A Top Food for Boosting Fiber Intake
Beans are a great place to start getting the fiber you need. Just a half-cup of kidney or pinto beans has about 7 grams of total fiber and 1 gram of soluble fiber—and they’re good sources of vitamins, minerals, and protein.
Generally, experts suggest eating beans several times a week. The following simple tips will make it easy to get these legumes in regular rotation.
- Canned or fresh? Your call. Do not worry if you do not have the time or patience to soak beans overnight and boil them for hours. Canned beans are just as nutritious as fresh and dried beans. Buy cans marked "low sodium" and rinse the beans to help get rid of some of the extra salt. (Frozen beans are good, too.)
- Go gradually. Many people worry about getting gassy from beans. Adding a lot of fiber to your diet at once also may cause cramps and bloating. That’s why experts suggest upping your fiber intake gradually so your digestive system can adjust. To help reduce the gas-inducing quality of fresh and dried beans, change the water several times during soaking and cooking. And simmer beans slowly until tender, to make them easier to digest.
- Try swapping them in for meat. Is it taco night at home? Use black beans (or a combination of beans) instead of ground beef in the filling. You can even make a tasty bean burger or mock meatloaf.
- Add to salads. You can open a can of cooked garbanzo, kidney, or black beans, rinse, and mix with your leafy greens.
- Add to whatever’s simmering. In stews and soups, lentils, lima beans, or fava beans make tasty and healthy additions.
- Spread the word. Pureed beans can be used to create dips and spreads.