Managing daily fiber intake: how much fiber do we need to prevent constipation?

If you have constipation problems, you should monitor your daily fiber intake. While fiber cannot cure the main cause of constipation, it can help alleviate some of the symptoms. Including foods rich in fiber in your diet will help keep your digestive system regular.

Your daily fiber intake has a direct effect on the way your small intestine and colon function. Your small intestine is responsible for collecting nutrients and vitamins from digested food after it has passed through your esophagus and stomach. Once the food has been processed there, it passes into the large intestine and colon. The colon’s job is to lubricate the stool and help it pass through the rectum.

Fiber is involved in two different ways. Your daily fiber intake should include both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber forms a gel and prevents the intestines from absorbing too much fat. Insoluble fiber keeps food moving through your digestive system and adds bulk to your stool, making it easier to pass.

Your dietary fiber intake is determined by your age and gender. For women ages 19 to 50, the recommended daily fiber intake is 25 grams. Men of the same age should consume at least 30 grams a day. After age 50, both men and women should consume around 50 grams of fiber. Children need between 5 and 15 grams of fiber depending on their age. However, the average American only eats 12 grams or less per day.

Make sure your daily fiber intake includes both types of fiber by eating a variety of fresh foods. All foods that are natural contain fiber, some more than others. For insoluble fiber, eat wheat bran, whole grains, and vegetables. Soluble fibers can be found in citrus fruits, vegetables, oats, and barley. These foods contain the highest concentration of each type of fiber.

As long as you focus your diet on fresh foods and not packaged foods, your daily fiber intake should be adequate. In fact, the reason many people have constipation problems is because they eat too many processed foods. Processed foods are lacking in fiber and other important nutrients that play a role in your digestive health.

Making sure your daily fiber intake is the same is just one of the important steps you can take to alleviate symptoms of constipation. Eating fiber every day can help you stay regular, but if you continue to have constipation issues, you must find a cure for the source of your digestive problems.