Why you need more fiber in your diet

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Emily Krueger, Registered Dietitian from LDS Hospital was here to talk about why you need more fiber in your diet.

You’ve probably heard it before: get more fiber in your diet. But how much fiber should you be eating? And, why is fiber good for your health?

Dietary fiber, which is mainly found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, may be best known for preventing or relieving constipation, but it has other lesser known health benefits. Fiber can help you maintain a health weight and lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

What is dietary fiber?

Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes the parts of plant foods your body can’t digest or absorb. Unlike other food components, such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fiber isn’t digested by your body. Instead, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine and colon and out of your body.
Fiber is generally categorized as either soluble or insoluble.
Soluble: Dissolves in water and becomes a gel. It can help lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. This type of fiber can be found in apples, oats, and beans.
Insoluble: This type adds to the bulk in our digestive tract and helps with movement in this tract as well. Some examples are: whole wheat flour, potatoes, cauliflower, and bran.
Most plant based foods have some of both types.

Other good sources of Fiber:

·         Whole-grain products

·         Fruits

·         Vegetables

·         Beans, peas and other legumes

·         Nuts and seeds

*Whole foods are generally better than fiber supplements

How much fiber does someone need?

  • Men 50 years and younger: 38 grams (g) fiber per day
  • Men 51 years and older: 30 g fiber per day
  • Women 50 years and younger: 25 g fiber per day
  • Women 51 years and older: 21 g fiber per day

Ways to increase fiber intake

  • Switch to whole grains
  • Start your day with a high fiber breakfast
  • Bulk up baked goods
  • Love legumes!
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
  • Choose high fiber snacks

*Add fiber in slowly over time. Adding a lot in at once can cause intestinal pain or gas. Also drink lots of water, fiber does best when absorbed in water.

Visit www.Intermountainhealthcare.org for more information. 
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