It almost goes without saying that everyone knows that eating a healthy diet is paramount to health and wellness. Although eating a healthy diet doesn’t always translate into living disease free because outside forces such as environment and genetics also play a part. In addition, as we age, joints begin to creak and energy levels drop. However, eating a healthy diet can slow the effects of old age and provide a lot of benefits throughout your life.
If there was a magic ingredient easily found in many foods that is not only inexpensive, tasty, can help you lose weight, avoid dangerous diseases and live longer, would you want to use it every day? Of course you would. However, there is such an ingredient and most of us choose to ignore it.
The magic ingredient is fiber, and 80% of us make the mistake of not getting the recommended amount of fiber each day.
New research published in The American Journal of Medicine (AJM) in December, reports on a study of 23,168 people who were monitored for their consumption of fiber. Of those studied, 80% took in far less than the recommended amount. Most of the men in the study consumed an average of less than half the amount required to keep a healthy heart.
Those who ate the least amount of fiber had a much-increased rate of risk factors for heart disease. These risk factors included chronic inflammation, obesity and a group of disorders called metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is described as a group of medical disorders, that when they occur together, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by double and quintuples it for diabetes. There are studies that estimate that 25% of the American population suffers from this.
This group of disorders includes an increased blood sugar levels, abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and excess fat around the belly. Any one of these symptoms may increase your chances of heart disease or diabetes however, having them all together increases your risk significantly more.
Something that most everyone knows about fiber is that it is good for the digestive system and helps to avoid constipation and diarrhea by keeping food in the intestines moving along in a normal fashion.
There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Either one is good for your digestive health. Research is growing that fiber helps control heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes (by controlling blood glucose levels), lowers cholesterol, helps control diverticular diseases, gallstones and kidney stones. All of these medical problems can be helped greatly by including the recommended amount of fiber in your diet. It can also help you lose or maintain weight by helping you feel full and it will contribute to your overall feeling of wellness.
The AJM study showed that most people get less than half the recommended daily amount of fiber each day. Here is what you should aim for on a daily basis:
- Men aged 19 to 50 38 grams
- Men aged over 50 30 grams
- Women aged 19 to 50 25 grams
- Women aged over 50 21 grams
- Children age 1 to 3 19 grams
- Children age 4 to 8 25 grams
- Girls age 9 to 13 26 grams
- Girls age 14 to 18 29 grams
- Boys age 9 to 13 31 grams
- Boys age 14 to 18 31 grams
Perhaps part of the problem with getting enough fiber is translating grams of fiber into the food items we eat. You can find an excellent chart here. The information here helps translate grams of fiber into measurements that make more sense:
- Applesauce 2/3 cup 3.6 grams
- Baked Beans 1 cup 16 grams
- Pinto Beans 1 cup 18.8 grams
- Whole Wheat Bread 2 slices 6 grams
- Broccoli ¾ cup cooked 7 grams
- Carrots ½ cup cooked 3.4 grams
- Noodles whole wheat 1 cup 5.7 grams
- Peach 1 medium 2.3 grams
These are just a few examples of the information you will find. It can significantly improve your intake of fiber when you know how much of what will help you meet your daily requirements. Also, check the nutrition information on canned and boxed foods for fiber content. Getting enough fiber in your diet is important whether you follow modern medicine, holistic medicine or integrative medicine. Contact us at Miami Integrative Medicine and talk to Dr. Bordenave about a healthy diet that is best for you.
Published by Axiom Health Care Marketing