Dietary Fiber

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Dietary fiber is several plant materials that the body is unable to digest. Fiber is important for the digestive system and lowering cholesterol. Fiber is divided into two categories: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber can dissolve in water which forms a gel-like substance. Soluble fiber has been connected with increased diet quality and a decrease in the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Some foods that are high in soluble fiber include: oatmeal, legumes, strawberries, apples and barley. Insoluble fiber increases the flow of material in the digestive tract and increases the amount of stool produced. Insoluble fiber has been credited with reduction of cardiovascular risk; slows the progression of cardiovascular disease in high-risk people. Whole-wheat foods, cabbage, carrots, nuts and cauliflower are some of the foods rich with insoluble fiber. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that children and adults should consume at least 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed. Children age two and over should receive the majority of calories from complex carbohydrates high in fiber. The table below provides a suggestion of the amount of fiber that should be consumed by children and adults by the Institute of Medicine. Table 1

Grams A DayGender
1-3 years19Doesn’t apply
4-8 years25Doesn’t apply
9-13 years26Female
9-13 years31Male
14-18 years29Female
14-18 years38Male
19-50 years25Female
19-50 years38Male
50+ years21Female
50+ years30Male
After reading different articles about fiber intake, I was surprised to learn that my fiber intake is below the recommended amount. They are plenty of foods to choose from that taste and rich in fiber. I plan to adjust my current diet to reduce my risk for cardiovascular disease and colon cancer; increase my quality of life.
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