Nutrition Wellness

Are You Getting Enough Fiber?

August 25, 2015

Are You Getting Enough Fiber?

First of all, why do we even need fiber?  Adequate fiber in the diet is important in normalizing bowel movements and maintaining bowel integrity.  Fiber also can contribute to lowering blood cholesterol and controlling blood sugars.  Fiber also keeps our body feeling fuller longer so we tend to eat less which helps us achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

How are we supposed to know how much fiber to have?  It is recommended that women should get at least 21-25 grams per day and men 30-38 grams per day.  Those who are 50 years or younger should aim for the higher end of this range.  Check with your dietitian before consuming a high-fiber diet.  There are some situations where a high-fiber diet may not be best, for instance, if you have gastroparesis (slow emptying of the stomach) among others.

It is important to increase fiber slowly in your diet to reduce discomfort from bloating.  Also, drink plenty of fluids.  Drinking beverages help the body process the fiber without discomfort.

Here are some easy ways to add more fiber to your diet:

One way to add more fiber to your diet is to consume whole grain bread and cereals.  Make sure to check the ingredients for “100% whole wheat.”  Also when checking the nutrition facts label, look for foods that have at least four grams of fiber per serving.  Enjoy a variety of grains including barley, oats, and quinoa.

Choose fresh fruit and vegetables instead of fruit juices.  When eating fruits and vegetables leave the peels or skin on because this is where the fiber is located!  For example, do not take the skin off a baked potato or apple because you’ll miss out on the fiber.

You can also add fiber to foods you love!  For instance, adding ground flaxseed to oatmeal can increase fiber in your diet.  Another thing to add is granola to foods like your favorite yogurt.  If someone is having a hard time consuming enough food to get adequate fiber in their diet considers adding Benefiber powder – in two teaspoons there are six grams of fiber!

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