Are you getting your fill of fiber?
A new study of more than 23,000 people shows that those who consume low amounts of fiber in their diets have a higher risk of conditions such as obesity, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular inflammation.
In addition, researchers also found that people in the study generally consumed lower amounts of fiber than is recommended by the Institute of Medicine.
“Our findings indicate that, among a nationally representative sample of nonpregnant U.S. adults in NHANES [National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey] 1999-2010, the consumption of dietary fiber was consistently below the recommended total adequate intake levels across survey years,” study researcher Cheryl R. Clark, M.D., Sc.D., of the Center for Community Health and Health Equity, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said in a statement.
Women ages 19 to 50 should get 25 grams of fiber each day, while men in the same age group should get 38 grams, according to guidelines from the Institute of Medicine. And women older than 50 should get 21 grams of fiber each day and men older than 50 should get 30.
However, the study, published in the American Journal of Medicine, showed that average dietary fiber intake was 16.2 grams each day, for all age groups and genders.
Eating fiber won’t just protect your heart — research has also linked consumption with a lower risk of stroke, and even a longer life.
Foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans are high in fiber, while processed foods and refined grains are low in fiber, according to the Mayo Clinic. A cup of raspberries, for instance, has 8 grams of total fiber, while an apple with skin has 4.4 grams of total fiber and a cup of lentils has 15.6 grams of total fiber.