Are you getting enough fiber?
Odds are you're probably not getting enough fiber in you're diet but you're not alone, some reports suggest that as many as 95% of Americans aren't hitting the mark. In fact, we're clearly so bound up that the highest trending health term last year was hemorrhoids. I'm not kidding, hemorrhoids. No one should have to suffer the many health conditions associated with a lack of fiber when it's readily available in so many nutritious foods. Before I get to some fantastic fiber sources let's review a few fiber basics.
What is fiber and where do we get it? Fiber is a form of carbohydrate found in plant foods that we can't digest or absorb. It's found in beans, peas, lentils, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
Why is fiber important? Fiber keeps your digestive system healthy and regular so you avoid, constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulitis. It slows the absorption of sugar into your blood stream, helps stabilize blood sugar levels and prevents Type 2 diabetes. It promotes heart health by lowering cholesterol, and reducing blood pressure and inflammation. It helps you feel full and satisfied and helps prevent obesity. Fiber may also reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including colon, breast and prostate.
What are the different types of fiber? There are two types of fiber soluble and insoluble and we need both. Soluble fibers such as those found in oats, beans and apples, attract water and move slowly through your system. Insoluble fibers such as those found in whole grains, nuts and vegetables don't dissolve in water and move through your system relatively intact speeding up the passage of food and waste.
How much fiber do we need?
Women under 50 - 25g /day, Women over 50 - 21g/day.
Men under 50 - 38g/day, Men over 50 - 30g/day
10 Fantastic Fiber Rich Foods
Below is a list of some of my favorite, nutritious, natural, whole food sources of fiber and I urge you to add as many as you can to your diet.
Alycia Lee M.S., CDN
New York City Nutritionist offering Preventive and Therapeutic Nutrition Counseling in office, by phone and via skype.