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This is a guest blog post from celebrity fitness trainer (and founder of Sunday Setup™) Kathy Kaehler

There are so many numbers to know when it comes to our health.

  • Blood pressure,
  • Cholesterol
  • Waist size
  • Blood sugar
  • Body weight

Each is a critical number to know and understand. Additionally, there are numbers that we look for in the things that we eat.  Calories, fat grams, carbs, protein and one that is often overlooked, the fiber content.

We all know (or should by now) that fiber is important to good health, but how do you know if you are getting enough and getting enough on a regular basis? Most of us don’t.

Did you know that the average adult, including both men and women, only gets about 15 grams of dietary fiber per day from the food they choose to eat? That may seem like a lot but we actually need twice that amount. Women need 25 grams per day and men should get 38 grams per day, according to an Institute of Medicine, a formula based on getting 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed.

When you hear people talking about fiber, one typically thinks about old people or people with incontinence. However, it is time to add this important number to your food radar. Fiber is associated with lowering risks of certain cancers such as colorectal cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers. If you can reduce your risks of those disease then why wouldn’t you?

Fiber also works in tandem with other important nutrients when eating a healthy diet, which helps build up your protection against other types of cancers. Another cool thing about fiber is that it makes you feel full longer and keeps you from having those out of control food cravings. The reason: fiber loaded foods require more chewing and food stays longer in your belly, absorbing water and helping you feel full. That is fantastic for those of us watching our weight. Helloooo that is most of us!

So, here is how you can add this type of roughage to your meal plan. There are two types of fiber: insoluble fiber and soluble fiber. You need both and here’s the difference between the two. Insoluble won’t dissolve in water and it’s job is to keep your pipes clean and it sucks up liquid so it will expand in your gut making you feel full as food moves through your body. Soluble does dissolve in liquid however, it turns itself into a gooey gel like substance that keeps things moving but not so fast. This way, your body has a chance to pull the nutrition out of what you are eating and deliver those vitamins and nutrients before the food you ate exits your body. You can see where I am going here.

Have you ever eaten fast food that is really fattening, loaded with grease and within minutes you are looking for a porta potty? That’s right, there’s no fiber in those types of meals. Now do you see why it is so important to add this to your meal plan.

“How can I get some of this,” you may ask. It’s easy. Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains, nuts and seeds, and vegetables such as zucchini, cucumbers and carrots. Soluble fiber can be found in oats, lentils and in lots of fruits like apples, pears, strawberries, peaches and citrus fruits. If you add these foods into your meals on a regular basis you will see and feel the difference. You can also make your snacks count as a fiber occasion. Snack on raw vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli or carrots dipped in hummus.

If you are on the go, grab a cold Sneaky Pete’s “Oatstanding” Beverage. This is an easy way to quench your thirst and increase your daily fiber total with 5 grams, no grainy grit, just delish fiber.