You know that fiber is beneficial for a healthy digestive system. However, there are many more health benefits of fiber, especially for seniors. Numerous studies have proven that high-fiber foods are important for older adults because they lead to lower cholesterol, help control blood sugar levels, normalize bowel movements, and help maintain a healthy weight. Fiber is found in a lot of foods—fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, grains, and cereals—so it’s easy to add to daily meals. Unfortunately, many aging adults aren’t getting enough fiber in their diets.
A recent study published in The Journals of Gerontology, found a correlation between fiber intake and successful aging. After ten years, 15.5 percent of the participants were said to have a successful aging status. The subjects with higher fiber intake were nearly 80 percent more likely to live longer, healthier lives.
Breakfast is a great meal to load up on beneficial fiber. Try these delicious high-fiber choices and kick-start your day:
- Breakfast Bean Burrito. Scramble one egg or egg whites and toss in ¼ cup black beans. Place the mixture in the center of a warmed 5″ whole grain tortilla. Top with a tablespoon of salsa and wrap it up for a high-fiber breakfast that you can eat on the go.
- High-Fiber Cereal with Fruit. Breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated! A bowl of high-fiber cereal topped with fruit and low-fat milk is great. Because of their high fiber content, choose berries such as blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries, either fresh or frozen. Choose a cereal with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving, such as bran flakes or shredded wheat.
- Peanut Butter Banana English Muffin. Top a whole wheat English muffin with a tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter. Add sliced banana and even some raisins and you’ll be brought back to your childhood days.
- Fruit and Nutty Oatmeal. Make your favorite oatmeal with water or low-fat milk. Then top it with a tablespoon of dried fruits and unsalted chopped nuts. The best high-fiber dried fruits are apricots, dates, plums, and raisins. Making oatmeal with low-fat milk results in a creamy, flavorful taste. Want even more fiber? Add flax seeds for some extra crunch.
- Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes or Waffles. Substitute whole-wheat flour in your favorite pancake or waffle batter, then toss in fresh or frozen blueberries. Top it with more blueberries for a warm and yummy breakfast everyone will love. Crunched for time? Make a large batch on the weekend and store the leftovers in the freezer. When you want them, just pop them into the toaster for a few minutes.
- Veggie Scrambled Eggs, Whole Grain Toast, and Tomato Juice. Scramble an egg or egg white, and toss in a handful of spinach leaves, peppers, mushrooms, or even leftover broccoli from dinner last night to make a healthy scramble. Toast whole grain bread, an English muffin, or a bagel and wash it all down with a glass of tomato juice for a fast and easy fiber-rich meal.
- Blackberry Yogurt Breakfast Parfait. This colorful treat will look and feel more like dessert if you serve it in a clear glass! Plus, you can prep it the night before. Alternate layers of low-fat vanilla yogurt (use Greek for more protein) with blackberries. When you’re ready to eat, add a tablespoon of granola to the top.
- Strawberry Banana Smoothie. Start with one cup of strawberries. Add ½ cup plain, nonfat Greek style yogurt, ½ banana, ½ cup orange juice, and a few ice cubes. Blend in the blender and you have a healthy meal in minutes. This is a winner for people who don’t really like to eat first thing in the morning but don’t mind drinking something sweet on their way out the door.