My doctor recommended that I get more fiber in my diet. Can you please offer some suggestions that may help me do this?

It is good that you want to increase your fiber intake. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. The soluble fiber can help you to lower total cholesterol and LDL or “bad cholesterol”. It can also help regulate blood sugar levels, which is helpful for people with diabetes. Insoluble fiber helps prevent constipation and promotes regular bowel movements. Examples of soluble fiber include: Dried beans and peas, flax seed, nuts, barley, oat and oat bran. Fruit and root vegetable skins, corn bran, whole wheat, seeds and nuts make up the insoluble fiber group.

Getting extra fiber in your diet is not hard, but does take some planning. I advise you to choose whole foods first. Instead of grabbing a handful of processed crackers to dip in hummus, choose bite-sized vegetables for dipping such as baby carrots, cut broccoli, cauliflower, and celery. Snack on handfuls of almonds and walnuts, and keep the skins on the potatoes when mashing them. Check food labels for dietary fiber and choose products with 5 grams of dietary fiber or more. Replace white rice/pasta as a side dish with brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, or high fiber peas and beans. While you are increasing your fiber intake, it is important to increase your fluid intake to help you process the added fiber. Aim for eight-8 oz. glasses a day.

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