Fiber: It Moves me!
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.
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!
- 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.
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.
How can you include fiber in your day?
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!
- 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).
UF/IFAS is an equal opportunity institution.