Are You Getting Enough Fiber?
Most Americans don’t eat enough fiber, according to the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine. The average American adult consumes only 14 to 15 grams of fiber per day. The IOM standard suggest consuming between 25 to 38 grams per day for women and men respectively. In addition to its proven benefits for heart disease fiber plays a role in weight loss, diabetes management, and relief of constipation. From a chiropractic point of view, anything that our patients can do to promote circulation and enhance normal organ function ultimately reduces inflammation and helps with musculoskeletal pain management.
To meet the fiber standard, eat several servings of whole grains and 5 – 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Also, develop a taste for regular doses of beans, lentils, and split peas as well as unsalted nuts and seeds. Eating more fiber doesn’t have to mean drastically altering your eating habits. Focus instead on making small changes over time. Start by substituting just a few servings of fiber-rich foods for lower-fiber ones. Increase your fiber intake gradually over several weeks. Don’t rush, eating too much fiber too soon can cause gas, bloating, and other digestive distress. Also, don’t get carried away, excessive intake can hamper the absorption of certain minerals, notably calcium, iron, and zinc.
While fiber supplements may be appropriate for some people, it’s generally best to get your fiber from foods, not pills. Most fiber-rich foods also provide a range of other beneficial vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. The evidence strongly suggests that the benefits of consuming high-fiber foods is much stronger than that for fiber supplements alone.