We all have that one friend who is obsessed with their fiber intake. They’re always telling you about how regular they are and how important fiber is for you – “Hey, you should eat more fiber!”
You might think that, if you eat more fiber, you’ll walk around passing gas all day because you ate an excessive amount of fiber in the previous meal. However, that’s not necessarily so. Understanding how much fiber you need can prevent that from happening.
Learn what fiber is, why it’s important, and how much is enough. Knowing these facts will benefit you. Acting on these facts to eat more fiber will strengthen your health.
What is Fiber?
You see it on the backs of your food packages, but what is fiber really? Is it good for you?
To put it simply, fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate. Yep, that’s right – a carb. Don’t stress though, this is a good carbohydrate – a really good one at that.
Fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble (in water) depending on how they react with hydration. Foods like oatmeal and other grains generally contain both, while many fruits contain only soluble fiber (this is why prunes do what they do).
Why is Fiber Important?
Fiber is important not only because it keeps you regular, but also because it helps to lower inflammation. This is the most important reason that you may want to consider adding more fiber to your diet.
Many of our chronic diseases are the result of inflammation, and if fiber can help to limit this inflammation, you have a secret cure for staying healthy.
This is why many doctors recommend eating oats and fruit in the morning. It’s great for reducing inflammation and supporting good general health.
How Much Fiber Do You Need?
Fiber intake is important, and recent research shows more and more how crucial it is for us.
In trying to figure out how much you need, an important aspect to consider is that since fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate, each gram you ingest lowers your net carb count by an equal gram.
That means if you eat a slice of bread that has 10 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber, you are really only ingesting 7 grams of total carbs. For this reason, many people consider a high-fiber diet to be essential for health and general weight maintenance.
For most people, the dietary guideline for fiber is about 35-40 grams/day (which very few Americans hit). This is about the equivalent of eating 10 apples. Of course, no one is going to eat that many apples, but having a balanced diet with plenty of dense grains, fruit, and vegetables will help you to hit a healthy daily intake of fiber.
These foods are all healthy sources fiber:
- Brown rice
- Whole grain bread
- Chia seeds
- Brussels sprouts
- Most other fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts, and whole grains
As you can see, getting more fiber is easy and doesn’t involve eating only foods that are infamous for producing gas.
Eat smart and eat fiber rich – it’s great for you!