Fiber – Substances found in certain plant foods which:
- help to move these foods through the body more quickly, and
- increase the bulk of the stool
They do both things because they contain material which is not fully digestable. Examples of high fiber foods are:
- whole grain breads and cereals, like wheat, bran, and oat
- peas and beans
- nuts and seeds
- many fruits and vegetables and even the skins of apples and pears
Medical experts believe that because high fiber foods travel rapidly through the intestines, carrying toxic waste along with them, they decrease the amount of time cancer-producing substances (called carcinogens) stay in contact with the walls of the intestines. Getting rid of toxic waste faster decreases the risk of colorectal cancer. It also helps to protect against common conditions like diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome. The bulky stools help to prevent constipation.
In food shopping, it’s important to always read the food labels, and choose many high fiber fruits and vegetables. The recommended daily intake of Total Fiber for different ages and genders follows.
Female Teens 26 grams/day
Males 9-13 years old 31 grams/day
Female adults under 50 years 25 grams/day
Males 14 – 50 years old 38 grams/day
Females 51 years and over 21 grams/day
Males 51 – years and over 30 grams/day
Many Tip Sheets and Recipes in our Food and Fitness Channel are helpful for choosing and eating enough fiber on a regular basis.