Getting more fiber in your diet is easier than you think -- just start adding oat bran to your favorite dishes. Oat bran is the outer shell of the oat kernel. It’s full of several B vitamins, antioxidants and, of course, fiber. You can pick up a bag of oat bran from the specialty food section of your local market and start incorporating it into recipes right away.
Fiber in Oat Bran
You’ll get a whopping 4 grams of total fiber from a small 3/4-cup cooked portion of oat bran. Oat bran is loaded with both soluble and insoluble fiber, but it does have a slightly higher amount of soluble fiber. About 2.2 grams of fiber are soluble, while the remaining 1.8 grams are insoluble.
Both fibers are similarly beneficial for your body. Soluble fiber gets its fame by slowing down digestion, thus helping keep your cholesterol and blood sugar levels in check. You need insoluble fiber to keep waste moving through your bowels for regularity and to create stools that are soft and effortless to pass.
Fiber recommendations are based on how many calories you consume. For every 1,000 calories in your diet, you need 14 grams of total dietary fiber, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. As an example, if you usually stick to around 1,600 calories per day, you should get 22 grams of fiber daily. A single 3/4-cup serving of hot oat bran provides nearly 20 percent of your total allotment for the day, based on 1,600 calories.
Oat Bran in Recipes
Oat bran blends perfectly into any of your recipes that contain flour. Use it to replace some of the whole-wheat or white flour in your grandmother’s muffin recipe or add a small amount to boxed muffin mix ingredients. You may have to add a little more liquid to the batch and experiment to perfect the recipe, but you should be able to replace roughly one-fourth of the flour, or more, with oat bran. Oat bran also mixes well with pancake batter, cookie dough and even your favorite brownies.
Oat bran is simple enough to use in a variety of other ways as well. Sprinkle it in with your morning parfait or breakfast cereal to get a burst of crunchiness. You can also stir oat bran into oatmeal topped with sautéed cinnamon apples for a fiber-rich wintertime meal. At lunch, blend oat bran with your salad dressing to soften it a bit and toss with your salad. If you’re looking to get more fiber at dinner, stir a couple spoonfuls of oat bran into rice while it’s on the stove or even a hearty corn chowder. Your significant other will never know you’re sneaking more fiber into his diet.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.