A Guest Blog by Registered Dietitian Leslie Goldstein of HealthyStepNutrition.com
Do you think you get enough fiber each day? Do you really know what fiber does for your body? Most Americans do not get enough, so there’s no reason to feel as though you’re alone. The average intake of dietary fiber is 15 grams per day, while the adequate intake according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines is at least 25 g for women and 35 g for men per day. Now, you might think “I eat a salad most nights and I snack on fruit so I must get enough fiber.” Although these foods do contain small amounts of fiber (an orange= 3 g and a small green salad= 1 g), it is insufficient to reach your goals.
You might be wondering- what exactly does fiber do for my body? Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate found in plant foods. Its main role in the body is to help you to feel full, reduce constipation, reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer, stabilize your blood sugar levels, and lower your cholesterol levels. The two main types of fiber are soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is found in foods like beans, oats, nuts, fruits, and vegetables and it aids in lowering cholesterol. Meanwhile, insoluble fiber is found in foods with whole grains, nuts, seeds, and also fruits and veggies, and it helps with laxation.
How can you increase your daily intake you may ask? Try the following suggestions to add more fiber to your diet. Just make sure to increase your water intake to at least 64 ounces as you increase your fiber intake, since water helps fiber to move through the body.
- Start your morning with 1 cup of oatmeal (4 g) or a ½ cup of high fiber cereal such as Fiber One (14 g)
- Add 1 cup of berries to your breakfast or mid-morning snack (8g)
- Add 2 tablespoons of flaxseed to a smoothie or yogurt (4g)
- Snack on 1 cup raw red pepper (2g) with 3 tablespoons hummus (3g)
- Have 1 cup brown rice (4g) over white (1g) at your favorite Asian restaurant
- Have your sandwich on 2 slices of whole wheat bread (4g)
- Add 1 cup of beans (12g) or lentils (16g) to your salad at lunch
As you can see, adding fiber doesn’t have to mean eating bland and boring meals. You can still experience great New York City food with all the health benefits. Trust me, your stomach will thank you!
- Leslie Goldstein, RD
Leslie Goldstein is a Registered Dietitian (RD) practicing in North Bergen and Hoboken, New Jersey. Leslie is an avid exerciser who combines her nutrition knowledge and passion with motivational support in counseling to help her clients make lifestyle changes. Leslie specializes in weight management, general wellness, Diabetes, bariatric surgery, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Leslie accepts most major insurances. Telephone and/or online consults available.