Recommendations to eat more fiber are nothing new. You’ve probably heard, at one time or another, that you should add more fiber to your diet to “stay regular.” But did you know that there are a number of additional health benefits that fiber can provide? Do you know why fiber is important? Do you know how much you need, and do you know where to find it? (Dr. Foodle Tip: you really don’t need to buy fiber supplements). Studies show that the average intake of fiber is well below where it should be, which means that most people can benefit from adding more fiber to their diets. Read on for Dr. Foodle’s insider look at the importance of fiber!
What is it?
Dietary fiber is mainly found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, and consists of the parts of plants that are not digested by your body. It acts as roughage and passes through your digestive system relatively intact, promoting the movement of other material though the GI tract. There are two main types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like consistency that helps to lower cholesterol and maintain regular blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve, and increases bulk in the stools, helping to promote regularity.
Why is it important?
Consuming a diet high in fiber provides you with an amazing number of benefits:
General recommendations suggest that older children, adolescents, and adults should eat approximately 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories consumed – meaning you should be getting between 21 and 38 grams of fiber each and every day! Determine how much fiber you’re eating on a daily basis by keeping a food diary. Online resources make it easy to look up the fiber content of most foods. If you find that your fiber intake is on the lower side, you’ll be relieved to see that it is extremely easy to add fiber to your meals without compromising taste! Check out Dr. Foodle’s list of favorite high-fiber foods and tell us below how you plan to add more fiber to your own diet!
Dr. Foodle’s Favorite High-Fiber Foods:
Anderson JW, et al. Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutrition Reviews. 2009;67:188.