Although the importance of fiber is something that we all hear constantly, it is still an overlooked aspect of many of our diets.
Fiber is a substance found in fruits, veggies, and grains and eating a diet that is high in fiber has many health benefits. A high fiber diet is so important for digestive issues including constipation, diarrhea, and hemorrhoids. Fiber directly improves the consistency of stool and promotes regular, smooth bowel movements, which can leave you feeling great and less bloated. In addition to digestive health, fiber can help decrease cholesterol, risk of stroke and heart disease, and risk of type II diabetes.
Fiber works because it is not absorbed or digested by your intestines, and as it travels through your digestive tract it aids in the absorption of other foods and improves stool consistency.
So we’ve established the basics on why fiber is great for your body. But how much fiber do you need to consume each day to see these benefits? The answer is, A LOT! It is recommended that you consume 20-35 grams of fiber per day. The easiest way to track your fiber is by checking food labels and determining the amount of total fiber per serving. However, getting to this amount of daily fiber can be challenging for most people. For example, to get to 30 grams of fiber you’d have to eat 7 apples in one day, or 7.5 cups of oatmeal, or 20 cucumbers. You may think that you’ve increased the fiber in your diet, however chances are that you haven’t increase your fiber intake enough to see a real difference.
If you’re not reaching your fiber goals with dietary fiber intake, a great way to up your fiber is by adding in a fiber supplement. When taking a fiber supplement, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase your fiber intake as your body tolerates it. Too much fiber too quickly can cause painful bloating and cramping. It is also important to take your fiber with a large glass of water to help prevent these side effects. Increasing your water intake also helps decrease constipation and improves gut health thereby making it a win-win!
Fiber is such an important component of good gut health and overall wellness. By reaching your daily fiber goals, you can help prevent future medical conditions and improve the way you feel.
Invest in yourself by increasing your daily fiber!
Sources: Wald, Arnold (2019). Patient education:HIGH FIBER DIET (BEYOND THE BASICS). UPTODATE RETRIEVED OCTOBER 20, 2019.