If you are like most adults, you probably are not getting enough fiber in your diet. The general consensus is that adult males should consume 38 grams a fiber per day and adult females should consume 25 grams of fiber per day. Many people do not get anywhere near this amount. This might be one of the reasons why so many people cite having ongoing digestive issues.
In this post I will discuss what fiber is, why you need it, how to get it and tips to add more fiber to your diet.
What is fiber?
Fiber is a dietary material that your body cannot break down through digestion. It is very important to the digestive process and it provides many health benefits. Fiber relieves digestive issues like constipation. It is what makes it easier for you to go to the bathroom.
Why do you need it?
Fiber improves digestion by adding bulk and making it easier to go. Fiber can also lower cholesterol, therefore improving heart health. It is also thought to reduce glucose levels in the blood. While no conclusive evidence has been found, there are studies that suggest a link between fiber and preventing colorectal cancer.
How do you get it?
You get fiber from certain foods that you eat, as well as you can also take fiber supplements. It is better to get your fiber from the foods you eat, however if you are struggling to add fiber to your diet then supplements might be a good option.
High fiber foods include: Lentils, bran flakes, bran muffins, berries, apples, pears, black beans, Lima beans, popcorn, and broccoli.
- Eat a small bowl of fruit in the morning with your breakfast.
- Add black beans to a salad or swap out your sandwich with a bean burger.
- Choose whole wheat options for bread and pasta.
- Snack on a bowl of popcorn instead of potato chips. Just lay off the butter and salt.
- Choose whole grain options like brown rice, quinoa, millet, and barley.
- Take a fiber supplement. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, as adding too much fiber can cause bloating, gas, and constipation. Check with your doctor before taking a fiber supplement as it may interact negatively with certain medications.
- Gradually add fiber into your diet. Don’t go from 2 grams a day to 20 grams. This will cause digestive issues as your body is not used to it. It’s recommended to add about 5 grams per week until you are up to a level that works for you.
- Drink lots of water! Water is so important for your body in general, but particularly for digestion. If you are eating a lot of fiber but not drinking enough water, you will experience digestive issues.
Just doing some simple food swaps or adding high fiber foods to your existing meals can help significantly up your fiber intake. For every meal try to add one high fiber food!
What recommendations do you have to add more fiber to your diet?