Fiber is often a forgotten, but important nutrient. It is found in almost everything we eat. From fruits and vegetables to grains, nuts, dried beans, and peas, we eat servings from these foods daily. If you eat these foods daily, you should be getting fiber. But the problem with fiber is that we don’t eat enough to get the proper amount necessary to enjoy its many benefits.
How much fiber do your need?
It is recommended the average person consume 25-35 grams of fiber per day. Depending on your age, activity level and/or state of health, this amount can vary.
What are the benefits of eating fiber?
Fiber helps manage many chronic diseases and ailments such as diabetes, high cholesterol and/or hyperlipidemia, and constipation. Eating an adequate amount of fiber can help regulate blood sugar levels. When you incorporate high fiber foods like oatmeal into your diet, it can help absorb cholesterol, keeping it from being absorbed in your body. Fiber helps push things through the colon and keeps your bowels regular. Eating the right amount of fiber can help you lose weight because fiber-rich foods help you fill up faster and stay full longer throughout the day.
What foods are high in fiber?
A high fiber food has at least 4 grams of fiber per serving. Some examples are:
- Whole grains (i.e., 100% whole wheat bread, 100% oats). A half-cup of 100% cooked oatmeal contains 4 or more grams of fiber.
- Beans. A half-cup of cooked red, kidney, pinto beans and/or black-eyed peas contain at least 4 grams of fiber.
- Berries. A half-cup of blackberries or raspberries contain 4 or more grams of fiber.
- Skins of fruits and veggies. Whenever you can eat the skins on fruits and vegetables like apples or potatoes, you increase its fiber content.
- Brown rice. It has more fiber than white rice.
A low fiber food has at least 1-3 grams of fiber per serving. Some examples are:
- Popcorn (1 cup popped)
- Sweet potatoes (1/2 cup cooked)
- Carrots (1/2 cup)
- Raisins (1/4 cup)
When increasing your fiber intake, be sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid bloating and excess gas. Fiber is so good for your health! Eat as many fiber-rich foods as you can at each meal and snack to get the fiber you need daily.