Fiber, a crucial component of a healthy diet, is a carbohydrate that the body is unable to digest. It is found in many of the plants that we eat, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Getting adequate fiber in your diet can help to:

  • Reduce your risk of developing colon cancer and diverticulitis.
  • Keep your digestive system clean and healthy.
  • Ease bowel movements.
  • Flush cholesterol and harmful carcinogens out of the body.

Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough in their diet. The average American only consumes about 10-15 grams each day. As you can see from the table below, this is far below the recommendations!

FIBER RECOMMENDATIONS
Age Men Women
50 years old and younger 38 grams/day 25 grams/day
51 years old and older 30 grams/day 21 grams/day

 

Now you may be wondering what you can do to increase your fiber intake. A few simple steps to take include:

  • Eating 2 servings of fruits each day.
  • Eating 3-4 servings of vegetables each day.
  • Including beans in diet a few days each week.
  • Adding nuts and seeds as snacks or to salads, yogurts, or desserts.
  • Choosing grains that contain fiber – oatmeal, whole grains, quinoa, etc.

Following those tips, be sure to make a list of items you need for your weekly menu – it helps to stick to your list. Find more helpful hints on planning a weekly menu in MOVE Module 7, Menu planning, shopping, and cooking.

In order to avoid GI distress, you will want to gradually increase your fiber intake until you reach your goal. It is also very important to increase your water intake, too. This can help you bulk up your stool, but the water is necessary to flush it all out!

Be sure to listen to our full episode to get a couple of my favorite high-fiber recipes!


Tori Stewart, MS, RD, LDN, CPT is a registered dietitian, certified personal trainer, and group fitness instructor at the Marion VA.

Smiling woman in MVP posterCombining science and service as a VA genetic counselor
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One Comment

  1. Ephrain R. Rainey March 13, 2021 at 10:48 am

    Fiber information (and all other information) is very valuable to us Veterans but we don’t need or can listen to the extra verbage. Ok to hear the person’s qualifications but the build up with other info turns us off and we have to delete. Also, we, like anyone, can’t listen and copy receipts without running the message back a number of times; print it instead. A simple statement of facts will do just fine and we’ll try to listen. A SIMPLE statement of facts is enough. Since the info is from the VA, someone we should trust, we should be able to believe lt. “You need fiber, how to get it, printed receipts, solid statements,” will suffice. The audio on this blog except for the solid statements is a turn off for most people and is turned off. Thanks for all the help.
    SMSgt E. R. Rainey (And for others)
    USAF Retired

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