Did you know you may not be getting enough fiber? Women under the age of 51 should consume around 25 grams of fiber per day. Men under the age of 51 should strive for about 38 grams. Women over 51 should aim for 21 grams daily while men over 51 should consume about 30 grams per day. Dietary fiber helps you feel fuller longer after eating, helps with weight maintenance, and helps keep blood sugar levels in the healthy range. Fiber may also help lower cholesterol and help prevent constipation and diverticulosis.
Natural Sources of Fiber
The skins and peels of fruits and vegetables are natural sources of fiber. Beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds also are good sources of fiber. Processed foods and refined foods usually are not as rich in fiber. Other natural fiber sources include pears with skins, raspberries, avocados, almonds, black beans, air-popped popcorn, and pearled barley.
If you want to increase your fiber intake it is best to do so gradually. Drinking lots of water is also recommended because fiber is like a sponge that needs water to expand. It is possible to experience nausea or constipation if you do not get enough water as you incorporate more fiber in your diet.
Fiber is found in whole foods naturally. Supplements can provide fiber, however, studies have found that supplements may not have all the benefits like natural fiber foods do. These “natural fiber” benefits include the feeling of fullness and possibly a lack of other essential nutrients.