Easy, Delicious Ways to Get More Roughage and Improve Your Health
Does anyone use the word “roughage” anymore? I haven’t heard it in ages. But odds are, when it comes to roughage, dietary fiber, bulk — whatever you call it — you need more of it in your body. Women should consume at least 25 grams per day, and men should get at least 38 grams per day. The average American, on the other hand, eats only about 10–15 grams. Not good.
I don’t demonize food. All food, from milk to kale to chocolate, is a gift to savor. I think all people should be able to eat whatever sounds and smells and tastes and feels good to them.
But adding more fiber to your diet has undeniable benefits. It’s not just about your bathroom habits; fiber helps lower cholesterol, control blood sugar, and reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease.
I was surprised when I realized the whole wheat bread I’d been buying had so little fiber in it (1 gram per slice). I was more surprised when I learned that some of my favorite foods — raspberries, avocados, passion fruit — are very high in fiber.
But the real winners in the Fiberlympics™ are beans. Depending on the type, they have between 16 and 19 grams per (cooked) cup — double or more than the 8 grams in a serving of oatmeal. Nutrition experts like Dr. Greger recommend eating 3 servings of beans every day. That initially sounded impossible to me.
But then I got sneaky. I realized that if you purée beans, you can add them to almost anything, and they’ll be virtually undetected. In fact, they add pleasing thickness and texture. Soup: check. Casseroles: check. Stir-fried vegetables: check. Oatmeal: check. Cookie dough: check! Smoothies??? Also check!
I know: adding beans to your breakfast porridge might sound a little gagworthy, but whirl a drained-and-rinsed can’s worth up in your blender or food processor (I use my stick blender), stir a half cup of the purée per serving into the oatmeal pot, and give it a try. Here are a couple of recipes:
1/4 cup whole oats
1 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white bean purée
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen) OR 1 chopped unpeeled apple
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger…