Fiber: Bulking up
Dietary fiber is known for improving bowel regularity. However, higher dietary fiber intake also improves cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and colon cancer.
Recommended daily intake of fiber for people 50 and older is at least 22 grams for women and 28 grams for men. To reach that:
- Read Nutrition Facts labels — Foods with 2 to 3 grams of fiber per serving are good fiber sources, but more fiber is even better. Choose breads and cereals with whole wheat or whole grain as the top ingredient.
- Make substitutions — Swap in whole grains such as brown rice, whole-grain pasta, quinoa or barley for low-fiber options such as white rice or enriched pasta. If a baked goods recipe calls for white flour, use half whole-wheat and half white flour instead.
- Add beans — Black, kidney, pinto, navy, and other types of beans and lentils are nutritional and fiber powerhouses. Use them in soups, salads, tortillas or stirfries. Try pastas made from beans or other types of legumes.
- Keep fruits, veggies and nuts handy — Many fruits, vegetables, greens, berries and unsalted nuts are good to great sources of fiber.
- Mix it in — A tablespoon or two of chia seeds, ground flaxseed or wheat germ added to hot or cold cereal, a salad, or baked goods provides a fiber and nutritional boost.
- Skip the chips — Try unsalted popcorn. If chips are a must, pair whole-grain tortilla chips with salsa or avocado dip.
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