April is IBS Awareness Month and a great time to take a look at how much fiber is in your diet. It’s estimated that the average adult eats only 15 grams of dietary fiber per day. How much fiber do you need? The FDA recommends that adult women eat 25 grams per day and men should get about 38 grams (about 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed).
Where to Turn
The next time you’re in the grocery store, take a closer look at food labels of the items you frequently buy. Remember that foods claiming to be “high in fiber” should contain at least 5 grams of fiber per serving according to the FDA.
The U.S. government’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend eating more plant foods – vegetables, legumes, fruit, whole grains and nuts – to meet the daily requirements. Avoid refined and processed grains like white flour, white pasta and white rice.
For the Kids
Many foods packaged and marketed to children contain refined grains, which have been stripped of their fiber content. Look for these less processed options for your little ones (and you!):
- Whole grain pasta
- Bran or whole wheat cereal with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving
- Fresh fruit with the skin still on it (berries, plums, grapes and peaches)
- Beans like lentils, edamame and black beans
A Fiber Bonus
In addition to providing digestive benefits, a proper fiber intake can lower the risk of coronary disease, metabolic syndrome and obesity. Fiber makes you feel fuller longer and can help curb the urge to overeat. It takes longer to chew and stays in your stomach longer, absorbing water to make you feel full.
Fiber Facts and Fiction
Fiber is a “fad-food” right now, and manufacturers are isolating specific types of fiber and adding them to packaged foods to take advantage of the craze. But just as we’re learning more about different types of soy protein, research is showing how complex fiber is as well.
Most people don’t realize that there are actually two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Each takes on a different role in the digestive system.
Insoluble Fiber: can’t be dissolved in water, passes through the intestinal track without changing form; will increase the frequency, water content and ease of bowel movements. It can be found in whole grains, barley, couscous, brown rice, wheat bran, nuts, seeds, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, celery, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, grapes and tomatoes. Insoluble fiber prevents constipation and reduces the risk of diverticular disease.
Soluble Fiber: dissolves in water, is smooth and soothing to the digestive track; can also lower the risk of heart disease, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It can be found in beans, peas, lentils, oatmeal, oat bran, nuts, seeds, apples, pears, strawberries and blueberries. Soluble fiber is associated with lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, regulation of blood sugar and a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Fiber is one amazing multi-tasker. Whether your goal is weight loss, improved digestion or heart health, fiber does it all. But despite common knowledge of fiber’s many benefits, 95% of Americans don’t get the American Dietetic Association’s recommended 21-35 grams per day. Fortunately, FibRestore® provides 10 grams of combined soluble and insoluble fiber per serving. One scoop of FibRestore is the first step in getting your digestive system on the right track.