Eating fiber rich foods

 

All kinds of fiber rich food can be a great source for keeping the calorie intake level within limit. In most of the cases health professionals usually recommends the people to stick to fiber rich foods while on the way to lose belly fat. But, a study shows that almost 95% of Americans barely consume any fiber food on daily basis. This is the real picture on fiber consuming issue. That is why people can’t get used to consume fiber all on a sudden by any recommendation. Although, it is recommended that an adult men under the age 50 should try to consume at least 38gm of dietary fiber on each day. For women the standard daily amount is 25gm per day. Among the total amount of consumed fiber some portion should be insoluble and some necessarily should be viscous fiber. Viscous fibers are also known as soluble fiber. Regular intake of this fiber can lower the risks of different life risking diseases.

What are viscous fibers and its functionality?

Viscous or soluble fiber refers to the organic element that comes from the plant cell. Basically, polysaccharides are considered as the main consisting elements of this fiber. These elements are found on the wall of plant cells. Polysaccharides compound contains several organic elements. Likely-

  • Psyllium
  • Gums
  • Pectins
  • Mucilage
  • Beta-glucans

Viscous fiber plays a vital role on digestion system. Usually at the time of digestion process, it tends to absorb the water and form a jelly like compounds. Thereby, it slows down the food breaking rate. That is how, glucose or other simple carbohydrates extract are also absorbed slowly. In totality viscous fiber lowers the glucose intake and reduces the cholesterol level.

How fiber rich food benefits

Fiber rich foods is blessings for over all healthy living. In weight management, it plays a role of catalyst. Apart from the weight loss, there are a number of health benefits of fiber rich foods.

  • Fiber rich foods helps to the situation of constipation. It makes the stool bulky so that it moves faster through the gut. So you can enjoy regular evacuation.
  • Fiber rich foods reduces cholesterol level. In a recent study, it is seen that foods rich in high fiber reduce the rate of heart diseases. Besides heart disease, respiratory and cancer also are prevented by this type of foods.
  • It improves the performance of Immune system drastically. It helps to increase the beneficial bacteria. At the same time, it removes the pathogens to flush them out from your body.
  • Insulin sensitivity shows some improving sign with increasing amount of fiber rich foods.

 High fiber foods reduces appetite and ultimately reduces weight.

Sources of viscous fiber

Dairy products and animal based protein doesn’t contain any viscous fiber. It is mainly found in the plant based food elements. There are quite a good number of sources can be found containing viscous fiber. Among those some of the very well known sources are-

  • Turnips
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Oat brat
  • White oatmeal
  • Oranges
  • Legumes
  • Mangoes etc.

 

Daily recommended intake of viscous fiber

It is recommended that daily intake of viscous fiber shouldn’t be over the standard limit. You have to necessarily maintain a ratio while consuming viscous fiber. In general, nutritionists recommend that an adult person should consume 20-30% viscous fiber among the total amount of dietary fiber. More precisely a man can limit his viscous fiber intake with 9gm, whereas a woman can consume at least 6gm on daily basis.

Things to consider while consuming viscous fiber

There are some common misconceptions being found regarding the intake of viscous fiber. This misconceptions can severely hampers certain physiological conditions in human body. It usually happens when people tend to change the habit of fiber intake rapidly. This kind of changes can bring the health hazards, likely-

  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea etc.

So, whenever you tend to change the courses of fiber intake make sure that you are capable of adopting the changes. More importantly, bring the changes slowly and comfortably.

 

How Do You Calculate Fiber Content?

Fiber is a form of carbohydrate. It is the part of the food that cannot be digested. Dietary fiber enhances bowel health. It may also help lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Daily fiber intake should be 25 grams for a 2000-calorie diet, as set by The Food and Drug Administration. It’s possible to calculate the daily percent value for fiber to find out how much fiber a food serving contributes in relation to your daily recommended allowance. This can also help compare fiber content in different products.

Step one

Food label exhibits fiber content. It usually appears under the heading ‘’Total carbohydrate’’

Step two

The quantitative amount of fiber has to be divided by the reference value in the footnote of the food label, which is 25 grams for a 2000-calorie diet. For instance, if you eat a serving of baby carrots containing 2 grams of fiber, 2 needs to be divided by 25 to determine the daily percent value for the serving, which is 0.08.

Step three

In order to get a percentage, 0.08 needs to be multiplied by 100, which results in 8 percent. If you consume a serving of baby carrots with 2 grams of fiber content, it will supply 8 percent of your dietary fiber allotment for the day.

Not all foods have food label. Therefore, it is good to know fiber content of different foods in relation to their portion size, which can help calculate percentage value of fiber content. Below are some foods with their fiber content.

Food

Portion size

Fiber(grams)

Sliced almonds

1/4 cup

2.4

Slivered almonds

1 tbsp.

0.6

Raw apple      

1 small

3.0

Raw apple

1 med

4.0

Raw apple

1 large

4.5

Baked apple

1 large

5.0

Applesauce

2/3 cup

3.6

Raw apricots

1 whole

0.8

Dried apricots

2 halves

1.7

Cooked artichokes

1 large

4.5

Cooked asparagus

½ cup

1.7

Diced avocado

¼ cup

1.7

Sliced avocado

2 slices

0.9

Whole avocado

½ avg. size

2.8

Whole banana

1 med 8”

3.0

Black or cooked beans

1 cup

19.4

Broad beans (Italian, haricot)

¾ cup

3.0

Great Northern beans

1 cup

16.0

Canned kidney beans

½ cup

9.7

Cooked kidney beans

1 cup

19.4

Cooked beet

½ cup

2.5

Whole beet

3 sm

3.7

Raw blackberries

½ cup

4.4

Canned blackberries

½ cup

5.0

Blackberries jam

1 tbsp.

0.7

Bran meal

3 tbsp.

6.0

Bran meal

1 tbsp.

2.0

Brazil nuts(shelled)

2         

2.5

Boston brown bread

2 slices

4.0

Cracked wheat bread

2 slices

3.6

High-bran health bread

2 slices

7.0

White bread

2 slices

1.9

Whole wheat bread

2 slices

6.0

Whole wheat bread crumbs

1 tbsp

2.5

Raw broccoli  

½ cup

4.0

Frozen broccoli

4 spears

5.0

Cooked broccoli

¾ cup

7.0

Brussel sprouts(cooked)

¾ cup

3.0

Raw cabbage  

½ cup

1.5

Cooked cabbage

2/3 cup

3.0

Raw carrots

¼ cup

1.7

Cooked carrots

½ cup

3.4

Raw cauliflower

3 tiny buds

1.2

Cooked cauliflower

7/8 cup

2.3

Fiber in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes (beans, lentils and nuts) has been dominant in human diet for thousands of years. However, Americans have been eating lesser amount of fiber since the beginning of 20th century. Given the health benefits of fiber, it is useful to know the recommended daily intake for fiber and learn how to calculate fiber content of foods in percentage term in relation to recommended daily fiber intake.

 

Daily-Recommended Amount of Fiber

Adult Americans consume about half the recommended fiber intake, as pointed out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As fiber contributes significantly to weight maintenance, inadequate fiber consumption may be one of the causes behind high rates of overweight and obesity in the United States. Higher fiber intakes can help prevent waist-circumference gain and weight gain, as published in a 2010 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Fiber Intake for Men

Men need more fiber than women as they typically require more calories every day to maintain a healthy body weight. Minimum daily requirements or adequate intake levels for fiber are based on a man’s age. As calorie requirements go lower with age, so do requirements for fiber for older adults. Adequate daily fiber intake levels are 38 grams for men aged 19 to 50 and 30 grams for men aged 50 or older, in accordance with the Institute of Medicine.

Fiber Intake for Women

Federal fiber intake recommendation for women is a little lower than for men. Adequate daily fiber intake levels are 25 grams for women aged 19 to 50 and 21 grams for women aged 50 or older, in accordance with the Institute of Medicine. Women aged 50 or older need less fiber, as they need fewer calories each day for weight maintenance.

Soluble Fiber Intake

Soluble fiber helps lower high cholesterol levels and heart disease risks. Soluble fiber intake should be no less than 5 to 10 grams for both men and women, in accordance with the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. Even better is 10 to 25 grams of soluble fiber intake, which can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.

Closing the Fiber Gap

In order to close the gap between recommended daily fiber intake and how much Americans consume, it’s best to consume more plant foods like fruits, whole grains, vegetables, beans and nuts, as recommended by the U.S. government’s 2015 Dietary Guidelines. These fiber rich foods are very nutritious and have many health benefits.

Top fiber sources include beans of all kinds, chickpeas, peas, artichokes, black-eyed peas, barely, whole wheat flour, bran, bulgar, blackberries, prunes, raspberries, etc.

Good fiber sources include apples, mangoes, blueberries, bananas, oranges, strawberries, pears, raisins, nuts, popcorn, oats, whole wheat pasta, cabbage, asparagus, snap beans, corn, potatoes with the skin, pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, okra, broccoli, dark leafy greens, lettuce, etc.

It is good to replace refined grains like white bread, white flour, white rice, white pasta, etc. with whole grains in order to enhance fiber intake in your diet. According to The Dietary Guidelines, your whole grain consumption should be no less than half your grain consumption. Whole grain foods provide nutrients that your body needs.

Soluble and Insoluble Fiber

Fiber is of two types. One is soluble fiber and the other one is insoluble fiber. Typically, fiber is available in all plant foods in varying amount. Soluble fiber dissolves in water. Most fiber is soluble. Soluble fiber is found in blueberries, strawberries, pears, apples, psyllium, seeds, nuts, oat bran, oatmeal, lentils, pears, beans, etc. Soluble fiber is associated with controlling blood sugar and reducing risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Insoluble fiber is present in tomatoes, grapes, raisins, dark leafy vegetables, green beans, celery, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, seeds, nuts, whole grains, wheat bran, bulgur, brown rice, whole-grain couscous, barely, etc. It helps prevent constipation and reduce chance of developing diverticular disease. Generally, fiber rich foods are filling and help curb overeating. They are also associated with lowering risk of certain cancer like colorectal cancer.

Enhancing Fiber Intake

In the morning, it is good to start with a whole-grain cereal, which has no less than 5 grams of fiber. It is a good idea to read food labels and choose foods with no less than few grams of fiber per serving. 5 grams of fiber per serving make food source an excellent one. 2.5 to 4.9 grams of fiber per serving make food source a good one. It is useful to choose whole fruit over fruit juice. Amount of fiber can be twice as much in whole fruit as in a glass of juice. It is good to consume beans in soups, egg dishes, stews, salads, Mexican dishes, etc. Meat can be substituted by beans in at least one vegetarian meal per week. It is good to try international cuisines like Middle Eastern or Indian cuisines that use beans and whole grains in main dishes. Snacking on raw vegetables with bean dip or hummus is a good idea. It is important to enhance fiber intake gradually, allowing your digestive system to have time to adjust. Drinking plenty of water is also important. A good way to enhance fiber intake is to add about 5 grams of fiber per day and spread the extra 5 grams throughout the day, until you reach your goal.

 

Can you have too Much Fiber?

Fiber is a kind of natural substance. It is found in vegetables, fruits and grains. Fiber has many health benefits. It is beneficial for digestion, weight maintenance and heart health. Its health benefits are well known. Despite all these benefits, too much of fiber consumption can result in numerous health problems. Some are uncomfortable and embarrassing side effects while others can be severe health issues. Below are the problems that can occur due to consumption of too much fiber.

Constipation

Eating too much fiber without drinking enough water may cause constipation. In order for things to move, digestive tract of the body requires fluid. Absence of enough fluids in your system does not allow your intestines to work properly and you may get constipated because of this.

Fiber is of two types. One is soluble fiber and the other one insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and takes form of gel, slowing down the digestive process. Consuming too much soluble fiber, in particular, is linked with constipation, especially for people who already have it. Soluble fiber sources are peas, seeds, nuts, oats, etc. If you are struggling with constipation while being on a high-fiber diet, reducing overall fiber intake or soluble fiber intake can get you relief from constipation.

Diarrhea

If you suddenly enhance your fiber intake too much, your body do not have enough time to adjust. Fiber enhances the speed at which food moves throughout the digestive tract. Consumption of too much fiber can enhance the speed too much, which can cause diarrhea. Mainly insoluble fiber can cause diarrhea when consumed too much. Insoluble fiber is available in whole grains and many fruits and vegetables.

Cramping

When body cannot break down fiber properly, cramping happens. Food digestion can get slowed down or stopped temporarily if you consume too much fiber, which can cause intestinal cramping and discomfort.

Dehydration

If you up your fiber intake and do not drink enough water, you can get dehydrated. When you drink enough water, the fiber that you eat can absorb the water it needs to get dissolved. Otherwise, the fiber leeches water from other necessary systems. Consuming too much fiber and not drinking enough water can also be associated with constipation and diarrhea.

Malabsorption

As fiber binds to other foods, it can bind it to other nutrients and remove vitamins and minerals before they get absorbed by the body, in accordance with Colorado State University. Overconsumption of fiber may interfere with how intestines absorb certain minerals. Consuming too much fiber, especially insoluble fiber often causes malabsorption of magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron. This malabsorption usually happens to an insignificant extent and does not necessitate much concern.

Intestinal Gas

You may experience flatulence, bloating and intestinal gas due to consuming too much fiber in short amount of time. This happens because of reaction of the natural bacteria in your digestive system to the fiber. In order to avoid this side effect, gradual increase in fiber intake is useful as it allows natural bacteria to have time to adjust to fiber. People with irritable bowel syndrome are especially vulnerable to bloating and gas.

Intestinal Blockage

The worst possible side effects of consuming too much fiber is an intestinal blockage. Consumption of too much fiber and too little water cause this problem. A blockage in the intestine caused by fiber can prevent other foods to get past. Intestinal blockage can be a serious health issue and it may necessitate surgery.

Daily Fiber Intake

Fiber has many health benefits, but it also has some side effects when over-consumed. Therefore, it is useful to know how much fiber is right or beneficial to consume. Below are the daily requirements of fiber intake for people, in accordance with the Institute of Medicine and the American Heart Association.

People with different age group

Fiber intake

Children aged between 1-3 years

19 grams

Children aged between 4-8 years

25 grams

Girls aged between 9-18 years

26 grams

Boys aged between 9-13 years

31 grams

Males aged between 14-50 years

38 grams

Females aged between 19-50 years

25 grams

Men aged over 50

21 grams

Women aged over 50

30 grams

In order to avoid side effects of consuming too much fiber, it is useful to watch your fiber intake in relation to age, gender, etc. if you need to up your fiber intake it is good to do it gradually rather than doing it overnight. It is also important to up consumption of water alongside. Avoiding overconsumption of fiber can not only save you from side effects but also get you a number of health benefits. Being familiar with soluble and insoluble fiber sources is useful. Consulting a dietitian can also be helpful in keeping fiber consumption within reasonable limit. 

 

How Do I get more Fiber my Diet?

Consuming enough fiber has many health benefits. It has positive impacts on constipation, weight maintenance, cholesterol levels, risk of diabetes and risk of heart disease. Some types of fiber are prebiotic. They are good for healthy bacteria. Daily fiber intake for men and women should be around 38 grams and 25 grams respectively, as recommended by the Institute of Medicine. Americans typically consume around 16 grams of fiber per day, which is about half the recommended daily fiber intake. Obviously, there is a need to enhance fiber intake. Below are some ways to add more fiber to your diet.

Whole Food Carb Sources

Fiber is found in plant-based foods. It is a type of carb. Fiber is naturally found in whole-food carb sources like starchy veggies, fruits, legumes, whole grains, etc. Choosing whole food carb sources can significantly enhance your fiber intake.

Including Veggies in Meal and Eating them First

Eating veggies is highly beneficial for health. Especially non-starchy veggies are very good, as they are low in calories and high in nutrients, including fiber. Eating salad or vegetable before a meal can enhance consumption of veggies during the meal. Eating veggies both before and during a meal can enhance fiber consumption.

Eating Popcorn

Popcorn in one of the popular snack foods. Popcorn is actually whole grain. Every ounce of popcorn can provide four grams of fiber. This snack food is delicious and can enhance fiber consumption.

Snacking on Fruit

It is a good idea to snack on fruits. Fruits are usually tasty, portable and fiber-rich. Some fruits are higher in fiber content than others. For example, apples, berries and pears are high-fiber fruits.

Choosing Whole Grains over Refined Grains

While being processed, refined grains get stripped off their fiber-rich hull and vitamin-containing germ, which doesn’t happen with whole grains. It is a good idea to replace refined grains with whole grains. It can enhance fiber consumption. Apart from brown rice or oatmeal, you can try quinoa, millet, freekeh, faro, bulgur wheat, buckwheat, barley, wheat berries, etc.

Fiber Supplement

It’s best to get fiber from real food. However, it may be OK to consider supplement when you fiber intake is low. Some of the supplements that have research to back them up include guar fiber, psyllium, glucomannan, B-glucan, etc. Supplements have demerits. They can cause bloating and discomfort in stomach. Supplements can interfere in effects of some medications, which is why it’s good to take medications 4 hours after or at least one hour before the supplement. If you consume a range of whole plant foods, you’re unlikely to need any supplement.

Eating Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are very rich in fiber. One ounce of chia seeds can provide 11 grams of fiber. Most of the fiber in chia seeds is insoluble fiber. Other seeds like hemp, sesame and flax are also rich in fiber and smart choices. These seeds can help enhance your fiber intake. They are good for digestion and can reduce risk of diabetes.

Choosing Whole Veggies and Fruits over Juice

Vegetables or fruit juices get stripped off fiber. They remain high in carbs in the form of sugar. Eating whole vegetables and fruits rather than juice can significantly enhance fiber consumption.

Eating Avocados

Avocados are highly nutritious and loaded with fiber. Half an avocado can provide five grams of fiber. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats. They can be healthy alternative to other types of fat and helpful in increasing fiber intake.

Snacking on Nuts and Seeds

Seeds and nuts contain fiber, protein and fat. An ounce of almonds can provide three grams of fiber. Nuts and seeds are good for snacking or adding to recipes.

Baking with High-Fiber Fours

While baking, it’s a good idea to use high-fiber flour rather than white flour. Whole-wheat pastry flour has three times as much fiber as white flour. An ounce of coconut flour contains 11 grams of fiber. An ounce of soy flour contains 5 grams of fiber. Some other non-wheat flours such as barley, buckwheat, chickpea, hazelnut and almond flour have 3 grams of fiber per ounce. Replacing white flour with alternative ones that are fiber-rich, can enhance fiber intake.

Eating Berries

Berries are low in sugar and high in fiber. A cup of blackberries or raspberries provides 8 grams of fiber. Same amount of strawberries and blueberries contain 3 and 4 grams of fiber respectively. It’s a good idea to add berries to salads, cereal or yogurt. Berries can help enhance your fiber intake.

Including Legumes in Diet

Legumes such as lentils, dried peas and beans are rich in fiber, carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals. A cup of cooked beans can provide up to seventy five percent of your fiber needs. You can consume legumes by using hummus and other bean dips. Legumes may lower risks of chronic diseases and can enhance fiber intake.

Leaving the Peel on some Fruits and Veggies

It is a good idea to leave peel on sweet potatoes, cucumber and apples. It is because the peel of these foods contains half the total amount of fiber. For example, one small apple contains around 4 grams of fiber and a peeled one contains only 2 grams. Similarly, amount of fiber gets reduced in potato and cucumber when they get peeled. Leaving peel on these foods can enhance fiber intake.

Reading food Labels

It is good to read food labels and choose products that are fiber-rich. Some foods like soups, cereals, granola bars and yogurt have functional fibers added to them. This type of fiber gets extracted from natural sources and then added to foods as a supplement. Polydextrose and insulin are among the names that you can look for, on food labels. You can also read the nutrition label to know the amount of fiber in a serving. A good source is the one that contains over 2.5 grams per serving. When the amount is over 5 grams, the food source is considered to be excellent. Reading food labels and choosing high-fiber food can enhance fiber intake.

Eating high-fiber foods at every meal is helpful in increasing fiber intake. Fiber is of immense importance to our health. It is a healthy choice to find ways to optimize fiber intake.

Last update: November 18, 2017 04:42:49 pm

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