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Not only is fiber great for digestive health while keeping you feeling fuller longer, studies have shown that regular ingestion of fiber helps in regulating blood sugar and lower blood cholesterol levels, which could reduce one's risk of heart disease and diabetes. It is recommended that women eat at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day, while men should aim for 30 to 38 grams a day.
When it comes to fiber, people usually think of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. However, you'd be surprised of the many other ways to work more fiber into your daily meals. Here's a list of surprising foods packed with fiber that you can try adding to your diet:
Nuts: A quarter cup of almonds has 4 grams of fiber. It's also a better alternative to chips when snacking in front of the television. Peas : A cup of cooked peas has about 4 grams of fiber. Just add a little mash or a dollop of butter and you're good to go. Chia Seeds: Just one tablespoon of chia seeds packs around 6 grams. It also contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. Add them to any liquid beverage, and wait for half an hour for them to swell up before drinking it up. You can also sprinkle them in yogurt, oatmeal or rice dishes. If you can't find Chia seeds, than flax seeds are a great alternative. Onions: A medium onion only has 2 grams of fiber, but it also contains a water-soluble fiber known as 'inulin' which helps lower cholesterol and promotes regularity. Inulin is often added to fiber supplements, but you might as well stick with the natural source. Bulgur: The best high-fiber grain is bulgur wheat, which has 8 grams per cup and helps to keep you fuller longer. Kiwis: With just 2 grams of fiber, this sweet and tangy fruit is still a great option for an afternoon snack to help you hit those daily fiber recommendations.
Berries: It's the tiny seeds that stores all the fiber. Just one cup of raspberries offers about 8 grams of fiber.
Remember that it's important to stay hydrated when increasing your fiber intake to prevent constipation. For more ideas on high-fiber foods, visit the Mayo Clinic.com