Fiber (cont.)

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Fiber for preventing or treating constipation

Fiber may just be the way to go when constipation is the problem. Although what constitutes constipation is not well established, diets that increase the number of bowel movements per day, improve the ease with which a stool is passed, or increase stool bulk are considered beneficial. Both soluble and insoluble fibers are necessary for regular bowel movements. Oftentimes, people use over-the-counter supplements to assist with regularity. Unfortunately, these supplements only provide soluble fiber. Studies support the benefits of the combination of soluble and insoluble fiber in alleviating constipation, but only with the consumption of an adequate fluid intake. High amounts of fiber, without fluids, can aggravate, rather then alleviate constipation. The way to go is to eat foods high in both soluble and insoluble fibers and drink lots of water to flush it down.

Recommendations for fiber intake

The average American's daily intake of fiber is about 5 to 14 grams per day. The current recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine are to achieve an adequate intake (AI) of fiber based on your gender and age. The AI is expected to meet or exceed the average amount needed to maintain a defined nutritional state or criterion of adequacy in essentially all members of a specific healthy population.

AI Fiber Intake for Men
Age Fiber grams/day
19 to 30 years 38 g/d
31 to 50 38 g/d
51 to 70 30 g/d
70+ 30 g/d
AI Fiber Intake for Women
Age Fiber grams/day
19 to 30 years 25 g/d
31 to 50 25 g/d
51 to 70 21 g/d
70+ 21 g/d
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/21/2013

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