How to Increase the Amount of Fiber in Your Diet

Many foods contain dietary fiber (the part of food that resists digestion by the body). Eating foods that are high in fiber can help relieve some problems with constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis and irritable bowel syndrome. Dietary fiber may help lower your cholesterol. It may also help prevent heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. You might try the following ideas to increase the fiber in your diet.

* Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber include:

Brussels sprouts

* Replace white bread with whole-grain breads and cereals. Eat brown rice instead of white rice. Examples of these foods include:

Bran muffins
Brown rice
Multiple-grain cereals, cooked or dry
100% Whole-wheat bread

* Eat dry bran cereal for breakfast. Check labels on the packages for the mounts of dietary fiber in each brand. Some cereals may have less fiber than you think.

* Add 1/4 cup of wheat bran (miller's bran) to foods such as cooked cereal or applesauce or meat loaf.

* Eat cooked beans each week.

Many people notice bloating, cramping, or gas when they add fiber to their diet. Making small changes in your diet over a period of time can help prevent this. Start with one of the changes listed above, then wait several days to a week before making another. If one change doesn't seem to work for you, try a different one.

It's important to drink more fluids when you increase the amount of fiber you eat. If you don't already drink over six glasses of liquid a day, drink at least two more glasses of water a day when you increase your fiber intake.

This information provides a general overview on dietary fiber and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.

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