I know I should be eating more fiber…but it gives me gas. Any advice?
You’re right that fiber is extremely important—and not only for your gastrointestinal system. It can help with cholesterol and weight management, too.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who ate the most fiber (around 25 grams a day) were 22 percent less likely to die from any cause, compared with women who ate just 10 grams.
But some people do develop gas and bloating when they up their fiber intake. One trick is to start slowly: Let your body get used to increased fiber in small amounts, rather than loading up on the stuff all at once.
As your digestive system adjusts, it may be helpful to keep in mind that foods with soluble fiber (such as fruit, oats, beans and peas, and nuts and seeds) tend to produce more gas than foods with insoluble fiber (a.k.a. roughage, including whole grains and veggies).
But don’t give up on fiber! Your body needs both types. With time and experimentation, you will find high-fiber foods that agree with you.
Until you hit your fiber mark (the daily value is 25 grams), taking a probiotic may help with regularity. Sticking to an exercise routine and drinking more water should make a difference too.
Health’s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is an associate professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine and a cofounder of TULA Skincare.
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