Increasing your fiber intake has many benefits including improved blood sugars, lowered cholesterol, promotion of regular bowel movements, increased satiety (feeling full after eating) which may decrease total calorie intake, decreased risk of diverticular disease and possible decreased risk of colon cancer!
In the last blog post I wrote I encouraged eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables, which are all sources of fiber. Beans, nuts and seeds also provide fiber in your diet. If you choose to eat these foods regularly you will likely meet the recommended fiber intake.
Recommended fiber intake for women is 25 grams per day and for men is 38 grams per day. If you are 51 years of age or older it is recommended that women consume 21 grams of fiber per day and that men consume 30 grams of fiber per day.
When increasing fiber in your diet, increase gradually to avoid any gastrointestinal discomfort and distress (i.e. gas, stomach pain, and bloating). Don’t forget to drink plenty of water to keep your stools soft.
If you currently have a low fiber intake you may want to start with a goal of making at least half of your grains whole grain, and adding an additional serving of fruit and vegetable each day. Slowly increase towards the goal of choosing whole grains at most meals and eating several servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Include beans, nuts and seeds on a regular basis as well.