A diet that is high in fiber is protective against many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. Fiber is found in plant foods and comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble. With soluble fiber, the material absorbs water. This adds bulk to stools and aids with the digestive process. Insoluble fiber passes straight through your body's digestive tract and promote bowel regularity. Consider these ways in which being a vegetarian naturally increases your dietary intake of this healthy nutrient.
Eating Whole Grains
Eating whole grains is the basis of most vegetarian diets. Whole grains such as oats, quinoa, barley and brown rice are high in soluble and insoluble fiber. If you start out your day with some peanut butter on whole wheat toast or a bowl of oatmeal with almonds and dried fruit, you are getting in a good amount of fiber. Seeds also count as grains. Rich in insoluble fiber, seeds are also an important source of protein in a vegetarian diet. Eating a bowl of oatmeal and a quarter cup of seeds every day would satisfy your daily intake for both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Taking Soluble Fiber Supplements
If your diet does not provide you with enough soluble fiber, supplements of this product may be helpful to your digestion. Soluble fiber supplements come in capsules and in a powder form that can be mixed into your drinks. Most soluble fiber supplements do not have a noticeable taste, smell or texture. You can mix a dose of the supplement into your morning orange juice, tea or coffee. If you enjoy a smoothie for breakfast or you do your own juicing, you could add the soluble fiber supplement to those snacks and meals, too. Be sure to drink plenty of water when you are taking a soluble fiber supplement. You may need to drink more than the recommended eight glass of water per day because the extra fiber will be soaking up some of that water.
Juicing Fruits and Vegetables
If you get most of your fruit and vegetable intake from juicing, then you may not be getting enough fiber. The fiber in fruits is contained within their pulp. If possible, get orange juice with the pulp in it. Making your own juice allows you to take in some of the fiber through pulp. Putting a banana in your juice or smoothie not only thickens the drink, but it also adds some fiber. A fiber supplement is a good idea if the majority of your fruit and vegetable intake is the result of juicing.
Snacking on Fruits and Vegetables
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables at meal times and as a snack is a good way to increase your fiber intake. Consider keeping some containers of hand-cut vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, peppers and cauliflower in your refrigerator. Pair them with some hummus and you have a healthy and satisfying meal on the go or snack at home. The hummus contains legumes, which are another hearty source of fiber. Slicing up fresh fruits or eating plums, peaches or pears whole is another good way to boost your fiber intake. You can also enjoy fruit as a healthy dessert. Consider sliced strawberries with a dash of vanilla or cinnamon-flavored sugar or grilled pineapple with brown sugar.
If your current diet has been low in fiber, increase your intake gradually. A sudden increase in fiber intake may be more than your digestive system can handle. Gradually increasing your fiber intake through healthy vegetarian foods or a daily supplement can help you to enjoy good digestion, regular bowel movements and a decrease in discomfort caused by constipation, bloating, and gas.