Quick – what comes to mind when you hear the word “fiber?”
I’ll bet it’s something to do with needing it to stay “regular.”
Well, yes, that’s one thing fiber helps you do – avoid constipation.
But it’s important for other reasons, too. And since March is National Nutrition Month (it’s also the month we change the clocks – yay!) it’s a good time to think about putting more fiber into your diet.
Most of us are not getting enough fiber. Current recommendations call for at least 25 grams per day; the amount in five servings of either fruits or veggies and one or two servings of either whole grains or beans.
But the average American is getting just 14 grams daily. Not nearly enough.
Aside from keeping your bowels happy, here are other reasons fiber is so valuable. It’s not just about digestion, after all:
It helps you feel full (and with that, helps with weight control).
It may help lower your cholesterol.
It may reduce your risk of coronary heart disease.
It may reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
It helps prevent hemorrhoids.
It helps in the treatment of diverticulitis (inflammation of the pouches in the digestive tract).
It helps with irritable bowel syndrome.
Where can you find fiber, other than in the obvious apples and broccoli, for instance? Here are a few surprising sources you may not normally think about:
- Chia Seeds
- Bulgur wheat