broccoli and Raisin Bran? Here are 5 unsung fibre heroes that don’t get much love.
Ounce for ounce, almonds are one of the higher fibre nuts out there, offering about 3 grams of fibre per ounce. Pair that with a piece of fruit as a snack, and you’ve got a satisfying, nutrient-dense combo.
Beans, beans — they’re not only good for your heart, they’re also one of the heartiest (see what we did there?), most nutrient-dense foods out there. They’re budget-friendly, and they’re easy to tack onto a dish as a side dish. Plus, at 15 grams per cup, one cup of black beans offers almost half of the daily recommendation for fibre.
Whole fruit in general is a great source of fibre, but some fruits go above and beyond. Exhibit A: Raspberries. With 8 grams of fibre per serving, raspberries are not only low-calorie, they’re also very high in nutrition. Add a cup to smoothies, yogurt, cereal, cottage cheese (or pair them with the almonds, as suggested above).
After a surge in popularity about 10 years ago, flaxseed has seemed to fade out of favour. But this seed is a nutritional powerhouse with omega-3 fats, protein and, of course, fibre. All that makes it a perfect addition to your morning oats (even more fibre), yogurt, or on top of your cottage cheese. The key here is making sure you grind it well (a coffee grinder works).
Oatmeal gets lots of love, but for a slight change of pace in the AM, oat bran is a great alternative. It has a creamier consistency and texture and it’s packed with 6 grams of fibre in just 1/3 of a cup. Think of oat fibre as a sponge that helps lower lipid levels and keeps you full.
By Chris Mohr, Ph.D., R.D., R.D.