Getting enough daily fiber in your diet is super important because fiber helps support a smoother, more functional digestive system, provides stronger immunity, and promotes overall well-being.
Many Americans average only half of the recommended 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber per day, according to the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Yet the current average daily intake of fiber is 15 grams, as the typical diet includes many foods with high calories, such as white bread, doughnuts, sodas, juices and red meat, to name a few.
Fun fact, you would need to eat about 10 apples or bananas every day to obtain your daily fiber requirement.
It’s a startling statistic that the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates only about five percent of Americans reach the recommended level of dietary fiber requirements. This is known as the “fiber gap” as limited fiber intake has been associated with colon cancer and metabolic syndrome.
The “fiber gap” exists for two reasons: people think fiber supplements are primarily for maintaining a regular digestive system, and traditional forms of fiber supplements on the market, such as powder or capsules, are inconvenient to take.
Research shows that the digestive system does more than digest food; it plays a central role in the immune system. The healthy bacteria that live in the digestive tract promote immune system function, so it’s important to nourish the body with fiber. Inulin has secondary benefits, too, of possibly lowering cholesterol, balancing blood chemistry and regulating appetite, which can help reduce calorie intake and play a supporting role in weight management.
But getting enough fiber in is hard.
So try these tips to increase the amount of fiber in your diet:
• Make your grains whole. Read labels and swap out conventional grains for whole wheat when buying bread and pasta products, and choose brown rice over white.
• Make your veggies green. Green vegetables, including beans, spinach, cabbage, and asparagus are good sources of dietary fiber.
• Go bananas! Many types of fruit are high in fiber, but bananas are an especially rich source. Add mashed bananas to muffins, smoothies, or a bowl of oatmeal as a way to increase fiber intake.
• Add a supplement. Sometimes eating enough fiber-rich foods is a challenge. So choose a dietary fiber supplement with prebiotic effects.