We are trying to lead a healthy lifestyle. Doctors advise us to avoid processed food, take vitamins, and to exercise on a regular basis. Part of leading a healthy life style includes including plenty of fiber in our diets. Most men and women consume only 15gms of fiber a day. The daily recommendation for men is 35gms daily of fiber and for women the recommendation is 25gms. You can increase your fiber by 7gms a day by increasing vegetable and fruit consumption by two portions a day.
Good sources of fiber include what, rice, oats, barley and beans. Also fiber can be found in nuts and seeds, carrots, cauliflower, citrus fruits, strawberries and apples.
There’s no shortage of research showing how fiber may boost your health. Some of its top potential benefits include:
- Blood sugar control: Soluble fiber may help to slow your body’s breakdown of carbohydrates and the absorption of sugar, helping with blood sugar control.
- Heart health: An inverse association has been found between fiber intake and heart attack, and research shows that those eating a high-fiber diet have a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease.
- Stroke: Researchers have found that for every seven-grams more fiber you consume on a daily basis, your stroke risk is decreased by 7 percent.
- Weight loss and management: Fiber supplements have been shown to enhance weight loss among obese people,3 likely because fiber increases feelings of fullness.
- Skin health: Fiber, particularly psyllium husk, may help move yeast and fungus out of your body, preventing them from being excreted through your skin where they could trigger acne or rashes.
- Diverticulitis: Dietary fiber (especially insoluble) may reduce your risk of diverticulitis – an inflammation of polyps in your intestine – by 40 percent.
- Hemorrhoids: A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of hemorrhoids.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Fiber may provide some relief from IBS.
- Gallstones and kidney stones: A high-fiber diet may reduce the risk of gallstones and kidney stones, likely because of its ability to help regulate blood sugar.
Bottom Line: High-fiber foods are good for your health. But adding too much fiber too quickly can promote intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. Increase fiber in your diet gradually over a period of a few weeks. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change. Finally, drink plenty of water. Fiber works best when it absorbs water, making your stool soft and bulky.
Modified from article by Dr. Maureen Hecker-Rodriguez from Touro Infirmary