Fiber Facts for a Healthy Lifestyle

Blog Category: Health

Did your doctor tell you it’s time to get more or less fiber in your diet? Or are you unsure where to start in your fiber diet journey? Here are all the important things you need to know about fiber for your unique, healthy lifestyle!

What is Fiber?

Fiber is a component of plant-based food and a carbohydrate that you can’t absorb or digest through your system. All carbs are absorbed as sugar in the body, which means without fiber, you will digest and absorb carbs quickly. This rapid absorption can cause your blood sugar to spike and your insulin levels to increase, so fiber helps prevent this from happening. There are two types of fiber:

  • Soluble Fiber dissolves in water, slows digestion, and assists in lowering your “bad” cholesterol and regulating blood sugar. You can find soluble fiber in foods like apples, avocados, beans, brussel sprouts, lentils, and pears.
  • Insoluble Fiber pulls water and helps food pass more easily through the body. It can be found in foods like beans, legumes, nuts, oat bran, vegetables, and whole grains.

Health Benefits of Fiber

Women need about 25 grams of fiber per day, and men need about 38 grams of fiber per day, so aim for about 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories. There are many benefits of getting your required daily fiber intake, including:

  • Enhanced nutrient intake
  • Improved bowel regularity
  • Increased satiety
  • Lower risk of certain cancers
  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Maintained healthy gut biome
  • Stable blood sugar levels
  • Reduces cholesterol

Making the Switch to a Fiber Diet

Whether you’re going on a high- or low-fiber diet, you need to consult your doctor to gain insight on easing into the diet while maintaining your nutritional needs. Suddenly increasing your fiber intake can be very hard on your digestive system, and too much at once can cause abdominal distension, bloating, cramping, nausea, diarrhea, or constipation. Be sure to drink lots of water while increasing your intake to the desired amount over the course of 2-3 weeks.

High-fiber Diet

If you are recommended by your doctor to go on a high-fiber diet, there are a variety of things you can eat, including:

  • Apples
  • Artichoke
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Oats
  • Pears
  • Popcorn
  • Quinoa
  • Raspberries
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes

Low-fiber Diet

If your doctor recommends you go on a low-fiber or fiber-restricted diet, limit the types of vegetables, fruits, grains, and dairy products you eat. Though milk doesn’t contain fiber, it can exacerbate some of the discomforts you are experiencing.

Foods to eat on a low-fiber diet include:

  • Bacon
  • Bananas
  • Butter and margarine
  • Cereals with less than 2 grams of dietary fiber
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Fruit and vegetable juices
  • Shellfish
  • Plain tomato sauce
  • Poultry
  • Salad dressings without seeds
  • Shellfish
  • Tofu
  • White rice

Be sure to avoid the following foods on a low-fiber diet:

  • Baked, dried, or lima beans
  • Barley
  • Bran
  • Brown and wild rice
  • Chunky peanut butter
  • Coconut
  • Dried fruit
  • Granola
  • Lentils
  • Nuts
  • Oatmeal
  • Peas
  • Popcorn
  • Quinoa
  • Seeds
  • Wheat germ
  • Whole grains

Remember to drink lots of water on a low-fiber diet to avoid constipation. You’ll also want to prepare your food tenderly so that it’s more enjoyable and use suitable cooking habits like poaching, simmering, steaming, stewing, and braising. Consider microwaving in a covered dish to hold in moisture and prevent your foods from drying out.

At Life Enriching Communities (LEC), we’re committed to ensuring patrons feel well-equipped to plan their future and age how they wish. Explore more resources on senior living or contact us today to learn more about our legacy of services and programs that bring meaning and purpose to every stage of life.