Fiber: What You Should Know
Do you get enough fiber in your diet? Eating the right amount of fiber has many health benefits including treatment of constipation, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, lowering high cholesterol, and weight loss.
The best way to get fiber is naturally through a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts.
- Eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables each day.
- Replace refined white bread with whole-grain breads, cereals, and brown rice.
- Review nutrition labels and choose foods which have 5 grams of fiber per serving. Most people should consume 25 to 38 grams of fiber each day.
Common fiber supplements are inulin, oligofructose, and psyllium, which help speed waste through the body. If you’re considering taking fiber supplements, keep a few key points in mind:
- Drink plenty of fluids. Drink 8 glasses of water, which helps the body digest fiber.
- Watch for side effects. Supplements can cause abdominal cramping, bloating, and diarrhea. Spread fiber intake throughout the day.
- Take supplements separately from medication. Supplements may reduce absorption of certain medications such as digoxin and Coumadin. Take medications 1 hour before or 2 hours after supplements.
– Tejal Chande, Pharm. D