The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that women eat about 25 grams of fiber per day, or 21 grams if they’re over 50 years.
For men, they recommend a daily fiber intake of 38 grams or 30 if they’re over 50. They recommended that for several health reasons which you’ll learn about shortly.
In reality though, do you know the average amount of fiber that American adults both men and women consume in a day? 15 grams!
That’s far less than the recommended average. No wonder Irish physician and fiber enthusiast Denis Burkitt said years ago that America is a constipated Nation.
The result of not eating enough fiber has more adverse effects than constipation. It changes the way your gut functions, affects your metabolism, might cause you to gain weight, and may even shorten your life span.
Importance of eating fiber
There are many examples that highlights the crucial importance of eating fiber today.
A good one of note is a study in the 80’s which found out that rural Japanese dwellers lived longer than their urban counterparts, just for one single reason.
They ate more fiber than the urban dwellers. Their diet were rich in fiber.
Another study in 2017 shows that the amount of fiber you consume on a daily basis is directly connected with the amount and variety of the bacteria in your gut or intestines.
Eating more fiber allows the bacteria in your gut to thrive and increase in number and kind. This increase in number of bacteria in your gut also results in the thickening of the mucus wall.
A thick mucus wall is good for our body because it helps to prevent inflammation. Not only that, the increased amount and types of bacteria in your gut also helps to improve and aid digestion of food in it.
All this is as a result of simply eating more fiber.
What is more? Eating fiber is also connected to weight loss, because fibrous foods keep you filled for long, making you eat less.
Eating too much fiber however has its disadvantages. It can cause digestive distress, intestinal blockages and gas.
However, in this our modern age, it’s quite difficult to eat too much fiber today, especially since most people are not even eating enough.
6 tips to help you eat more healthy fiber and get the most out of it
There are two types of fiber you can eat, and according to high fiber enthusiasts, you need both of them as they both have their function in the body.
These two types of fiber are soluble and insoluble fiber. Eating meals rich in these two fibers will allow the bacteria in your gut to thrive, which in turn will lead to other important health benefits like easy digestion of meals and weight loss.
With that said, the following tips will help you include fiber in your diet and reap the health benefits.
1. Add fruits and veggies to your diet
This is a no-fail way to start eating healthy fiber immediately. Fruits and vegetables are naturally rich in fiber.
So, eating fruits and vegetables regularly will naturally add more fiber into your diet. Studies have shown that just eating a piece of apple before meals is a very healthy way to add more fiber to your diet and improve your gut health.
2. Reduce processed foods
Processed or refined foods generally has lower fiber content. In fact, juicing also reduces the amount of fiber you get from your fruits as it removes the insoluble fiber from the food as well as the benefits you stand to gain.
So try to add more whole foods that contain whole grains and whole wheats to your diet to get the full fiber content, not just some.
3. Always add fiber to your breakfast
If you haven’t noticed, traditional breakfasts today most likely lacks fiber. As I mentioned above, you can add fiber just by eating a piece of fruit or even some nuts.
4. Try to eat what’s in season
Fruits and veggies that are in season usually tastes better and are likely richer in fiber than those that are out of season.
They’re even less expensive. So, try to eat more fruits and veggies that are in season.
5. Always try to meet your fiber goals for the day
As I mentioned earlier, women needs to consume 25 grams of fiber per day, 21 grams for women older than 50 year.
And men need to consume 38 grams of fiber per day, 30 grams for men older than 50. Always try to reach this goal every day.
If you’re eating at restaurants, be thoughtful, check the menu and try pick fiber rich meals that will help you reach your daily goal.
Pick meals that contain fruits, veggies, beans and legumes to help you achieve this. Your gut will thank you.
6. Don’t eat too much fiber
Going to the extreme on anything is usually not recommended. Try to make sure your meal is balanced with all the necessary nutrients your body needs, rather than just focusing on one (fiber).
Tracking your daily fiber intake is also recommended to help you know if you’re reaching your daily goal or if you need to reduce or increase your daily intake to help you feel better.
Overall, try to make sure your meal contains very little processed foods, and favor whole foods and plant based healthy foods like fruits and veggies.
These will not only help you stay healthy, but will also help you control your weight and keep a happy gut.