9 in 10 Adults Aren’t Getting Enough of This Nutrient

May 18th, 2020

There’s no such thing as a miracle food that will let you live forever. But would you believe there’s one that reduces the chance of debilitating heart attacks and strokes? Or that the same food reduces the risk of long-term diseases like type-2 diabetes? Would you believe that it has other health benefits such as weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol management?

Surely, you think, there’s no such food. Or if there is, it’s only available to millionaire celebrities. 

Shockingly, this food is available in just about any grocery store—and you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get it. Even more shockingly, 9 in 10 adults aren’t getting enough of it.

Okay, what is this miracle food?

This food is fiber.

Yep, you read that right. 

For many people, the word “fiber” conjures up an unappealing image of brown, flavorless cereal. While some fiber products might not be the most delicious thing you’ve ever eaten, cereal isn’t the only place you’ll find it. Even if boring cereal was the sole source of fiber, evidence suggests it would be worth the bran flakes. 

How much fiber should people be eating?

Researchers suggest that people should be eating at least 25g of fiber per day. This may sound like a lot, but as we’ve mentioned, fiber is found in tons of different foods, including ones you may already be eating. However, you may want to look for ways to incorporate more fiber-filled foods into your diet. Most people—90%, in fact—are eating less than 20g per day. For most people, anywhere between 25 and 30g of fiber per day is a good goal, though you should always consult your doctor for specific recommendations, including major dietary changes.

What foods contain fiber?

In addition to breakfast cereals, foods like fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, pasta, lentils, beans, seeds, and nuts. It’s not easy to increase the amount of fiber in your daily diet, but the results are often more than worth the challenge. There are a few easy tips to make it easier, though. Try swapping out white bread for whole grain, choosing high-fiber breakfast cereals, and eating fruit and vegetables (such as potatoes) with the skin on. Cereals are considered “high-fiber” when they contain 5g of fiber or more.

What are the health benefits of eating fiber?

Fiber has numerous health benefits, including preventing heart disease. It can also help lower the risk of type-2 diabetes and bowel cancer. People who eat high-fiber diets also tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol and have an easier time managing their weight. Additionally, eating fiber helps you feel full for longer and helps to feed the “good” bacteria living in your gut. In turn, this also helps promote bowel health and regular bowel movements.

Despite the benefits of fiber, adding too much to your diet too quickly can have some unpleasant side effects. You may experience gas, bloating, or cramping. Instead, add fiber slowly. Don’t forget to drink water, either, which helps fiber work better in the body.

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