Fiber is something we need daily in our diet to maintain proper health. In this article, we will discuss what fiber is, why we need it, and how we can have it in our lives. Fiber is a carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. It helps our bodies regulate blood sugar and keeps our hunger levels in check. Fiber has many health benefits and we can obtain fiber through food or supplements.
There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber can be dissolved in water. It has been shown to lower glucose and cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber will not dissolve in water. It helps food to move more quickly through the digestive system and helps to regulate the body and prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber keeps an optimal pH level in the intestines by preventing microbes from producing substances that may cause cancer in the colon.
Typically, Americans only consume 15 grams of fiber per day. Recommendations for adult men is 30 to 38 grams per day. Women should consume at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber per day. The recommendations for children, ages one to eight, is that children should consume at least 19-25 grams of fiber per day. Young teenage boys, under the age of 18, should consume at least 31-38 grams of fiber per day. Girls, under the age of 18, should consume at least 26 grams per day. Today, children can be given fiber gummies for kids to help meet the daily requirement. Adults can also include fiber gummies daily to meet their fiber requirement.
Having fiber in our diets helps reduce the risk of conditions. Daily intake of fiber can protect against heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. Type 2 diabetes can be regulated with fiber by controlling blood sugar levels. Diverticular disease, or inflammation of the intestine, and constipation can be controlled with fiber intake by helping to speed up the elimination of toxins in the intestines. Research has been conducted and shows great promise for those who have asthma might have incurred fewer symptoms with increased fiber intake. Increasing fiber will also help to achieve a healthy weight and possibly live a longer life.
Fiber can be found in beans, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pears, avocados, bananas, beets and carrots and fortified foods such as cereals. Soluble fiber can be found in oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, and apples. Insoluble fiber can be found in wheat, brown rice, legumes, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Supplements can be added to daily diets to help increase fiber intake. These supplements can bump up the levels in addition to food consumption.
The ways to obtain more fiber in our diets start with eating breakfast with at least 5 or more grams of fiber per day. Just adding some wheat bran to the morning breakfast cereal or oatmeal will help. Whole grains should be added to the daily diet by having at least 2 grams per serving. This can be switching to whole grain loaves of bread or cereals instead of white loaves of bread or sugared cereals. We should incorporate more legumes, lentils, fruits, and vegetables into our daily diets. It is recommended that at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables should be in our daily diet. Baked foods can be “bulked up,” with using whole grain flours, bran, or oatmeal in place of white flours and helps to increase our fiber intake. Snacking on nuts or dried fruits will also increase fiber intake. With all this increased fiber intake, drinking lots of water is encouraged to help aid the fiber through our systems. This helps to clean our digestive systems of the harmful substances that cause diseases.
By increasing the fiber in our diets, whether through food or supplements, fiber can help regulate our bodies and improve our health. Ideally, getting the proper fiber levels through consuming fiber-rich food is what we should be getting on a daily basis. This can be achieved by concentrating our diets on fiber-rich foods and using supplements as needed to obtain better health.