A diet high in fiber can help control blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol counts, assist in weight loss, and aid in waste elimination and bowel function. Good sources of fiber include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, and nuts. Avoid refined and processed grain products, overcooked vegetables, and vegetable and fruit juices.
Avoid refined wheat products such as white bread, pasta, crackers and white rice. Look for labels such as "whole grain" or "brown rice." To be sure such terms are truthful, check the actual fiber content. Avoid grain products with less than .05g of fiber per serving.
Well cooked vegetables have less fiber than raw vegetables. Avoid vegetable juices, and when cooking leave on vegetable peels and seeds whenever possible. In addition, choose Skip fiber-rich vegetables such as cabbage or broccoli instead of low-fiber veggies like lettuce.
Fiber is in the fruit pulp and skin, so don't juice or peel any fruits. Raw fruit has more fiber than cooked or mashed foods, so avoid applesauce and fruit smoothies. Skip the over-ripe bananas and have berries or pineapple when you want a sweeter fruit choice.
There is very little fiber in most dairy products. Yet dairy contributes protein and calcium. To get these benefits while boosting fiber, add nuts, granola, dried fruit or seeds to cottage cheese, yogurt and soft cheese.
Meats are generally low in fiber, with the exception of such non-nutritious types as processed lunch meats, sausages and hot dogs, all of which may use fillers that contain fiber. Beans and nuts are a much better source of fiber-rich protein. If you like nut butters, opt for crunchy over creamy versions.
Where possible, avoid "smooth" foods, such as strained soups, gravies, ketchup, mayonnaise, oils, or honey. Choosing jam or marmalade rather than jelly will slightly boost your fiber intake. Finally, when snacking opt for fiber-rich popcorn or low-fat potato chips instead of chocolate or hard candy.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.