One of the fundamental principles of nutriology – the science concerned with nutrients and nutrition – is to provide the body with quality proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and fiber. According to the World Health Organization and the Institute of Medicine, adults should consume about 25 –30 grams of fiber daily.
Unfortunately, the majority of Americans don’t meet the recommended daily fiber intake. Currently, fiber intake among adults in the United States averages about 15 grams a day.
Research: Closing America’s Fiber Intake Gap
What is fiber
Fiber is a type of plant-derived carb that cannot be digested. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. The soluble fiber dissolves in water. It helps us to feel full longer after eating, controls weight, and regulates the levels of sugar and fats in our bodies.
Importantly, it is a source of nutrition for the beneficial microorganisms that inhabit the digestive tract. The insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water but helps to regulate bowel movements and to prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. For maximum health benefits, it is important to have enough of both types of fiber in the diet.
The recommended daily intake of fiber (soluble and insoluble) for adults:
- Men 18-50 years – 38 grams, 51 years and older – 30 grams
- Women 18-50 years – 25 grams, 51 years and older – 21 grams
Health benefits of fiber
Research: Health benefits of dietary fiber
- Promotes gut health
Fiber is known for its role in reducing constipation. It adds bulk to stool as well as softens it.
for your health and
balanced meal plan
As Hippocrates said, you are what you eat. The meaning of this phrase concerns every person, who takes care of his health. The food we eat has a big impact on our vital activity, state of health and quality of life.
Nowadays healthy diet is very popular and everyone knows that he should give up junk food. But not everyone knows what he must eat except for grain, vegetables and protein food.
It's essential to diversify your diet. Every bite of food should provide you with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are necessary for good health.
So how can we have a proper nutrition plan?
We prepared a PDF-file to help you. It contains TOP-10 ingredients, which should be added to everyone's diet.
- Protects from diverticulitis – a digestive condition affecting the large intestine
This disease develops when food particles get stuck in the tiny pouches in the walls of the large intestine. This can lead to infection and inflammation of the intestine. Fiber causes the food to bunch in bigger lumps thereby avoiding the danger of small food particles getting stuck in the walls. It also promotes the passage of the intestinal contents which means that bacteria that can potentially cause inflammation is removed during bowel movement.
Research: Dietary fibre intake and the risk of diverticular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies
- Controls body weight
Fiber increases the volume of food and takes longer to digest, meaning it makes you feel full for longer after eating. Because of this, it is safe to say that fiber protects against overeating. It has been shown that people whose diets are rich in fiber have lower obesity rates.
Research: Dietary fiber and body weight
Dietary fiber in the prevention of obesity and obesity-related chronic diseases: From epidemiological evidence to potential molecular mechanisms
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD)
Studies have confirmed that the risk of coronary attacks was reduced by 14% with every 10g of fiber, and mortality due to coronary syndrome was reduced by 27% in men and women.
- Lowers cholesterol levels
The soluble fiber in your diet lowers the levels of lipoproteins which may help to lower the total blood cholesterol levels.
Although foods high in fiber are great for your health, we don’t recommend adding too much fiber too quickly to your diet. Adding too much fiber abruptly can cause abdominal bloating, intestinal gas, malabsorption of micronutrients and other nutrients, as well as loose stools, or diarrhea.
Research: Mechanisms underlying the cholesterol-lowering properties of soluble dietary fibre polysaccharides
It is best to gradually increase your fiber intake until you reach the recommended daily dose appropriate for your age group and biological gender.
Top foods rich in fiber
Chia Seeds, 100 gr = 34 g
Pumpkin seeds, 100 g = 18 g
Beans, cooked, ½ cup = 9.5 g
Beans, canned, ½ cup = 8.2 g
Peas, cooked, chopped ½ cup = 8.1 g
Lentils, cooked, ½ cup = 7.8 g
Flax seeds, 1 tbsp = 7 g
Artichoke, cooked, one plant = 6.5 g
White beans, canned, ½ cup = 6.3 g
Chickpeas, cooked, ½ cup = 6.2 g
Soybeans, cooked, ½ cup = 5.2 g
Potatoes, one medium (146 g) = 4.8 g
Pear, 1 small = 4.3 g
Bulgur, cooked, ½ cup = 4.1 g
Raspberries, fresh, ½ cup = 4.0 g
Blackberries, fresh, ½ cup = 3.8 g
Figs, ¼ cup = 3.7 g
Spinach, ½ cup = 3.5 g
Almonds, 30 g = 3.3 g
Apple with peel, one medium = 3.3 g
Brussels sprouts, cooked, ½ cup = 3.2 g
Banana, 1 medium = 3.1 g
Orange, 1 medium = 3.1 g
Broccoli, cooked, ½ cup = 2.8 g
Parsnips, cooked, ½ cup = 2.8 g
Buckwheat, cooked, ½ cup = 2.7 g
Millet, cooked, ½ cup = 1.7 g
Sunflower seeds, 2 tbsp. = 2 g
If you have either an inflammatory bowel disease or an irritable bowel syndrome, you should consult your doctor or a nutritionist before adding more fiber to your diet, be that in the form of food or supplements. This is because excess fiber may negatively affect these conditions.
In particular, if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it is essential to know which foods suit you. For example, whereas insoluble fiber is not recommended in cases of IBS, soluble fiber has a soothing effect on the bowels.
Vegetables that are high in soluble fiber and low in insoluble fiber are:
The following vegetables high in insoluble fiber should be avoided:
- any greens;
- whole peas;
- green beans;
- bell peppers;
- all kinds of onions;
- Chinese cabbage;
- Brussel sprouts;
If you decide to add vegetables with insoluble fiber to your diet, follow this advice to make them more digestible:
- Never eat foods that contain insoluble fiber on an empty stomach. Always eat them with other foods that contain soluble fiber.
- Remove the stems and skin.
- Dice, knead, chop, rub, or whip foods high in insoluble fiber to make them easier to break down.
The material is based on research:
- Closing America’s Fiber Intake Gap
- Health benefits of dietary fiber
- Dietary fibre intake and the risk of diverticular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies
- Dietary fiber and body weight
- Dietary fiber in the prevention of obesity and obesity-related chronic diseases: From epidemiological evidence to potential molecular mechanisms
- Mechanisms underlying the cholesterol-lowering properties of soluble dietary fibre polysaccharides