First off: all fiber is not created equal. There are 2 types: water soluble, and insoluble.
Water-soluble fiber: this kind of fiber swells when it meets water. It reduces your cholesterol levels, and helps keep your blood sugar stable. Oatmeal is the first that comes to mind. Think about how a few spoonfuls of dry oats expands to make a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.
|Oats with flax seeds, strawberries, and PB.|
Other sources of soluble fiber are:
Insoluble Fiber: is the most helpful for the digestive system. It moves bulk through the intestines, helps you avoid constipation and colon cancer. This kind of fiber will pass through our systems almost completely intact. Sources include:
-seeds and nuts
-green leafy vegetables
|Salad with green beans, almonds, sweet potato, and berries|
Ideally, we receive both kinds of fiber daily in our diets. One without the other can be problematic. Soluble fiber "keeps things together" in your intestines, while insoluble fiber "moves things along". Both types working together = a happy tummy.
Recommendations for fiber range from 25 grams daily (for women) to 38 grams (for men). But can we get TOO much fiber? As a victim of Kashi GoLean Crunch (note: half a box is NOT one serving) my answer is yes. Too much insoluble fiber can result in diarrhea. If you plan on increasing your fiber intake, it's best to do it slowly--a little more each day.
|1 serving = 8 grams of fiber.|
7 servings = 56 grams. Whoops.
If you're a runner, you probably already know that too much fiber = too many bathroom breaks on your long run. Rather than reduce your daily fiber, keep it lower 24 hours prior to your long runs (maybe 48 if you have a very sensitive stomach). The rest of the time, consume your normal amount.
How much fiber do you eat daily? Do you track it?
I don't track fiber on a daily basis, although every week or so I'll sit down and make sure I'm in the correct range. I check online for stats, since veggies don't have nutrition info printed on them!
Favorite fiber-filled foods? Do you take a supplement for fiber?
Oats are my staple. I eat oatmeal every day for breakfast, sometimes more than once if I have it for a snack/dessert as well. I also include lots of green veggies like broccoli, and nuts.
*Note: please excuse the title. I couldn't resist using the word "ado" in a post about fiber. My apologies for the terrible pun.*