Are you eating enough fiber? Both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend women consume 25g of fiber a day, while men should consume 38g. The benefits of eating more fiber range from making you feel fuller, feeding the good bacteria in the intestines, and lowing cholesterol levels. In addition, high-fiber foods are also great for providing fewer calories. To understand how fiber affects your metabolism, it is important to understand what fiber is and what the guidelines are for consuming fiber.
What is dietary fiber?
Dietary fiber is classified into two groups: soluble and insoluble.
- Soluble fiber is thicker and dissolves in water forming a gel-like material when mixed with the fluids in your stomach. This type of fiber slows the digestion process, allowing your body to gain all of the nutrients. Common types include oats, raspberries, apples, lemons, blueberries, and strawberries.
- Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, meaning it promotes the movement of material through the digestive system. Good sources include spinach, broccoli, collard greens, almonds, and walnuts just to name a few.
What are the guidelines for consuming fiber?
Gradually, increase foods high in fiber to avoid side effects such as cramping, gas, or bloating. Make sure to increase your fluid intake when adding more fiber to your diet. Avoid processed or refined foods— such as canned fruits and vegetables, pastas, and white bread. Also, try to drink plenty of water as you gradually increase your fiber intake. Ask your physician before upping your fiber intake.
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This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be an exhaustive examination of the subject matter nor a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your primary care physician or healthcare provider before beginning any diet or exercise program.