WHAT IS FIBER?
Fiber is a substance founds in foods such as grains, fruits, and vegetables. There are 2 kinds of fiber. One kind is called “soluble fiber” and is found in fruits, oats, barley, beans, and peas. The other kind is called “insoluble fiber” and is found in wheat, rye, and other grains. Both kinds of fiber that you eat are called “dietary fiber.”
WHY IS FIBER IMPORTANT TO MY HEALTH?
High fiber diets are recommended for the general population rather than for people with certain health conditions because of its many health benefits. This is because it is well known that consumption of the recommended amount of dietary fiber helps to maintain health and wellness. While many consumers are familiar with the role of fiber in promoting gastrointestinal health and regularity, there are a number of other health benefits that exist. These include: reduces constipation, promotes bowel regularity, reduces cholesterol levels, reduces blood glucose levels, and helps maintain a healthy weight
TIPS FOR INCREASING FIBER INTAKE
- Set a fiber goal. The recommended amount of fiber is 20-35 grams a day. Nutrition labels on foods can show you much fiber you receive in each serving. To see a list of foods high in fiber go to https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/pdf/posthandout_session6.pdfIf you find you are running short of your daily fiber goal, we recommend starting a fiber supplement. There are many types of fiber supplements available and they are all over the counter. We recommend a 4 gram dose per day. Over the counter supplements include:
Psyllium Fiber (Metamucil)
Wheat dextran (Benefiber)
- Increase your fiber slowly. If you try adding too much fiber too quickly you might experience gas, cramps, or diarrhea. Each fiber supplement has a different working ingredient so if one supplement does not work for you, try another!
- Since fiber absorbs water, it is important that your water intake is adequate. We recommend 64 oz of water daily.
If you continue to experience troublesome gastrointestinal symptoms even after incorporating fiber, you should visit with your primary care physician for evaluation.