The majority of people in the US don't eat as well as they should. Too often the allure of a quick and often cheap meal is too much to resist for folks with busy lives. In the rush to get out the door in the morning, that pit stop at the fast food restaurant for an easy breakfast seems unavoidable, and that leftover pizza that has been sitting in the fridge becomes a likely default for supper after a long day of work when all you want to do is relax. Both of these are common scenarios -- and excuses! -- for not eating properly. However, the trouble really starts when you try to move away from that lifestyle...
Unfortunately, sometimes going on a weight loss plan or attempting to transition to a fresh food only diet can leave you feeling less satisfied. Your body becomes accustomed to all those calories and fats you've been ingesting, and it can be hard to re-acclimate to healthier eating habits. One solution for increasing the fullness factor and overall satisfaction of any meal is to increase the amount of fiber you take in...
The following information is courtesy of healthyeating.sfgate.com:
Types of fiber
Soluble fiber and insoluble fiber comprise the two major subcategories of the essential nutrient. Soluble fiber dissolves in water to help regulate your blood sugar and decrease LDL, or bad, cholesterol. Insoluble fiber remains intact and absorbs water as it moves through your intestines. The bulk of insoluble fiber sweeps waste from and maintains a healthy pH in your colon.
Benefits of fiber
Insoluble fiber provides other benefits beyond promoting satiety. Because the added bulk of insoluble fiber makes your stools softer, they become easier to pass, which can help treat and prevent constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulosis...Insoluble fiber also regulates bowel movements, which alleviates some symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Lastly, many studies have associated increased fiber intake with a lower risk of colon cancer.
Foods that provide fiber
Most vegetables are high in insoluble fiber, which helps prevent constipation because of its laxative effect. Carrots, cucumbers and zucchini are good sources of insoluble fiber. A half-cup of artichoke hearts provides 7 grams of fiber, and a half-cup of green peas or mixed vegetables supplies 4 grams.
Whole Grains & Nuts
A half-cup of cooked barley provides 3 grams of fiber, and bulgur has 4 grams of roughage in a half-cup. Oat bran, oatmeal, whole-grain bread and whole-wheat pasta are good sources of fiber. Whole grains are sources of iron and B vitamins. Nuts and peanuts are sources of fiber and healthy fats.
Most fruits provide soluble fiber, a nutrient that helps lower your cholesterol levels and control your blood sugar. Apples, citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit, pears and berries are high in roughage. A medium pear has 5.5 grams of fiber and a half-cup of blackberries provides 4 grams. Dried figs have 4 grams of fiber per quarter-cup.
Legumes include lentils, split peas and beans such as lima, garbanzo, kidney, black, great Northern and pinto. Each half-cup of legumes supplies 5 to 10 grams of dietary fiber. Legumes are sources of soluble fiber, and they are also good sources of protein, and provide potassium, folate, iron and zinc.
The amount of fiber an individual should consume each day will vary depending on their gender and age: Men aged 50 and younger should take in about 40 grams of fiber per day, while women in the same age bracket should be consuming about 25 grams. Folks over the age of 50 are encouraged to eat slightly less -- about 30 grams for men, and 20 grams for women.
Note: As you increase the fiber in your diet, you may experience more intestinal gas. Increasing fiber gradually will allow your body to adapt. Because some fibers absorb water, you should also drink more water as you increase your fiber intake.