The many benefits of dietary fiber
You’ve heard this before: fiber is good for us.
Eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is not just about being regular. In addition to constipation, dietary fiber helps us treat other digestive problems such as hemorrhoids, chronic diarrhea, and fecal incontinence.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help us lose and maintain a healthy weight. Dietary fiber adds bulk to our diet. It helps us feel full faster and for longer. And since we can’t digest fiber, we can feel full with fewer calories.
Dietary soluble fiber such as that found in oat products and beans can also help reduce the risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, and risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
OK. Gimme fiber.
The daily recommended intake of fiber for adults 19 to 50 years old is 38 grams a day for men and 25 grams a day for women.
Before you raid the fridge for celery sticks and carrots, slow down. Adding fiber to your diet too quickly can have some side effects, such as abdominal bloating, gas, or even constipation. Start with a small amount and slowly increase your fiber intake, as tolerated. Don’t forget to hydrate! Drink at least eight cups of water a day because fiber with inadequate fluids can make constipation worse.
If you’re ready to do some fiber math to see if your intake adds up to the daily recommended amount, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion ranks common foods by dietary fiber and calories per serving.