Let's Talk Fiber!

Since a couple of you asked about fiber, specifically over-fibering, I thought we could turn it into a topic of its own. Besides, it was a rather bland and ordinary day and I have nothing else to talk about. :)

From what I understand, the recommended amount of fiber for adults is 20-40 grams per day. Fiber is important because it helps “move the mail”, so to speak. It absorbs large amounts of water in the bowel system, which helps everything process so much more smoothly and comfortably. If you know what I mean. Studies have shown that a fiber-rich diet can lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, along with a whole host of other maladies and diseases. Also, allegedly fiber “bulks” up in the digestive system and leaves the digester feeling full longer. I haven’t noticed any big difference in that regard, to be honest.

I usually hit somewhere in the lower 20s. The daily menu I listed for Monday was around 25 grams. Kind of on the low end hee-hee of the range. I would like to get closer to the ’30’ mark on a regular hee-hee basis, and I’ll be exploring different whole grains to help me get there. But that’s in the future.

Too much fiber can cause a gassy, bloaty feeling, and yes, I have experienced that before. My abdomen sounds like the cat fight to end all cat fights is going on in there on occasion. Fortunately, I live alone, and at work, I have an office with a door so it hasn’t become too troublesome so far. :)

Too little fiber, on the other hand, can cause constipation and bloating and has been linked to diseases such as diverticulitis, IBS (irritable bowel syndrom), liver enzyme malfunctions, colon cancer, and higher cholesterol. It has even been linked to increased PMS symptoms and acne!

Great sources of fiber include whole grains, fruits & veggies, nuts & seeds, and legumes of the beans, peas, and lentil varieties. Most, if not all, of my fiber intake is in grains, fruits, and veggies. I do have nuts sometimes, but I definitely need to explore more options.

Increasing fiber intake is one of those things that’s best accomplished with the tippy-toe approach. That is, s-l-o-w-l-y. We don’t want to overwhelm the system. :-)

Okay, I’m sure I left out loads of info, so feel free to jump in with what I missed, or if you’re aware of any misinformation I might have accumulated over the years. Anyone with more Fiber Facts?

Hope you all have a wonderful and–ahem–productive weekend! 😀