One of the most vital components to a healthy, balanced diet is taking in an adequate amount of fiber. Soluble fiber and insoluble fiber help promote better digestion, which also serves to lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Fiber also promotes improved heart and joint health, and can keep you feeling full longer, which is particularly helpful if you are curbing your appetite for a new diet.
The recommended daily fiber intake lies somewhere between 25 and 40 grams, depending on caloric intake. This means that fiber-dense foods are essential during and between meals. It is well known that whole grains and vegetables are great sources of fiber, but there are more ways to make sure that you are getting enough in your diet. Here are five somewhat surprising sources of fiber.
Popcorn is a delicious snack and a beloved standby for movie-goers. It might surprise some, however, that it is also quite nutritional. Provided that it is not overloaded with butter and salt, popcorn is actually a great source of protein and fiber. One ounce of popcorn generally contains anywhere from two to four grams of fiber, meaning that you could get as much as half of your daily fiber intake from just three ounces of air-popped popcorn.
Coconut oil is today’s hot super food, and there is good enough reason—the nutritional benefits of incorporating coconut into your daily diet are quite significant. Shredded coconut is no exception, as an ounce contains roughly five grams of dietary fiber. Whether you are sprinkling it over a salad or mixing it into a post-workout shake, shredded coconut is as nutritious as it is delicious.
Coconut flour is a great way to work extra fiber into your baking. One cup of all-purpose wheat flour contains about three grams of fiber, but you can get five grams of fiber from just two tablespoons of organic coconut flour. Since coconut flour is considerably more absorbent, you’ll only need about one-quarter the amount of wheat flour that you’d need for a given recipe, which means that it is best practice to find coconut-flour-specific recipes before use.
Mixing a bit of cacao powder into your milk or smoothie not only makes it more delicious, but it also adds a surprising amount of fiber. One tablespoon of natural, unsweetened cacao powder contains only half a gram of fat and two grams of fiber, and it is also a surprising source of iron and protein. Add two tablespoons into your protein drink for an extra boost after your workout.
Pumpkin spice is becoming the ubiquitous flavor of all things autumnal. If you are looking to put some pumpkin into your meals this fall, you might be surprised to find that there is a great deal of nutritional upside. One cup of canned pumpkin returns roughly seven grams of fiber, as well as three grams of protein and a whopping 763 percent of your suggested daily vitamin A intake. Whether you eat pumpkin pancakes or chicken and pumpkin goulash, you’ll not only get a delicious meal, but you’ll get a significant chunk of your daily fiber.
These foods, in addition to favorites like strawberries and avocado, will help ensure that you are never lacking for that vital ingredient to good health. Check your food labels and strive for fiber-rich foods, and you will find yourself feeling better by the day.
This article is presented by Perkins Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado.