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Healthy Eating: A Guest Blog by Maria Dellanina, RDN

Increase your Fiber to Decrease your Cholesterol!

One of the best things you could do for your health is to increase your fiber intake. Fiber is important for many reasons and supports so many of our body systems, but today we are exploring how to include it to help us decrease our cholesterol.

What is fiber and where does it come from?

Fiber comes from plant-based carbohydrate sources, such as, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, and seeds. Carbohydrates provide our body with energy (calories), but the fiber within carbohydrates do not provide us with calories.

Instead, it regulates our digestive system, regulates our blood sugar, promotes weight maintenance, and decreases risk of gastrointestinal cancers. Lastly, it helps pull excess, unnecessary cholesterol out of our body to be excreted as waste.

When beginning to increase your fiber intake, we say, “start low, go slow.”

We don’t want you to experience negative side effects such as bloating and gas. You can increase fiber by 1 source each week and then as long as you don’t experience side effects, you can slowly continue to increase.

You’ll also want to increase your water intake as you increase fiber to prevent constipation.

Here are some ways to increase your fiber intake:

- Start to think of your vegetables (both starchy and non-starchy) as your main dish and your protein as your side dish

- do you always have one or both present at dinner?

- If not, do you have a whole grain or bean present?

- Always have cut up fruit or easy peel fruit on hand and visible on your counter or in the fridge. Choose whole fruit over fruit juice, most of the time, as juice does not contain fiber.

- Top some nuts or seeds (including chia or flax seeds) on to salads, yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothie bowls.

- Make or purchase bean dips, such as hummus. Use raw vegetables, or whole grain crackers for dipping.

- Spread ½ an avocado on your whole grain bread.

- Add beans to your salads, burrito bowls, rice dishes, or soups/stews.

- Opt for lentil-based pastas on occasion for added fiber (& protein!).

Stop in today to find all of these fiber-rich foods and so much more!

Maria Dellanina, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

@thefoundationaldietitian on Instagram

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