The amount of fiber you need on a daily basis depends on your age and gender.
The standard recommendation for fiber consumption suggests that you should consume a minimum of 25 grams of fiber per day.
However, adult males should actually have a higher intake that is closer to 35 grams per day.
You should note that these marks represent the floors, not the ceilings of what your daily intake should be.
Consuming close to 50 grams of fiber per day can be beneficial to the overall health for people of most ages and genders.
Consuming enough fiber on a daily basis can do wonders for your health, which is why so many people take fiber supplements.
Can I have too much fiber?
This is a debatable topic that has produced no definitive answer as of yet. Most people do not need to worry about consuming too much fiber, but instead consuming too little.
If you consume fiber in the 50 grams per day range, then some health issues may arise. It is possible to experience increased flatulence and diarrhea. However, these symptoms do not characterize all high fiber diets.
What is fiber?
Fiber is an indigestible nutrient that is found in plants. There are two types of fiber that can be consumed: insoluble, and soluble.
These different types of fiber function to improve your health in different ways. Making a distinction between the two will help you create a diet that will meet your health goals.
Insoluble fiber, as the name suggests, does not dissolve in water, while soluble fiber does. Each type of fiber affects your body in dissimilarly, but both are certainly good for you.
What does fiber do for my health?
Insoluble fiber is an effective weight losing aid. Because it does not breakdown like its soluble counterpart, it keeps your body feeling full and discourages overeating.
This type of fiber also keeps your digestive system in order. Likewise, insoluble fiber keeps your bowels busy.
Ever wonder why bran is recommended to alleviate constipation? The answer is because it is one of the most insoluble fiber rich foods around.
Soluble fiber helps with both cholesterol levels and blood glucose levels. These functions can help prevent a number of illnesses including a variety of diseases and cancers.
Soluble fiber is also an effective weight loss aid. It releases glucose into the blood at a moderate rate, which allows you to perverse energy longer, and feel hungry less often.
Check out the Diets in Details website for a bit more information on how fiber works to improve your overall health. The site also provides a list of which foods contain which type of fiber.
How am I supposed to get 25 grams of fiber per day?
Consuming an adequate amount of fiber on a day to day basis is a notoriously difficult dietary task, and most people do not hit their daily quota. If you make the decision to increase your fiber consumption, you will find that there are a lot of readily available high fiber foods.
Wheat products are a good place to start. You will find that a number of cereals, pastas, and breads contain a substantial amount of fiber, and the products that posses high levels of fiber are usually eager to advertise it.
You can take full advantage of the fiber in wheat by making dietary selections that maximize your intake. Whole grain breads will have more fiber than white bread, and cereals with high wheat, oat, or bran contents are your best options.
Fruit is another terrific source of fiber. Berries, pears, apples, oranges, bananas (the list goes on), all have at least a couple of grams of fiber.
If you are not a fan of eating fruit as a snack, cut a banana up, take a handful of raisins, grab some berries, and toss the mixture into some yogurt or a high fiber cereal in the morning. That’s 10 to 20 grams right there.
Green vegetables are usually high in fiber, though not all are created equally. For instance, dark green vegetables typically have a higher fiber content than light green vegetables.
You can make use of this by tossing some spinach or kale in a salad to pick up a few extra grams of fiber.
Legumes are one of the best ways to get fiber. One can of baked beans has approximately 20 grams of dietary fiber.
Visit Health Link Alberta for a comprehensive list detailing different types of foods and their fiber content.
You can always try specialty products like fiber bars or drinks to increase your fiber intake, or you can use a fiber supplement.