Everyone today knows how eating more food or less does not make your body healthy but what does so is maintaining a proper diet with a precise portion of all the nutrients that your body requires. The following article discusses one such nutrient, i.e., fibers, including the amount of it one must consume in a day, ways to increase your fiber intake, recommended foods, its benefits, and much more.
Though fiber does a lot for the human body, especially the digestive system, the average American consumes only 16 grams of fiber per day, a number that is considerably less than an average person’s recommended daily intake. So, let’s get started on how you should manage this imbalance better.
Fiber And Its Importance
What is known as dietary fiber is a substance from plant cells that the enzymes in the human digestive tract cannot break or, simply, cannot digest. But, though fiber passes through the human body undigested, you cannot overlook the fact that it delivers a plethora of health benefits. One must include fibers from a variety of food sources instead of just one.
Prime Benefits Of Including Fiber In Your Diet
- Lowers Blood Sugar And Cholesterol Levels
- Supports The Weight Loss Process
- Reduces The Risk Of Cardiovascular Diseases Like Heart Disease And Stroke
- Boosts Digestive And Bowel Health
- Ward Off The Risk Of Diabetes
- Fuels The Healthy Bacterias In Your Gut
Types Of Fiber
Fiber is a carbohydrate, and it has two main types – water-soluble fibers and water-insoluble fibers. Both of these types possess different properties and characteristics, so let’s have a brief look.
These types of fibers tend to absorb water during digestion, further slowing down digestion as well. They help reduce the blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels in the body as significant benefits. Soluble fibers are in – vegetables, fruits (like oranges, apples, grapefruits, etc.), legumes (like lentils, peans, dry beans, etc.), oats, oat bran, and barley.
As the name suggests, unlike soluble fibers, these fibers remain unchanged during the process of digestion. The primary role of insoluble fibers is to add bulk to stool, helping it pass quickly and easily through the digestive tract. It also prevents constipation besides other similar digestive issues.
Insoluble fibers are in whole grain products (like pasta, whole wheat bread, crackers, etc.), fruits that contain edible seeds and peel, vegetables, stone-ground cornmeal, bulgur wheat, bran, cereals, brown rice, etc.
Recommended Daily Amount Of Fiber Intakes
As per the AHA (American Heart Association), the per-day amount of fiber in your diet must be 25-30 grams for adults. However, note here that this value may vary as per the age and gender of a person.
- For women under 50, the value goes from 21 grams – 25 grams of fiber per day.
- While for men under the age of 50, the value goes from 30 grams – 38 grams of fiber per day.
- As for children aged between the ages of 1 to 18, 14 grams – 31 grams of fiber per day is essential, varying as per the child’s sex and age.
However, one must remember that this intake must be from various natural fiber sources instead of store-bought fiber supplements for better results.
Tips And Tricks To Boost Your Fiber Intake
So, now that you know how important fiber is for your health, what are some ways to ensure that you consume a fair amount of fiber in your diet? While the most obvious advice is to start eating more and more high-fiber food, how do you think one must go about achieving it?
What’s more, it is essential to note here that the fiber content in your diet must be slowly increased and not in bulk at once to give your body time to get used to the change.
- Keep a jar of wheat germ or oat bran handy and make it a habit to sprinkle it over your salad, soup, yogurt, breakfast cereals, etc.
- Try to use whole-wheat flour for cooking and baking, including choosing whole wheat bread.
- Switch to brown rice from white rice. You may also begin the change by mixing both at first.
- Substitute legumes for meat at last thrice each week.
- Ditch drinking fruit juice; instead, eat whole fruits such as apples, pears, etc. The same goes for vegetable juices, smoothies, etc.
- For snacks, munch on veggies and not chips. You can try a crunchy veggie snack recipe for that added boost of flavors.
- Drink sufficient amounts of water when switching to fiber-rich foods.
Tracking your fiber intake through apps or a timetable is also a great way to maintain a healthy amount of fiber in your diet without overdoing it. This is because as much as fiber is essential, too much fiber can harm your health, causing several issues from gas to bloating, abdominal cramping, etc.
The fiber intakes, though important, must be maintained in a balanced format for an individual to make the most of its health benefits. Furthermore, keep a check and never switch the diet to high fiber foods drastically. Consider fiber supplements as an option only if you believe what you are getting from your diet is not enough. Consult a doctor as soon as possible if any unexpected symptoms, including vomiting, nausea, etc.