Why and How You Should Increase Your Fiber Intake

By The WellNest Company

You’ve heard that it’s important to get enough fiber, especially as you grow older. Numerous studies have proven that fibrous foods help seniors age healthier because they lead to lower cholesterol, control blood sugar levels, normalize bowel movements, and help manage a healthy weight. Fiber is found in a lot of foods, so it’s easy to add to daily meals.

Be sure to start slow when adding foods that are rich in fiber as snacks and meals because too much fiber too fast can potentially cause pain and discomfort. Add a few fiber rich foods each day until you meet your goal. When adding fiber to your diet, be sure to drink plenty of water. This will keep fiber moving through the digestive tract.

There are two types of fiber— insoluble and soluble. Soluble does not dissolve in water, and does not change its form as it moves through the digestive tract. Insoluble fiber performs functions like controlling pH acidity levels in the intestines, eliminating toxic waste through the colon and moving roughage through the digestive tract.

Dietitians say your ratio of soluble versus insoluble fiber should be 25 percent insoluble to 75 percent soluble. Overall fiber in whole grain foods helps prevent constipation by moving waste through the body and lowers the risk of hemorrhoids.

How this can help seniors:

Improve heart health
Fiber helps fight heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. Eating high fiber foods like beans, oats, barley, almonds, and walnuts can help some seniors lower their cholesterol.  A high fiber diet can also help lower the chance of getting certain types of cancers, such as colorectal cancer.

Combat diabetes
Diabetes is health concern for many senior adults. If you have diabetes, fiber can help control your blood glucose levels. Fiber slows the breakdown of nutrients. This allows glucose from foods to move into the blood little by little. 

Stay healthy during your “golden years.”
Generally, five servings of fruit and vegetables and servings of whole grains each day should allow you to meet your daily fiber requirement. High-fiber foods are generally low in fat and calories, yet packed with essential minerals and vitamins that promote healthy bodily functions. Try to avoid foods such as processed pastas and white breads. The refining process of these foods take the nutritional and health values out.

Quick tips for ensuring a safer home for seniors:

Tip #1 – Reduce the risk of car break-ins and lost valuables. Keep all your valuable items locked and out of view, in your trunk.

Tip #2 – Rest easy in your new home with new locks. When moving into a new home, it’s important to have new locks installed.

Tip #3 – Maintain independence in your home. If you have trouble going up and down the stairs, consider installing a stair lift.

Tip #4 – Remain mindful when heating your home. Heat your home safely – do not use an oven as a heating source, under any circumstance. Turn off all heaters when you leave your home.

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