Did you know that many people only get half the recommended dietary fiber in their daily diet? Having enough daily fiber in your diet has become increasingly important because fiber helps support a smoother, more functional digestive system, provides stronger immunity, and promotes overall well-being. Even though you may be making an effort to eat healthier, you may still not be reaching your daily fiber requirements.
The recommended daily dose of fiber is 25 to 30 milligrams per day. Often people do not consume enough fiber since a typical diet for many includes those high in calories, such as white bread, sodas, diet products, juices and red meat, to name a few. Often it is not possible to get all of the daily required fiber from food alone. For example, you would need to eat about 10 apples or bananas every day to get your total daily fiber requirements.
It’s a startling statistic that the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates only about 5% of Americans reach the recommended level of dietary fiber requirements. An unfortunate result is a substantial burden on the health care system and on the individual health of Americans. It is well known that fiber has been associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer and metabolic syndrome. Natural fiber is found in many fruits, vegetables and legumes.
Often many people do not get enough fiber because traditional forms of fiber supplements on the market, such as powder or capsules, are inconvenient to take or do not have a pleasant taste. However, many other pleasant forms of fiber are available now including gummies and chewables. Some fiber supplements contain a prebiotic and Inulin, both of which help to build healthy, good bacteria in the colon, while keeping food moving through the digestive system. This action has a beneficial and favorable effect of softening stools and improving bowel function.
Research shows that the digestive system does more than digest food; it plays a key role in the immune system. The healthy bacteria that live in the digestive tract promote immune system function, so it’s important to nourish the body with fiber. Inulin has secondary benefits, too, of possibly lowering cholesterol, balancing blood chemistry and regulating appetite, which can help reduce calorie intake and play a supporting role in weight management.
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Keisha Ellis is a certified family nurse practitioner for Eastern New Mexico Medical Group’s Quick Care. The advice offered in this column is that of the author.