Are you getting enough fiber? We hate to break it to you, but probably not. While dietary guidelines state that the average male needs approximately 38 grams per day and the average female needs 25 grams, studies show that the average American consumes a mere 10-15 grams of fiber per day. That’s less than half the daily recommended intake! But wait. What’s the big deal? Fiber is primarily responsible for helping our digestive system run more smoothly and regularly. The only major consequence of not consuming enough fiber is a little constipation, right? Think again.
Fiber goes through your system mostly undigested and unabsorbed. This is part of its magic. Because it goes undigested, it creates bulk. This allows stool to move through your digestive tract quicker and more efficiently, wiping out harmful carcinogens and feeding good, necessary gut bacteria in the process. Consuming a diet high in fiber has been strongly linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, lower cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose levels, and inflammation, and even weight loss.
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Soluble fiber dissolves with water and creates a gel-like substance that helps to lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels.” On the flipside, insoluble fiber “absorbs water which adds bulk to your digestive tract and helps to move things through quickly.” While both are vital, the most important thing is just making sure you consume enough fiber period. At least at the beginning, pay less attention to the type of fiber and more to the amount.
What are the best sources of fiber? Well, fiber is not found in animal sources like meat, cheese, and eggs. It is found primarily in the cell walls of plants, though it can be found in other parts of plants as well. Some of the best sources of fiber include beans, peas, oats, and fruits. We have included a handy chart below to give you an idea of the fiber content of some of the most fiber rich foods out there.
|Oats (per raw cup)||16.5 g|
|Split peas (per cooked up)||16.3 g|
|Lentils (per cooked cup)||15.6 g|
|Black beans (per cooked cup)||15 g|
|Chickpeas (per cooked cup)||12.5 g|
|Chia seeds (per ounce)||10 g|
|Almonds (per ounce)||3.5 g|
|Strawberries (per cup)||3 g|
Now you’ve read this article and you are ready to start consuming the recommended daily amount today, right? We admire your enthusiasm! However, if you want to avoid some uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing symptoms, you should probably take it slow and steady. Start by increasing your fiber serving by serving, drinking plenty of water, and spacing consumption out throughout the day. Some experts suggest increasing your fiber intake by no more than 5 grams per week. This is a safe bet that will lead to a smooth, ease-filled transition. All of the benefits, none of the pain.
So how does this pertain to Beverly Hills Posture? To start, those who consume higher amounts of fiber tend to sit in a healthier weight range than those who do not. This has quite a bit to do with the full feeling fiber offers. It is also responsible for reducing inflammation. Healthy weight and reduced inflammation are some of the many building blocks to a healthier spine. In addition, optimal fiber intake gets you one step closer to optimal health. Here at BHP, we are committed to treating the whole patient, doing whatever we can to align each client with the healthiest, happiest, most pain version of themselves. Proper nutrition is one of the most vital parts of the equation and we are happy to be here to help demystify it.
Comment below with any questions, comments, or suggestions for future blog posts. We’d love to hear from you and, in the meantime, “eat your fiber.” Trust us, your body will thank you.