Fiber is an often overlooked and undervalued component of a healthy diet. You might be used to strictly counting calories and carefully tracking your protein, fat and carbohydrate intake, but fiber can fall by the wayside. You need roughly 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you eat, but your total daily fiber intake can vary depending on a number of different factors.
The more calories you eat, the more fiber you need. Going by the Harvard School of Public Health's recommendations of 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories means your fiber intake changes as your calorie intake does. If you're eating to lose weight and only consuming 1,600 calories per day this works out at 22.4 grams per day, or if you're looking to gain weight and consuming more calories in the range of 2,000 to 2,400 per day this will mean eating 28 to 33.6 grams of fiber daily.
Every woman needs ample fiber to aid with digestion, but it becomes even more important if you're trying to keep your cholesterol levels in check. Soluble fiber found in oats, apples, barley, peas, beans and carrots can lower your levels of LDL -- the "bad" type of cholesterol, according to MayoClinic.com. If you have high cholesterol, speak to your doctor about upping your fiber intake to counteract this.
The same soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol also has benefits for diabetes sufferers. Eating more fiber slows digestion speed which helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. Just go easy on the fruit if you have diabetes -- while it may provide fiber it also contains sugar, so you're better off getting most of your fiber from lower-sugar sources.
Eating More Fiber
Whatever your goal, eating more fiber can prove beneficial. The digestion-slowing effect can help you feel fuller and stop you from snacking and consuming those unhelpful extra calories. Look to include more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans in your diet. A word of warning though -- Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences recommends not going over 35 grams of fiber daily and increasing your intake gradually if you're not used to a high-fiber diet.
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