The average American diet is grossly deficient in fiber, which is one of the key nutrients we need to maintain a healthy digestive tract. Fiber is like the pipe cleaner of our intestines. If we don’t get enough, we might have a hard time on the toilet.
But aside from making our bowel movements less straining, fiber also helps manage cholesterol levels. When fiber is ingested, it moves through the stomach and small intestine just like other nutrients would. However, fiber is indigestible to humans, and therefore cannot be fully broken down. This results in fiber binding to emulsified fats to be removed during excretion. Fiber also helps physically eliminate unabsorbed food particles as it makes its way through the intestine.
The USDA recommends a daily intake of 25-40 grams of fiber. Most fiber is found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The best way to meet the daily intake is to eat a variety of whole, unprocessed foods. Below you will find a list of delicious foods that have a high fiber content.
- Avocados (~ 13 grams per whole avocado)
- Raspberries (~ 1 gram per 10 berries)
- Lentils (~ 12 grams per cup)
- Oats (~ 16 grams per cup)
- Sweet Potatoes (~ 4 grams per medium-sized sweet potato)
- Almonds (~ 3 grams per 20 nuts)
- Chia Seeds (~ 10 grams per ounce of [dried] chia seeds)
Remember, increasing your dietary fiber should be a slow and gradual increase to prevent upsetting your stomach.
Tune in next week for another nutritious-packed blog!