A healthy lifestyle involves eating lots of fiber, but how do you know if you’re actually getting enough? The daily recommended fiber intake for men and women over the age of 50 is 38 grams and 25 grams, respectively. But those are just numbers. How can you tell how much fiber you’re eating?
Fiber is an integral part of a healthy diet as it plays a role in many bodily functions. If you think you may not be getting the recommended amount, watch out for these five signs indicating that your body needs more fiber.
5 signs you need more fiber
Your poop is a different shape: Even if you’re having regular bowel movements, a poop that looks like pellets (think of a bunny) or is hard is an indication that you need more fiber. Ideally, you want to look for a C-shape or long log shape when it comes to normal poop.
You’re still hungry even after you’ve eaten: Just finished a meal, but already hungry for more? Fiber takes up space within the digestive tract, making you feel full. If you’re not eating enough fiber, you can be left feeling hungry and unsatisfied.
You’re bloated: It is true that too much fiber can leave you feeling bloated, but too little fiber can have the same effect. Fiber helps move things along, so when there isn’t enough, some of the digested food could be left behind, causing bloating.
You need a nap after a meal: If your first instinct after a meal is to get some shut-eye, it could be a sign of a low fiber intake. Fiber helps maintain and regulate healthy blood sugar levels, so when you consume too little or none at all, your blood sugar spikes, causing you to feel sleepy.
You fail this digestion test: Eat some corn without chewing. When it comes out on the other end can tell you how well your digestive system is performing. If the corn kernels make an appearance within 18 hours, you have a healthy digestion. If it takes longer, you need more fiber.
If any of these five signs of low fiber intake apply to you, do not fret. Adding in more fiber to your diet is fairly easy. Stock up on dark leafy greens and other vegetables. Swap out your refined bread for whole grains. Try a fiber supplement if getting fiber in through dietary means is a challenge.