Filling up on fiber might sound like something for your mom or grandma, but no matter how old you are, fiber provides many advantages, from your waistline to your heart. Found in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, and grains, fiber is an important part of your daily diet. It satisfies hunger and keeps your digestive system in top shape, and it also has been linked to lower cholesterol. And because of hormonal changes and pressure from the expanding uterus many pregnant women experience issues with constipation at some point during their pregnancy. So make sure you get enough fiber while pregnant.
Women should get 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day, but most of us get only about one third to one half that amount. The first step is to become familiar with what one day of fiber could look like in your diet:
- ½ cup beans (8 grams of fiber)
- 1 whole wheat English muffin (4 grams of fiber)
- ½ cup cooked vegetables (4 grams of fiber)
- 1 small apple (2 grams of fiber)
- ½ avocado (6 grams of fiber)
- 1 ounce almonds (3 grams of fiber)
There are two types of fiber on food labels: soluble and insoluble. Both types are important, which is why the total dietary fiber (the two types added together) is the value to watch.
- Soluble fiber partially dissolves in water and gives a feeling of fullness. It also helps lower cholesterol, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. Oatmeal, oat bran, apples, citrus fruits, legumes, and psyllium are rich in soluble fiber.
- Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and helps move things along your digestive tract. Whole grains, bran, nuts, and vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber.