GG-crackers, F-factor diet, fiber gummies! All of these things are the new hot buys at Whole Foods, but really, what is fiber? According to LifeScience, fiber is “a plant-based nutrient that is a type of carbohydrate. But, unlike other carbs, it cannot be broken down into sugar molecules.” In short, fiber makes you feel full and is important for digestion, blood sugar regulation, cholesterol maintenance, and weight loss. Because the recommended daily amount for women is 25 to 30 grams grams a day, most people do not consume enough fiber.

So if we are all lacking on fiber, what should we eat?

Beans: Lentils (16 grams per cup), black beans (15 grams per cup) or white beans (17 grams per cup) have the most fiber

Fruits: berries (raspberries and blackberries) (7 grams per cup) or pears (5.5 grams per cup)

Vegetables: broccoli (5 grams per cup), peas (9 grams per cup), Brussels sprouts (6 grams per cup), or squash (8 grams per cup)

My favorite way to add fiber into my diet is making sure to eat whole grains. Unlike white foods, which are highly processed and have had the fiber stripped away, I focus on eating foods such as whole-wheat pasta instead of regular pasta, oatmeal instead of cereal, and barley instead of white rice. Additionally, I add flax, chia, and pumpkin seeds to smoothies and my oatmeal and cereal to make sure I am getting enough fiber into my diet.

Some of my favorite fiber grocery store buys include: Wasa or GG crackers, Cauliflower Puffs, Enlightened Crisps, Kodiak Cake Flapjack Mix, and Smart Sweets. So get shopping and add some more fiber to your diet!

COVER PHOTO: Choosing Health