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Fiber Deficiency - A Health Concern In America

If you’re reading this, odds are you’re not getting nearly enough fiber in your diet. Unbelievably, about 95% of Americans aren’t eating enough fiber. More shocking is that, on average, adolescents and adults are only consuming about 50 percent of their needs.

𝐖𝐇𝐘 𝐃𝐎 𝐈 𝐍𝐄𝐄𝐃 𝐅𝐈𝐁𝐄𝐑?

Managing digestion. A low-fiber diet can lead to constipation, which is a chronic condition seen in many children. Eating enough fiber on a regular basis can lead to bowel regularity for kids and adults alike.

Improved regulation of blood glucose levels.A meal high in fiber will slow down digestion of food into the intestines, which slows blood sugar rise.

Heart health. A high-fiber diet is associated with improved blood lipid levels. Soluble fiber helps lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart disease.

Aiding in nutrient intake and satiety. Many foods with fiber also have a variety of other necessary vitamins and minerals. Also, fiber keeps you full, which can aid in weight control.

𝐖𝐇𝐀𝐓 𝐅𝐎𝐎𝐃𝐒 𝐀𝐑𝐄 𝐇𝐈𝐆𝐇 𝐈𝐍 𝐅𝐈𝐁𝐄𝐑?

You can find fiber in a variety of nuts, legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

High-fiber grains:

100 percent whole-wheat breads and pastas, brown rice, bran cereals, rolled oats/oatmeal, popcorn, beans (all kinds) and lentils

High-fiber fruits:

Raspberries, pears, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, apples, peaches, prunes

High-fiber vegetables:

Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach, potatoes and sweet potatoes, string beans, peas

Aside from providing fiber, most of the foods high in fiber are also full of a bunch of other nutrients needed for a balanced diet.

𝐅𝐈𝐕𝐄 𝐀 𝐃𝐀𝐘-

The best way to get your fiber in is to focus on a diet rich in fruits and veggies. "Five a day" is a term often used to remind kids (and adults) to eat two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables every day. If we aren't eating enough of these plant foods, it's very difficult to meet our fiber goals.

As is true with all nutrient deficiencies, food sources are the best way to close the gap. However, if eating more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis probably isn’t in the cards for you, supplements can help bridge the gap.

𝐒𝐔𝐏𝐏𝐋𝐄𝐌𝐄𝐍𝐓 𝐒𝐀𝐅𝐄𝐓𝐘-

While there isn’t evidence to suggest fiber supplements are harmful, it’s better to get fiber from natural sources because you also get the vitamins and minerals that the foods provide.

Whether you increase your fiber intake using a supplement or by eating a higher fiber diet, be sure to increase your fluid intake as you increase your fiber. Fluid is required to help push fiber through the digestive tract, and too little water with more fiber could worsen constipation.

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