Improving Your Digestive Regularity

Improving Your Digestive Regularity

Feeling a little stopped up lately? It may come down to a lack of fiber consumption. The typical American only consumes around 8-10 grams of fiber per day, mostly from processed food sources. This is far from the recommended amount of 25-35 grams of daily fiber intake! You can find fiber in sources such as fruits, veggies, beans, seeds, and whole grain products like breads, cereals and pastas. It is important to vary your fiber intake as there are two main types of fiber, both with important jobs to do.

Types of Fiber

The first is called insoluble fiber. This is the tough matter found in whole grains, nuts, fruits, and veggies. It cannot be dissolved in water and is not broken down by the gut. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the waste in our digestive system to help keep us regular.

The second is called soluble fiber. This is found in beans, peas, oats, barley, fruits, and avocados. It absorbs water and creates a gel-like substance inside the digestive tract. This helps to soften the stool so it can more easily slide through our gastrointestinal tract. Soluble fiber also helps with weight management by keeping us feeling fuller, longer.

Be sure to increase your fluid intake as you increase your fiber intake. If you are slightly dehydrated while consuming more fiber than usual, this can create fuller constipation, gas, and bloating. Prevent this problem by drinking an extra glass, or two, of water daily!

Foods to Increase Your Fiber Intake

If you are looking to increase your fiber intake, try incorporating these foods more regularly into your eating schedule. Higher fiber options are listed below with the proper serving size and the respective amount of fiber (in grams).

  • Sweet potatoes:
    • 1 large (baked, with skin) = 6g
  • Raspberries:
    • 1 cup = 8 g
  • Black beans:
    • 1 cup = 19 g
  • Edamame:
    • 1 cup = 8 g
  • Apples:
    • 1 medium = 4.4 g (add 2 Tbsp. Peanut butter and you’re up to 6.4 g)
  • Avocado:
    • 1 whole = 9.2
  • Brussels sprouts:
    • 1 cup = 4 g
  • Quinoa:
    • 1 cup = 5.2 g
  • Artichoke:
    • 1 medium-sized = 7 g
  • Blackberries:
    • 1 cup = 8 g
  • Prunes:
    • 6 dried prunes = 4 g (be careful because they are very high in sugar!)
  • Navy beans:
    • 1 cup = 19 g
  • Chickpeas:
    • 1 cup = 12.5 g
  • Broccoli:
    • 1 medium stalk = 6 g (or 5 g for 1 cup)
  • Chia seeds:
    • 1 oz. = 10 g
  • White beans:
    • 1 cup = 11 g
  • Lentils:
    • 1 cup = 15.6 g
  • Pears:
    • 1 medium = 5.5 g

If you need additional advice on how to eat better and avoid constipation in the future, come see me for a FREE nutrition consultation!

Schedule a Nutrition Consultation

Sarah Brunner Registered Dietician at Elite Sports Clubs

Written by Sarah Brunner, RDN, CD; Elite Sports Clubs Registered Dietitian

Sarah is certified in food allergies/intolerances and nutritional counseling, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; has a certificate in Dietetics from Mount Mary University; and a BA in Education and Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.

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