Here’s an interesting little factoid I bet you didn’t know.

When you think of deficiency in the standard American diet, also rightly known as “SAD,” protein or fat is usually the first thing that comes to mind.

But guess again partner. It’s that chewy gooey substance we love to talk about called dietary fiber.

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According to our good friends at the Institute of Medicine, men up to 50 years old should get at least 38 g a day and men over 50 should get at least 30g; women up to 50 require 25 g, while women over 50 should get at least 21 g per day.

Are you getting this much fiber in your daily diet? I hope so, because it acts as a scouring agent for your intestines and helps your digestive tract work properly.

Do you remember that absolutely hilarious Saturday Night Live sketch from several years ago, featuring Phil Hartman called Colon Blow?

The narrator said something along the lines of “In order to get the same amount of fiber in a single bowl of Colon Blow, you’d have to eat… 30,000 bowls of the leading brand!” Then Phil Hartman gets lifted off the ground as all these bowls of cereal amass beneath him.

You don’t have to go to the extreme of eating 30,000 bowls of cereal to get your dietary fiber intake, but to ward off colon cancer, diabetes, excessive weight gain and high blood pressure, you’d best be served at least getting your daily allowance.

Pay attention below as I drop some of the best sources on you.

I’m not going to be vague here either. I’m going to give you actual foods that you can integrate into your diet so there are no grey areas. I also recommend eating your fiber in small doses throughout the course of the day.

It’s a lot easier to eat 30 g worth in five portions than in one sitting. This will be way less taxing on your gut too.

Chia Seeds

These rank really high in my list of favorite foods, let alone high-fiber foods. A single tablespoon contains 5 g! Chia seeds are also high in protein, essential fats and antioxidants.

Add one or two tablespoons to your favorite smoothie or bowl or oatmeal and you’ll be pointed in the right direction.

Wheat Berries

Wheat berries are unsung heroes in my opinion. They are the unprocessed whole kernel of wheat before it is ground or mashed to a pulp, and turned into bread or some other “whole grain” product. I say stick with the berries and leave the bread for the birds.

A ½ c cooked serving yields nearly 7 g of fiber as well as 7 g of protein! That’s a nice balance and balance builds character. They also have a generous amount of iron and a pinch of calcium for good measure.

Legumes

Sources of dietary fiber_02

A lot of people consider beans to be legumes. That’s true, they are. But legumes go further than just beans. They are any pod-bearing food that has a shell covering internal seeds. This means beans, peanuts, peas, lentils and edamame all fall into the legume category.

Lentils are of primary interest when it comes to fiber content. A cup of cooked lentils contains almost 16 g.

If you are looking to get nearly half of your daily intake of fiber in one fell swoop, whip up a batch of these babies! But you just might want to take a digestive enzyme before you eat them to spare yourself, or those around you, any gastrointestinal “situations” if you know what I mean.

All forms of beans are high in fiber as well. You’d be hard pressed to find one that has less than 6 g per serving. Add garbanzo beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, Navy beans or white beans to casseroles, salads, dips or stir fries to get a hit of fiber.

Raspberries

Have you ever heard of anthocyanins? They are compounds that give fruits and vegetables their colorful hues. More importantly, they’re powerful antioxidants that will boost your immunity and help prevent unwanted diseases.

Raspberries contain anthocyanins, and they are also high in dietary fiber. A cupful has approximately 8 g. These make good snacks and blend well in smoothies, salads, bowls of cereal and yogurt. Just be careful not to drop any on your shirt. They stain really easily and are hard to clean up.

Artichokes

I remember when I was a little kid, my mom would be in the kitchen hard at work making us a fantastic meal. Then all of a sudden I heard this weird sound that reminded me of a machine gun going off, but instead of shooting bullets, it was steam.

Come to find out, it was artichokes being made in this special pot the likes of which I have never seen since.

The moral of the story is, include artichokes in your daily diet. A medium-sized artichoke has 10 g of fiber. As an added benefit, they are also high in vitamin C and have modest amounts of iron and calcium.

To summarize today’s events, fiber is a necessary substance to prevent disease. In addition to the above list, don’t be afraid to add other foods to your diet that are also high in fiber.

When it comes to packaged foods, make sure to inspect labels closely and choose products with the highest fiber content. Until next time, I’m out. You know how to reach me if you need further assistance.

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