They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. When it comes to fiber, there’s more truth to that than you might think. How much fiber do seniors need?
How Much Fiber Do Seniors Need?
If you’re a senior, odds are good that your doctor has encouraged you to eat more fiber at some point. When it comes to your digestive health, regularly eating fiber can do more for you than many over-the-counter medicines. People who eat the recommended amount of fiber for their age group have fewer digestive issues, show improvements in cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels, and are even less likely to die of cardiovascular disease.
Clearly, fiber is important to our digestive health. But how much fiber do seniors need for good health?
Why Should Seniors Eat More Fiber?
While every age group should be eating fiber on a regular basis, it’s especially important for seniors to be on top of their fiber intake. Seniors as a group tend to have issues with constipation and digestion. Seniors can also struggle with cholesterol issues, late-onset diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Fiber can have a positive effect on all of these ailments by lessening them, or even getting rid of them altogether, before they require more serious medical intervention. A simple change to your diet now can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
How Much Fiber Should I Eat Every Day?
The answer varies based on your age and gender. If you are over the age of 51 and you are male, experts recommend that you eat 28 grams of fiber per day. If you are female, you should be eating 22.5 grams of fiber per day.
It’s also important to make sure you’re getting a good mix of fibers. Soluble (or dissolvable) fiber absorbs water while it is digested and has a positive effect on your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber remains unchanged as you digest it, and it improves your overall digestive process. Doctors recommend aiming for a three-to-one ratio of insoluble to soluble fiber in your diet.
How Can I Eat More Fiber?
That may sound like a lot of fiber, but don’t worry. Fiber is luckily an extremely common nutrient. It is found in fruits, vegetables, rice and other whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans. If you’re already eating a balanced diet, you may be eating more fiber than you think. And if you aren’t, there are some simple changes you can make to what you eat every day:
- Whenever possible, eat whole grains. Shift your white or wheat bread to a whole grain option, and consider using whole grain flour in recipes. Substitute brown rice for white rice in a few dishes. Eat oatmeal or other cereals that say they have whole grains on the label. Try to have at least one serving of whole grains at every meal.
- Beans are full of fiber and lean protein, making them a nutritious addition to any diet. A half cup of beans can provide up to eight grams of fiber. Try substituting legumes for meat in some of your favorite recipes, or adding them to salads or other vegetable dishes.
- Focus on fruits and vegetables. You should eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Canned produce can work in a pinch, but keep in mind that fruits and vegetables can lose fiber through processing, so fresh is best if you can manage it. Fresh fruit can make a great dessert or quick snack. Be sure to eat edible peels too, as they have the highest amount of fiber.
How much fiber do seniors need? As long as you’re eating a balanced diet that features fiber-rich food, you probably won’t need to worry about it too much. If you aren’t sure how to work more fiber into your diet, ask your doctor for their advice.
Is living an active, healthy lifestyle important to you? Be sure to check out The Gables on Pelham, a continuing care retirement community that welcomes seniors from all walks of life. We offer flexible and personalized care, including assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation. You’ll love our cozy accommodations, fun-filled events calendar, and welcoming community atmosphere. To learn more, please schedule a tour or give us a call at 864-713-1377.