Fiber is essential for good health. In addition to aiding digestion, regulating blood sugar levels, a diet rich in fiber has been shown to lower risk of certain types of bowel cancer and lower cholesterol levels.
There are two different types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. An apple is a helpful visual to distinguish between the two:
~The peel is insoluble, or indigestible, fiber. It promotes intestinal regularity and/or relief of constipation.
~The juicy inside (pulp) is soluble, or digestible, fiber. It’s been credited with the ability to lower cholesterol levels.
According to The American Heart Association, totally dietary fiber intake should be 25-30 grams a day, preferably from food, rather than supplements.
But…approximately how many grams do you think American adults currently consume?
- 7 grams
- 15 grams
- 22 grams
The answer is B.
In a world glutted with fiber-poor fast foods, processed snacks, and high-fat appetizers, hitting the 25+ grams of fiber mark will take conscious effort. It would equate to eating about 12-15 slices of whole wheat bread. I can almost hear some of you gasping about now. That’s not going to work for those who are gluten-intolerant or who are ‘carbohydrate-averse’. And can you imagine the family member or roommate who reaches for a few slices of bread and finds the bag nearly empty? (“Hey, who ate all the bread?”)
Fiber It Up:
~Choose more fresh fruits and vegetables. Wherever possible, eat the peel and seeds.
~Include peas, beans, whole grain rice/pasta and 100% whole* grains to your diet.
*NOTE: “Wheat bread” on the label simply means wheat flour was used. The original fiber content of the whole grain was stripped in processing.
~Nuts are also a good sourc of fiber, but take it easy on these. They are also calorically dense with calories primarily from fat.
~If necessary, incorporate supplements such as Metamucil or Fiberall. Read the nutrition label carefully for serving size and fiber content.
But before you go ingesting more fiber or heaping spoonfuls of supplements to your smoothies and juices, be warned: adding fiber without upping fluid could create an intestinal back-up the likes of rush-hour traffic on I-10 in Houston. Having grown up in this twisted and tangled metropolis, you don’t want that. It can cause bloating, cramping, and gas. And no one around you will want that.
Aim for at least 8 – 8-ounces of water/fluid a day. Yes, coffee and tea counts as fluid, but the caffeine draws fluid out of the body and can work against your ‘fiber-upping’ effort. As always, pure water is best.
During a month when everyone is pairing together for prom and formals, we mustn’t forget one of the finest nutrition match-ups… fiber and fluid. These two dance well together.
Mary Albers Felkins, author of inspirational romance, creator of happily ever afters
FB Mary Albers Felkins