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Legumes are particularly rich in fiber.
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Populations that consume diets rich in fiber have a reduced risk of chronic disease, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Unfortunately, most Americans fail to consume the recommended amount of fiber each day. Fiber plays a role in your health, although your body is unable to absorb it. If you're concerned about your fiber intake, making small, sustainable changes to your diet can help increase your fiber consumption.
You get two types of fiber from your diet, and most foods contain a balanced mixture of both. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and promotes healthy cholesterol and glucose levels. Insoluble fiber is unable to dissolve in water. This type of fiber helps move food through your digestive system and add bulk to your stool. It relieves constipation and promotes regularity.
Adults Under 50
The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts represent the best sources of fiber, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Most Americans eat a diet high in refined grains and fail to eat enough fruits and vegetables. Switching from refined white bread to whole-grain bread and eating more fruits and vegetables are ways to increase your fiber intake.
Adults Over 50
Fiber is an important dietary component for all age groups, but as you get older, your dietary needs change. Once you reach 50, your fiber intake needs drop to 21 grams for women and 30 grams for men, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Fiber helps protect against heart disease, type-2 diabetes and bowel inflammation known as diverticulitis, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. As you age, your risk for these conditions increases.
Breakfast offers a range of possibilities for boosting your fiber intake. Instead of reaching for a white-flour bagel, have a bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit such as blueberries. One-half cup of oatmeal contains 5.4 grams of fiber. For lunch, have a grilled chicken sandwich on whole-wheat bread and a cup of veggies. Two slices of whole-wheat bread contain about 3 grams of fiber. Bump up the fiber in your dinners by adding 1/2 cup of beans. For example, a serving of black beans contains 6 grams of fiber.