How Much Do You Know About Fiber?

168CTY_05222017You may know that getting plenty of fiber is important for your health, but do you know why? Or how to get it? Our infographic below gives you a chance to test your knowledge! So grab a pencil and paper, see how you do, then come back here to read more – your body will thank you!

  1. Fiber is a nutrient found only in plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Also known as roughage or bulk, it’s a material that includes the parts of plant foods your body can’t digest or absorb.
  2. The average amount of fiber most people need per day is 20 – 35 grams. The optimal amount for you depends on your gender and age:
    • Women age 50 or younger should aim for 25 grams; women age 51 or older need closer to 21 grams.
    • Men age 50 or younger should aim for 38 grams; men age 51 or older need closer to 30 grams.
  3. A high-fiber diet can help prevent colon cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. And if you need more reasons to pay attention to this powerhouse nutrient, it’s also been shown to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, relieve constipation, help people maintain a healthy weight, and prevent diverticular disease.
  4. All of the food options listed on the quiz question are high in fiber, but black beans win out. Here are the amounts in each one-cup serving:
  5. There are two types of fiber: water-soluble and water-insoluble, which are both important for different reasons. Insoluble fiber attaches to waste in the body, making waste bulkier and easier to pass. Soluble fiber slows down the absorption of sugar and fats in the blood and binds with and removes cholesterol from the blood stream, lowering LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.
  6. Increasing your fiber intake can lower your cholesterol, regulate blood sugar levels, and help you maintain your weight. High-fiber foods tend to be more filling than low-fiber foods, so you’re likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer.
  7. In general, the best way to get fiber is through whole foods rather than fiber supplements. Fiber supplements don’t provide the variety of fibers, vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients that foods do. And food with added fiber can cause gas for some people.

Sources:

Mayo Clinic article: “Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet”

Mayo Clinic article: “Chart of high-fiber foods”

Fact Retriever: 45 Interesting Facts about Fiber

UCSF Medical Center: Increasing Fiber Intake

 

 

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