There are many things to love about fiber: It helps you feel full, which means it’s easier to eat less if you’re on a diet; it is great for your heart; and it’s found in several delicious foods. When it comes to heart health, adding a little extra fiber goes a long way. According to the nutrition experts at UAB EatRight, eating 10-25 grams of soluble fiber each day can lower your cholesterol up to 18 percent. Good sources of soluble fiber include oatmeal, fruits, veggies, beans, whole grain breads, peas, and barley. Here are our favorite ways to get more soluble fiber in your diet.
Drink less juice. Though juicing is hot right now, it’s not necessarily the best way to get your recommended allowance of fruits and veggies. Eating whole fruits and vegetables instead of juice typically saves you calories and provides much more fiber. For example, a cup of orange juice has 112 calories and 0.5 grams of fiber, while an orange has 62 calories and 3.1 grams of fiber. That’s nearly half the calories and six times the fiber.
Go nuts. Add sunflower seeds, soy nuts, almonds, or pecans to your breakfast, snack, salad, or dessert. Nuts add a protein- and fiber-packed punch to cereal, yogurt, granola … the list goes on. Just be sure to practice portion control, since nuts are also high in fat.
Choose brown. Switch to brown rice and whole wheat breads, tortillas, and pastas, and you’ll add several grams per serving of fiber to your diet. For example, 1 cup of white rice has 0.6 grams of fiber, while brown rice has 3.5 grams.
Eat more beans. Beans—and peas—are fiber-rich and hearty, making them a great stand-in for carbs like mashed potatoes and bread. Black, kidney, lima, navy, and pinto beans are all great sources, as are black-eyed peas chick peas, and lentils. Winter is a great time to incorporate any of these choices into chilis, soups, and stews.