Focus On: Fiber


WHAT IS It? Dietary fiber is a plant-based carbohydrate that our bodies cannot digest. It can be soluble (the kind that turns into gas) and insoluble (the kind that absorbs water and aids digestion). On average, the majority of people living in the United States consume only half of the daily recommended dosage.
 
[ Natural Sources ]
LEGUMES: Eat your beans! Legumes, on average, have the highest fiber content in the food pyramid. One cup of split peas yields about 16g, while lentils and black beans tie at about 15g.
FRUITS and VEGGIES: Artichokes are next on the list with about 10g, and regular peas and (surprise!) Raspberries pack 8g per one cup. Broccoli, turnips, and pears (with the skin!) have about 5g.
 
[Benefits]
Fiber aids in digestion by helping food move through the digestive tract more efficiently. As an added benefit, it softens your stool and you may have more regular bowel movements and far less constipation. Fiber also helps reduce your risk of developing heart disease, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes. A diet full of fiber-containing foods may also aid in weight loss because it will make you feel fuller, faster. Fiber supplements may also be beneficial in alleviating symptoms of diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.
 
[ Recommended Dosages ]
14g per every 1,000 calories consumed by men, women, and children
Women: 25g per day //
Men: 38g per day
 
[ Supplementation ]
You can find supplements in powder, capsule, or liquid form. Be sure to follow direction on the packaging for dosage suggestions. Many supplements also contain other “filler” ingredients and sugar, so be sure to check the label for any possible allergens.
 
PICKS: NOW Foods Apple Pectin, 60 capsuels, $15, nowfoods.com
 // Enzymatic Therapy Fiber Delights, 60 chewable tablets, $18 enzymatictherapy.com
 // Carlson Hi-Fiber, 10 oz powder, $12, carlsonlabs.com
// Rainbow Light Everyday Fiber System Powder, 8.8 oz, $19, rainbowlight.com
// Health Plus Probiotic Fiber, 60 gelcaps, $13, healthplusinc.com
// Wakunaga Kyo-Dophilus Probiotics plus Fiber, 3.5 oz. powder, $20, kyolic.com
 
[ Warnings ]
Increase your fiber intake gradually to avoid excess gas and bloating. Taking in too much dietary fiber can lead to many complications including dehydration, excess gas, and abdominal cramping. Too much fiber may also hinder your body’s ability to absorb other minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc.