How to Get More Fiber in Your Diet

May 15, 2023 | Senior Health

Many doctors and nutritionists encourage individuals to increase their fiber intake, but why? Fiber is an important complex carb that can promote weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and help regulate your digestive system, amongst other benefits. However, about 95% of Americans don’t meet the recommended fiber intake.

So how can you get more fiber in your diet? At Astral at Auburn, our award-winning dining program is dedicated to enhancing nutrition through creative, delicious meals. When individuals choose our senior living community in Auburn, Indiana, they experience indulgent flavors and reap all the nutritional benefits of fresh ingredients.

What are the Benefits of Fiber?

Fiber is a general term that describes a complex carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. At first glance, this phrase might sound concerning, but the fact that fiber isn’t broken down doesn’t make it less important.

Fiber leaves the stomach undigested and makes its way to the colon, where it serves as food for the friendly bacteria in your gut. As a result, dietary fiber provides a wide variety of benefits:

  • Promotes Healthy Weight: The presence of fiber can slow down digestion, which helps you feel fuller for long periods of time. High-fiber foods, like fruits and vegetables, also tend to be low in calories.
  • Controls Blood Sugar: Your body takes longer to break down foods that are high in fiber, which helps maintain more consistent blood sugar levels.
  • Reduces Cholesterol: Fiber traps certain types of fats in the digestive system, preventing them from being absorbed and lowering levels of cholesterol
  • Prevents Constipation: Fiber naturally adds excess in the digestive tract, stimulating the intestines and promoting smoother, more regular bowel movements.

How Much Fiber Should I Consume?

According to the National Resource Center on Aging and Nutrition, men between the ages of 50-70 need 30 grams daily, while women between the ages of 50-70 need 21 grams daily.

It’s important to ensure the amount of fiber you consume every day is the right amount. Too much fiber can cause gastrointestinal issues, primarily when a large amount of fiber is implemented quickly into a diet, and too little fiber can cause constipation and increase the risk of chronic diseases.

As we age, our bodies tend to carry on excess weight, and as the digestive system begins to slow down, extra pounds continue to accumulate. Consuming the right amount of fiber is essential for older adults due to natural aging factors, such as:

  • Decreased metabolism
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Less physical activity

How to Get More Fiber in Your Diet

Fiber is mainly found in whole foods, like fruits and veggies, nuts, beans and legumes, and whole-grain products. When grocery shopping for ingredients packed with fiber, be mindful of purchasing processed or refined items, like white bread and pasta, canned fruits and vegetables and non-whole-grain cereals. When these foods are processed, they go through grain-refining, which removes the outer coat (also known as bran) from the grain, lowering the fiber content. 

In addition, there are plenty of fiber supplements on the market, whether you prefer vitamins or powder forms that dissolve in water. These supplements – such as Metamucil, Citrucel and FiberCon – can be beneficial if a person doesn’t see any positive effects after dietary changes or if they have certain conditions like constipation or diarrhea. 

However, foods tend to be a better fiber source than supplements alone, as supplements don’t have all of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that can be reaped from whole foods. 

As always, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor before adding any supplements or making changes to your diet.

Whatever your health goals, getting more fiber in your diet can help your body reach its full wellness potential. At Astral at Auburn, purposeful living begins with setting mindful wellness objectives, and our dining program strives to deliver nutrition and incredible flavor at every meal. Our senior living community in Auburn, Indiana, offers the tools, resources and assistance you need in order to start living your best – and healthiest – lifestyle yet!

We invite you to discover purposeful senior living by visiting the Astral at Auburn website or calling us at 260-908-8300.

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