The food groups are a useful resource when planning meals and snacks. Each group contains different types of food that benefit the body in different ways. All five food groups are packed with important nutrients, minerals and vitamins, which combine to keep the body strong and healthy. But if you’re watching your fiber intake, you also need to know which groups have fiber.
Many foods in the protein food group contain very little or no fiber. For example, eggs, meat, seafood and poultry contain no fiber. When proteins are digested, they are broken down into amino acids and used as the building blocks for new muscles, tissues and cells. Proteins also help repair damaged cells and assist with wound healing. Some foods that fit in the protein food group, however, do contain fiber. For example, beans and nuts tend to contain a healthy dose of both protein and fiber.
Dairy foods also contain no fiber. Foods in the dairy food group include milk, cheese, butter, yogurt and ice cream. These foods tend to be high in calcium, potassium and vitamin D. While calcium helps keep the bones and teeth strong, potassium assists with nerve conduction, muscle contraction and heart function. Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system. Some dairy foods might include supplemental fiber. For example, certain yogurt manufacturers add fiber for additional health benefits.
Fiber-Filled Food Groups
The other three food groups -- vegetables, fruits and grains -- are packed with fiber. Oats, barley, beans, citrus fruits and apples are high in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Whole grains, nuts, beans, potatoes and most other fruits and vegetables are high in insoluble fiber, which helps maintain a healthy digestive system.
Recommended Fiber Intake
Adult males should aim for a daily fiber intake of at least 38 grams until the age of 50. After age 50, the daily recommended fiber intake decreases to just 30 grams. Women tend to need less fiber than men. An adult woman needs about 25 grams until age 50, and then she needs just 21 grams per day thereafter.
When to Restrict Fiber
While fiber has many benefits, it can be difficult for the digestive system to process. MayoClinic.com explains that a low-fiber diet might be recommended for people with certain conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease and other diseases of the digestive tract. Fiber restriction might also be recommended after bowel or abdominal surgery. Your physician can help you determine an appropriate fiber intake goal according to your current health and nutritional status.
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