Food, Healthy Eating

High Fiber Foods Work Wonders To Reduce Bloating. Are You Getting Enough?

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This article was originally published on May 31, 2017.

3 Easy Steps to Up Your Fiber Intake

Eliminating one’s consumption of animal products has significant health benefits, including reducing bloating: though high fiber foods have high satiety factor and make you “full,” it actually keeps you regular, which in turn promotes a lighter waistline. But statistics show Americans—even vegans—are dropping the ball when it comes to a crucial nutrient called fiber. According to the American Heart Association Eating Plan, the total dietary fiber intake should be at least 25 grams per day from food, not supplements. Most Americans consume about 15 grams of fiber per day. That’s only about half of the daily recommendation! We’re simply not consuming enough high fiber foods.

Fear not, dear friends. With three simple changes, we can turn these statistics into ancient history.
Step One: Eat more whole grains.
For many years, I did not know that there was a grain product hierarchy. I stocked my pantry with white flour, ordered my sandwiches on wheat bread, and regularly ate white rice. I did not give the quality of my grain products a second thought. It was not until I became acquainted with the plant-based diet that I began to understand the importance of consuming high fiber foods like whole grains.
The difference between whole grains and refined grains is the structure of the seed after it is processed. Whole grain products contain every edible part of the seed, which is made of three parts; the bran, the germ, and the endosperm.

Refined grain products often have the bran and the germ removed, which eliminates about a quarter of the protein and a significant amount of nutrients from the final product. You may see some refined grain products with the word “enriched” on them and that may make you feel better about what you are eating. However, the enrichment process adds nutrients back in different amounts than they originally existed in the grain. You’re better off eating the whole grain product in the first place!

There is one simple grocery shopping tip to help you spot the wolf in sheep’s clothing. When shopping for grain products, look for the word whole on the label. Examples include whole-wheat flour, whole cornmeal, whole grain pasta, etc. Manufacturers will try to trick you with words like “wheat” and “multigrain,” but do not be fooled–if it does not have the word whole on the label, it is not a whole grain. The same thing applies in restaurants. Do not be afraid to ask for whole-wheat pizza crust, whole-wheat pasta, or brown rice.

Step Two: Drink less juice and eat more fruits and vegetables.

Everywhere you look, there seems to be a trendy health store selling fresh vegetable or fruit juice. The notion that wellness is contained in an eight-ounce bottle of juice is simple and enticing. Unfortunately, juicing removes most of the pulp from fruits or vegetables, which also removes a significant amount of the insoluble fiber. Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD explains that insoluble fiber adds bulk to the waste moving through your digestive system–a key component that assists digestive regularity and helps reduce bloating. Next time think about eating a salad instead of drinking a green juice.

Step Three: Add fiber-rich fruits and vegetables to your diet.
The final step to getting enough high fiber foods is to proactively add more fiber-rich fruits and vegetables in your everyday routine. Think about eating a bowl of oatmeal piled high with fruits and nuts for breakfast. Consume beans multiple times a week. Swap out white rice for other grains like barley, quinoa, or bulgur. Indulge in whole fresh fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. People often assume eating a fiber-rich diet means eating a myriad of tasteless and boring foods, but it actually opens you up to a world of delicious meals.

What are some of your favorite high fiber foods?

Also by Olivia: Vegan Green Goddess Dressing

Related: These 4 Superfoods Are All You Need To Get Glowing Skin (You’re Welcome)

Researchers Say Gluten May Not Be The Enemy We Thought It Was

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Olivia Parr

Olivia Parr

Olivia Parr is the founder of Caramel Coated Wellness, a whole-food, plant-based food blog and personal chef business based in North Carolina. After reading Food Over Medicine and The China Study, she decided to get more serious about her interest in helping people overcome health issues with plant-based food. Olivia graduated from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies with a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition. Visit her website at caramelcoatedwellness.com or follow her on Instagram @CaramelCoatedWellness for whole-food, plant-based, and oil-free recipes.
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