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Making Sense of Foods

Understanding Fiber: Increasing Fiber in Your Diet

Getting enough fiber is easy when you fill your menu with healthy foods from plants.

Tips to increase your fiber intake

  • Choose oatmeal or a whole–grain cereal every day for breakfast.
  • Eat fruit for dessert.
  • Skip animal products. They never have any fiber at all.
  • Use beans in chili and soups.
  • Snack on raw vegetables.
  • Replace refined grain products such as white bread, rice and pasta with whole–grain varieties, such as brown rice and whole–grain pastas and breads.

Beans are the Fiber Champions

Beans are loaded with fiber. If you are using canned beans, you can reduce their sodium content by choosing reduced–sodium brands or draining the liquid and rinsing the beans before serving them. If you use dried beans, you'll avoid added sodium, although cooking is usually more time–consuming.

Taming the Wild Bean: Easing Digestion

If beans give you a bit of indigestion or gas, here are some ideas that will help solve this problem.

  • Start with modest servings.
  • Some people notice that smaller beans are easier to digest, so try black beans, black–eyed peas, and lentils, and work your way up to pinto, kidney, and fava beans.
  • After soaking dried beans, drain them, and then cook them in fresh water. It may also help to add a pinch of baking soda to the soaking water.
  • Always make sure beans are thoroughly cooked. Even some brands of canned beans need more cooking before they are thoroughly cooked.
  • Drain and gently rinse canned beans. This also decreases the amount of salt in beans that were packed with sodium.

 

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