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chia seed pudding and fruit

Fiber: It Moves Me!

Fiber: It Moves me!

rainbow colored cut and whole vegetables overflowing the bowl

Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

Have you ever wondered how much fiber you need in your diet? Well, you’re in the right place at the right time! Fiber is very important to include in your diet daily to maintain your digestive health. Just like a car needs its proper fluids to keep moving and functioning properly, we need fiber! How much do you need on a daily basis? What are some ways to add it to your meals and keep it flavorful? We’ve got all of your unanswered questions right here for you!

Benefits of Fiber

Fiber can help relieve and reduce the symptoms of constipation. By getting your fiber intake to where it needs to be, you will normalize your bowel movements. An additional benefit of consuming the right amount of fiber is that it can help you feel full longer after consuming your meals, which may benefit in aiding weight loss. In addition, fiber aids in regulating blood sugar and lowering cholesterol levels.

Guy spreading his arms wide in front of a sunrise

Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

Fiber is also beneficial in a way of potentially reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Consuming the recommended daily fiber intake will keep your digestive tract in top shape and will help you live a longer healthier life!

 

 

Daily Intake
  • Men need 38 grams of fiber a day,
  • Women need 25 grams of fiber a day.
  • Women over 50 need 21 grams a day.
  • Men over 50 need 30 grams a day.

Unfortunately, in the United States we take in an average of only 10-15 grams of fiber each day.

Types of fiber
Soluble fiber, which dissolves in water.
  • Can help lower glucose levels and cholesterol
  • Includes fruits, oats, barley, legumes, peas and beans, vegetables, such as broccoli and carrots, and most root vegetables.

Below are some examples of chia seeds in water. These images show the viscosity of the chia seeds when they are wet. This is because chia seeds soften in the presence of liquid and have the unique ability to “gel” due to their soluble fiber.

viscous chia seeds

Chia seeds and a little water becoming viscous because of chia’s soluble fiber. Photo by Rayshawn Currie

chia seeds in a glass with a little water

Chia seeds and a little water in a glass. Photo by Rayshawn Currie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insoluble fiber, doesn’t dissolve in water.
  • Helps food move through the digestive system
  • Promotes regularity and prevents constipation
  • Includes corn bran, the skin of most fruits from trees such as apples, bananas, avocado; many green vegetables such as zucchini, green beans, celery; cauliflower, tomatoes, and kiwi. Also, you can get insoluble fiber from whole grains, nuts and seeds.
apples and pears on a tablecloth

Photo by Mike Leffler

How can you include fiber in your day?
ice cream topped with blueberries and blackberries with peanuts on the side

Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

girl stepping carefully from one rock to the next rock in a lake

Taking a step to get a little farther. Fiber will move you! Photo by by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash.

There are many different ways you can add fiber to your day! Try being creative when you’re adding fiber to your salads, main dishes, and desserts. You can cut up some fruit and veggies, which may be a great addition to your salad. Try sprinkling some of your favorite seeds onto your meals to add a more flavorful crunch to spark your lunch or dessert! If you’re feeling like you have a sweet tooth, try adding cinnamon to your oatmeal, which has some extra added fiber.

Don’t pass on the great health benefits of fiber and keep it moving you! Are you going to take that first step in meeting your daily intake of fiber? We can get fiber moving us all together!

 

References:

  • Akbar A, Shreenath AP. High Fiber Diet. [Updated 2021 May 9]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559033/
  • Hillan J., Turner E., Dahl W., FACTS ABOUT FIBER.2 December 2018 https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FY849
  • Mcmanus, Katherine, MS, RD, LDN.  “Should I be eating more fiber? Harvard Health Blog 27 February 2019 https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/should-i-be-eating-more-fiber-2019022115927.

 

This blog was written by Family and Consumer Sciences Intern, Rayshawn Currie, under the supervision of Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, Andrea Nikolai, MPH, RDN, LDN.

For fun nutrition and food facts and recipes, follow Andrea on Facebook @polkfcs (UF IFAS Extension Polk County Family and Consumer Sciences).

For questions or comments, please email Andrea Nikolai at andreanikolai@ufl.edu or call 863-519-1072. Please check out http://polkfcs.eventbrite.com for upcoming exciting food and nutrition classes!

UF/IFAS is an equal opportunity institution.

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