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Fiber: Adding Fiber Into Your Diet



Fiber. If you're reading this, then you're probably wondering, what exactly is fiber, and how do people know if they are getting enough of it into their diet?


Fiber is an impactful nutrient found in fruits, vegetables, and grains. It plays an important role in digestion and overall health, but many Americans often fall short of Adequate Intake of fiber in their diet which can lead to negative health effects, chronic diseases, and colon cancer. Driven to help protect against heart disease, the Dietary Guidelines recommends 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 kcalories of energy (food) intake, but usually individuals consume less than 15 grams of fiber daily. Why, do you think that is? Fiber can be confusing for some individuals, so let’s go over a few key topics about fiber.


The Adequate Intake (AI) for Fiber Listed Below:



Types of Fiber

There are several food sources of fiber. Most of fiber is easily passed through the body without being digested. This helps to promote peristalsis in digestion and aids to improve bowel movement functionalities, including softer bulk and regularity. Many people reference dietary fibers by their solubility factors. Soluble fibers include foods such as fruits, oats, beans, and peas. Insoluble fibers include grains such as, wheat and rye. However, health benefits are further linked by the fiber’s viscosity and fermentation properties. A good example of this are oats, a beta-glucan fiber that is low-fat, water-soluble, fermentable and viscous due to its gel-forming properties, which helps to transport LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) out of the body through bile synthesis. For this reason, eating oatmeal every day can be a great option to help lower LDL cholesterol and refrain individuals from having to take statins (cholesterol lowering medication).


Fiber and Food Sources:




Benefits of Fiber:

Including fiber into your diet helps to lower risk of constipation, hemorrhoids, diarrhea, and control of bowel movements. While fiber helps to lower cholesterol levels, it also helps with blood sugar control, because of these factors it aids in lowering risk of mortality due to cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer. Other health benefits, include appetite, satiety, and weight control, along with some GI disorders, making it a very resourceful nutrient. It's qualitative health benefits are reasons to incorporate fiber rich foods as a regular approach, when planning or preparing meals.


A Simple Way to Include Fiber In Your Lunch:

If you are a busy college-student like me, or just looking for ways to incorporate more fiber into your regular lunchtime sandwich, strive for a good source of fiber intake of 10% or 2.5 grams of fiber per serving, and 20% or 5 grams per serving if you'd like to strive for an excellent source of fiber! This can be done by simply finding whole-grain wheat bread at the grocery store that holds 3 grams fiber or more, per slice of bread. Of course, don't forget to add some leafy greens for additional fiber and micronutrients!


Check out my Cucumber Caprese Sandwich on Instagram.

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Best In Health,



Melissa Marie




References:

  1. Gropper SS, Smith JL, Carr TP. Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. 8th ed. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning; 2022.

  2. Marie M. Cucumber caprese sandwhich . Instagram/ MAMI FIT OFFICIAL; 2023.





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