Fiber is all the rage. Yes, fiber.
Even Forbes has articles dedicated to the benefits of eating a high fiber diet. There is even a whole diet, the F-Factor ,that promises fiber as the “miracle carb” to losing weight. So what is it about this nutrient that has everyone going crazy?
When you dig into the research you’ll find that fiber not only helps with digestive issues and bloating, it can also support weight loss. Fiber also offers a boost to our health by improving a major health crisis in our communities: Cardiovascular Health.
Cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary heart disease, strokes (causes 1 of 3 deaths in the US) and diabetes (8 million adults have undiagnosed diabetes and 87 million pre-diabetes) can all be reduced through simple lifestyle factors, like eating fiber.
A high fiber diet lowers blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels. Studies have even found that a higher intake of dietary fiber was associated with a lower prevalence of hypertension, a 26% reduction in the prevalence of ischemic strokes and a 29% reduction in the development of diabetes (Lairon et.al, 2005; Steffen et al, 2003; Anderson et al, 1987).
The benefits of eating fiber go on and on. So how much fiber should you be eating every day? According to the FDA, men need 38g and women 25-30g of fiber per day.
The Columbia University Institute of Human Nutrition has found the average American barely consumes half of the recommended amount of fiber needed per day (10-15g).
I personally like the National Fiber Council’s recommendation of 32 grams of fiber for a healthy adult (Dr. James Anderson, professor of Medicine and Clinical Nutrition and NFC chair).
Going from 15g per day to over 30g may seem like a big jump, but by making sure you are getting enough fiber in every meal you will definitely hit your target.
To help you get started and make things easier, here are 5 fiber-rich foods to keep in your kitchen that you can incorporate in your everyday meals:
Lentils: 1 cup cooked = 15.6 grams
Avocados: ½ of a medium size = 6 grams
Chia Seeds: 1 tablespoon black = 6 grams
Ground Flax Seeds: 1 tablespoon ground = 3 grams
Raspberries: 1 cup raw = 8 grams
Anderson JW. Dietary fiber and associated phytochemicals in prevention and reversal of diabetes. In: Pasupuleti VK, Anderson JW, eds. Nutraceuticals, Glycemic Health and Type 2 Diabetes. Ames, Iowa: Blackwell Publishing Professional; 2008:111–142.
Steffen LM, Jacobs DR Jr, Stevens J, Shahar E, Carithers T, Folsom AR. Associations of whole-grain, refined grain, and fruit and vegetable consumption with risks of all-cause mortality and incident coronary artery disease and ischemic stroke: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78:383–390.