Fiber is indigestible carbohydrate. Fiber keeps things moving in the body, helping regulate digestive processes, slowing down the absorption of sugar, and keeping the heart healthy.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women must take in 25 grams of total fiber every day. For men, that’s 38 grams. For both men and women, 10 to 15 grams need to be from soluble fiber.
It gets more complicated than that though. As you age, you need less fiber. When you’re over 50, you should consume only 21 grams of fiber per day (women) or 30 grams (men).
Data from the University of California shows that adults in the US aren’t getting enough fiber. The average is 15 grams a day. That’s roughly half the amount needed for a healthy lifestyle.
As an executive, you should be doing what you can to eat enough fiber.
Eating enough fiber helps guard you against diabetes too. The American Diabetes Association encourages carbs to be at 130g per day which means going high fiber low carb for your diet should not exceed that amount.
Likely, you’ve heard of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber decreases blood glucose and cholesterol while insoluble fiber is what keeps things moving through the digestive system.
Both of them are important for your overall health and digestion. Plus, they can help prevent diseases.
– Soluble fiber draws in water and turns into a gel-like substance as it’s digested. It slows down digestion but can be great for lowering your risk for heart disease.
– Insoluble fiber aids digestion by adding bulk to your stool, allowing foods to pass more rapidly through your digestive system.
Soluble fiber is even more important though because it can reduce your cholesterol levels and help balance blood sugar. You’ll find it in oats and dried beans plus certain fruits and vegetables. Your total dietary fiber intake of both soluble and insoluble fiber should hit on the amounts discussed above.
This survey by Omnibus found that people seek out “whole grain” labels for fiber.
While they do provide more fiber than their refined grain counterparts, the fiber content can vary drastically. Not all foods with “whole grain” are ideal sources of fiber. The FDA defines good fiber as containing 3 grams per serving and ranks ‘excellent’ as a minimum of 5 grams per serving.
Always read your labels!
– Try a bowl of high-fiber oats and fruit for breakfast.
Need more breakfast inspiration?
– Make meals more fibrous and meatless at once. Substitute legumes or beans for meat 2 or 3 times each week. Soups and meatless chili are great ways to do this!
We have more tasty ideas for you.
– Add a side of broccoli or other vegetables to your dinner.
– Choose raw vegetables instead of chips, crackers, or candy bars when you snack at the office.
– Stay away from refined foods as much as you can. If you eat an apple, you get 4.4 grams of fiber (keep that peel on!). But if you eat a half-cup of applesauce, you only get 1.4 grams of fiber.