For Health and Longevity Make Fiber Your Friend

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Do you consume enough dietary fiber for optimal body function? According to the American Heart Association, the average individual should consume about 25 grams of fiber per day on a 2,000-calorie diet, but this number adjusts based on age and gender. According to the Mayo Clinic Institute of Medicine women under 50 years of age should consume about 25 grams per day, whereas, women over 50 years of age should consume about 21 grams per day. Similarly, men under 50 years of age should consume approximately 38 grams per day, and men over 50 should consume approximately 30 grams per day.

Now you know how much fiber you need to eat daily, but you may still be wondering why. Dietary fiber has numerous health benefits such as: regulating bowel movements, reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, maintaining gut health, lowering cholesterol levels, leveling blood sugars, managing hunger ques and aiding in weight management. A fiber rich diet will aide in overall longevity and proper body function.

Fibe Rich Foods

There are 2 types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is easily dissolved in water and is broken down into a gel-like substance when digested in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and is left intact as it travels through the GI tract. Consumption of insoluble fiber is especially beneficial for individuals who struggle with constipation as it helps food travel through the colon.

Tips to maximize fiber content daily:

  • Aim for food in its most natural form; least processed
  • Get whole grains instead of manufactured grains
  • Eat whole fruits & vegetables instead of juiced versions
  • Add extra fiber to breakfast foods like oatmeal, toast, muffins, etc.
  • Add legumes & beans to soups and casseroles
  • Snack on fruits, vegetables & nuts
  • Research the best way to eat specific foods to maximize fiber content: raw, steamed, grilled, blanched, roasted, etc.

Sources of Soluble Fiber:

  • Oats
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Apples
  • Citrus fruit
  • Carrots
  • Barley

Sources of Insoluble Fiber:

  • Whole-wheat flour
  • Wheat bran
  • Nuts
  • Vegetables
  • Potatoes

If you are not reaching your daily servings of fiber, set a goal and start working towards it. It will benefit your health and GI function immensely.

Lindsay Wisnicky Greater Green Bay YMCA
ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach