The Free Press, Mankato, MN


July 16, 2013

Increase fiber intake for digestive health, weight management benefits

Q: Can you help explain fiber to me? I know that it is good for me, so how can I get enough?

A: There is a lot of talk about fiber — that we should eat more of it and that is has many health benefits, but what exactly is all this hype about? Unfortunately, the average person eats half of the daily recommended amount of fiber. A good rule of thumb is to eat 14 grams per 1,000 kilocalories consumed. Therefore, a woman should eat about 28 grams and a male should eat about 38 grams. If you don’t eat much fiber in your diet, it is important to start incorporating it gradually because it may cause you intestinal discomfort but don’t worry — your body will adjust.

Fiber is only found in plant foods and can’t be digested by our bodies (this is a good thing!). There are two types: soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which our body needs for maximum health benefits.

Soluble fiber: This type of fiber says it in the name — it’s soluble, meaning it dissolves in water. It has been shown that soluble fiber helps decrease blood cholesterol, slows stomach emptying (to keep us fuller longer) and controls blood sugar levels in diabetics. Great food sources of this fiber include whole grains (like oatmeal), fruits and seeds.

Insoluble fiber: This type of fiber does not dissolve in water and is found in the wall of the plant. It is known to help with weight management and constipation. Insoluble fiber is what adds bulk to our stools. Food sources of this fiber include brown rice, legumes and wheat bran.

Fiber can improve bowel health. It can decrease the chance of constipation by increasing the size and weight of your stool, making it easier to pass. On the other hand, if you have diarrhea, fiber will add bulk to the stool to solidify it. Weight management is yet another advantage; high fiber foods generally take longer to chew so you are more likely to think about what you are eating and know when you are full. Because high fiber foods are not broken down by our body, they help to keep us satisfied for a longer period of time.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
Could Sandra Bullock Be Leaving Hollywood After Recent Home Intrusion? Megan Fox Turns Up The Heat At Comic Con Gwyneth Paltrow Did What? Zack Snyder Shares An All-New Batfleck Photo The Secret Behind Sofia Vergara's Gorgeous Hair You're Not Going to Believe Who's Turning 50! Taylor Swift Looks Terrific in a Tummy-Baring Style Joan Rivers Calls Kristen Stewart a "Moron" Blake Lively's Wedding Dress Revealed?! Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Yes It's True! Jessica Biel Returns to TV H-O-T! "Fifty Shades of Grey" Trailer Is Here! A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years Zoe Saldana is Reportedly Pregnant, Will Announce it When She's Ready Kim and Kanye's Daughter Takes Her First Steps Tori Spelling Lets Loose on Marriage Problems Selena Gomez Caught Snuggling With New Guy Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Selena Gomez Celebrates her 22nd Birthday with Cara Delevingne