A high fiber diet has been linked to a number of significant health benefits including a decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes, improved digestive health, and weight loss. Some studies have associated a diet rich in dietary fiber to a decreased risk of colon cancer, although more recent studies have found that link to be unsubstantiated. Regardless, nutritionists and health experts agree that a diet rich in fiber is important for optimal health.
So how much fiber is necessary to reap these health benefits? The University of Maryland provides a fiber calculator at HealthCalculators.com. The calculator takes into account age, size, gender and activity level in the process of developing a personalized recommendation. As a general rule, however, the TheNational Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicinerecommends 38 grams of fiber for men under the age of 50, and 30 grams for those over the age of 50. For women, 25 grams of dietary fiber are recommended for the younger age group, and 21 grams for women over the age of 50.
One of the easiest ways to consume a significant serving of fiber is by eating oatmeal in the morning. A generous serving of either the popular steel cut oats or more traditional rolled oats can contain up to 8 grams of dietary fiber. Rolled outs generally take less than five minutes to prepare. Add blueberries to increase the fiber intake by another 2 grams, or a banana for another 3 grams. Supplement this healthy breakfast choice by adding calcium rich skim milk. If you have more time to invest in cooking a hearty breakfast try this recipe suggested by Minneapolis-based personal trainer Kyle Norman for a healthy morning treat.
Blueberry Almond Coconut Steel-Cut Oats
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
- 6 almonds crushed
- 1 tbsp. of dried coconut
- 1/3 cup steel-cut oats
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. whole flax seeds
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 tsp. honey
After cooking steel-cut oats, mix in almond extract, honey and flax seeds. Then remove from heat and top with almonds, coconut, and blueberries.
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