What is fiber & why do we need it?
Fiber is the part of plant foods that is not digested. Eating plenty of fiber-rich foods can:
- Help lower your cholesterol
- Help control your blood sugar response
- Keep your digestive system running smoothly and prevent constipation
- Help you feel full after eating
How much fiber?
More than 90% of women and 97% of men do not meet recommended intakes of dietary fiber. Health experts recommend that adults eat at least 22-34 grams of fiber daily. A balance of soluble and insoluble fibers is recommended. Eating according to MyPlate can help you meet your dietary fiber goal.
Tips to remember:
- Drink plenty of fluids to keep fiber moving through your body.
- Increase your fiber intake slowly over several weeks. This will prevent excess gas or bloating.
- Start your morning with fiber by having a bowl of whole grain cereal like shredded wheat, bran flakes, or oatmeal.
- Check the nutrition facts label. Five grams or more of fiber per serving is considered high. Look for whole grain bread with at least 2 to 3 grams of fiber per slice.
Eating plenty of both types of fiber
This type of fiber forms a gel when mixed with liquid and acts as a scrub brush in the digestive system.
- Eat fruits and vegetables (apples, pears, eaggplant, etc.) with edible skin left on.
- Plan meals with legumes (dried beans, peas, and lentils) several times a week.
- Eat oatmeal often - as a cereal or in breads, muffins, and desserts.
- Try recipes with barley. Check out our Vegetable Barley Soup recipe.
- Eat fruit and vegetables with seeds, like strawberries and zucchini.
This type passes through your digestive tract largely intact and may help with lowering cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar.
- Choose brown rice instead of white rice and whole grain bread instead of white bread.
- Snack on popcorn, dried fruits, raw vegetables, and nuts.
- Eat plenty of vegetables, such as green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and potatoes.