- The first part of this question is simple, there is no true formula as to how much fiber you actually need, but you want to aim to intake between 25-35 gm/day. The average American only takes in about 15 gm/day, so by actually making a conscious effort to increase your fiber, you will definitely be improving your intake.
- The second part of this question can be considered "unstated", but the reader is looking for sources that are fiber rich.
- A great place to start your day is with a high fiber cereal. Cereals like Kashi and Fiber One can start you off with between 12 and 14 grams of fiber. That is about half your daily needs just in breakfast. If you team that up with a banana (3-4 grams of fiber) and almond milk (1 gram fiber) you are already of to 18 grams of fiber to start your day.
- You may be eating "whole wheat" products, thinking they will increase your fiber intake, but you need to actually READ THROUGH THE INGREDIENT LIST.
Below are two kinds of "wheat bread".
ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR [FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, REDUCED IRON, NIACIN, THIAMIN MONONITRATE (VITAMIN B1),RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), FOLIC ACID], WATER, HONEY, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, YEAST, WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, SOYBEANAND/OR CANOLA OIL, WHEAT BRAN, SALT, ENRICHMENT (CALCIUM SULFATE, VITAMIN E ACETATE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, VITAMIND3), WHEAT GLUTEN, MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, CALCIUM PROPIONATE (PRESERVATIVE), DATEM, SOY LECITHIN, CITRIC ACID,GRAIN VINEGAR, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, AZODICARBONAMIDE, ETHOXYLATED MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDE.
If you read the ingredients list carefully, you will notice that one bread has whole wheat flour, while the other has "enriched wheat flour". If the bread does not have the entire kernel of grain, its not worth eating the "wheat" bread for dietary benefits, unless you like the taste.
A sandwich with two slice of whole wheat bread will have another 8 grams of fiber...so that brings you up to 26 grams. Have you been keeping up with the math?
- Now, there are lots of fruits and veggies which are also high in fiber, especially Apples, Avocado, Bananas, Leafy Greens, Potatoes with Skin, Nuts, and Legumes. You can mix these into whatever meals you like. Other sources of fiber include oatmeal and other oat products. Try to stick with whole oats though, because your basic minute oatmeal is stripped of most of its nutrients.
- Finally, there is the third part to conundrum. Gassy bloat from fiber rich foods. When intaking a high fiber diet, your body breaks down soluble fiber in the large intestine. There are tons of chemical reactions taking place in the large intestine, and this is why you will usually end up with gas.
To help with this, you can try to increase your insoluble fiber (brown rices, whole wheats, grapes, raisins, leafy veggies, ect). Also, think about adding Activia to your diet. Yogurts with probiotics help increase the good bacteria in your stomach to break down hard to digest foods. You may also want to think about cooking some of these products, as food loses some of its nutrients when cooked. You can always use the broth you cook your veggies in, as part of your meal or with something else to reabsorb some that you lose. Happy Eating!