Mark Twain once compared the acts of elimination and procreation, and claimed that the former was seriously underrated compared to the latter. He most certainly had a point, as anyone who has suffered from an inability to move their bowels will vehemently agree. The simple solution to avoiding being in this situation is to not only increase the amount of fiber you consume, but to ensure it comes from many different sources.

And now science backs this up, as new research shows that people who get dietary fiber from varied sources benefit more than those who limit their intake to a single food or low-fiber diets.

While the recommended amount of dietary fibre per day is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women, it appears that men typically get around 18 grams, and women get around 15 grams.

This is alarming, as a healthy daily fiber intake helps control cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, insulin and excess weight, while also regulating multiple facets of the digestive system. Two fruits and three vegetable servings a day can help adults get the recommended amount of fiber.

Julie Miller Jones, professor emeritus at Minnesota-based St Catherine University, says that the problem is when consumers choose fruits or vegetables, it is often low-fiber options such as one piece of lettuce and a thin slice of tomato on a sandwich. She suggests, “Instead of looking at only plant-based sources, people should strive for a mix of fiber sources, including fiber that has been added to food in the manufacturing process such fiber-fortified bread, cereals, yogurt and pasta.”

The study, presented at the IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation event in Chicago recently, concluded that a combination of naturally occurring and added fiber can increase the chances of achieving the health benefits of a high-fiber diet.

Other easy ways to do this are to start adding healthy ingredients to smoothies, salad and sandwiches. Here are some great sources to dietary fiber:

  1. Organic greens such as spinach and kale, since they are neutral in taste and add loads of vitamins and fiber to any dish they’re added to.
  2. A spoonful of flaxseed meal will up your levels of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids that fight inflammation. Research shows that flaxseed, also called linseed, is a rich source of fiber that can bind with cholesterol and prevent it from being absorbed by the body. As a result, dietary cholesterol gets excreted and does not deposit on the arterial walls. Besides, linseed also helps reduce LDL cholesterol, which in turn benefits your heart health.
  3. Even beans are a rich source of fiber that binds with circulating cholesterol and promotes its excretion.
  4. Other alternatives are oat bran and wheat bran, healthy forms of carbohydrate.

Fiber is a very important part of our daily diet, and its appropriate consumption promotes good digestion and bowel movement.

Image Source: Shutterstock

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Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.