A little over 150 years ago, Surgeon William Beaumont began to recognize the importance of a fiber-high diet. He states how "the prolongation of health is to constrain insufficient quantity of nutriment," about fiber and other food components. Since then, western culture has decreased their cereal and grain consumption dramatically, a key component being fiber, and increases in chronic diseases have surged.

cereal, wheat, pasture, oat, oatmeal, barley, hands, handful, handful of oats, grain, Rolled oats
Jocelyn Hsu

So what is fiber and why do we need it?

Fiber is the remnants of plant cells, polysaccharides, and lignin. It can be found most abundantly in cereals, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Research shows that diets with high amounts of fiber and low amounts of fat can lead to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and even some cancers. It is also associated with a longer-lasting feel of fullness (often described as satiety), rich in micronutrients, and lower fat content

How much do I need and where do I find it?

Research suggests that a healthy adult should consume around 28 grams of fiber daily for a 2000-caloric diet. These grams of fiber can come from many different sources but are most abundantly optimized in barley, corn, oats, wheat (whole grain), green beans, rice (cooked), and green peas are excellent sources of fiber. Find 15 foods that would increase fiber intake here!

vegetable, pepper, courgette, tomato, meat, ratatouille
Christin Urso

How can college students incorporate fiber?

All in all, college may be one of the hardest places to find fiber. In conditions full of fast food, minimal dining hall options, and on-the-go packaged ramen noodles; fresh fruit and vegetables may be hard to come by. Although understanding the precedent need for fiber in the diet, it should become crucial to aim for around 28 grams of fiber in the daily amount. Incorporating oats for breakfast once in a while, switching out whole grains instead of white grain rice and bread, and including more vegetables in one's diet can help a person achieve this goal. 

You can still eat at your favorite restaurants. Think of Chick-fil-A for example. In addition to ordering your favorite meal, add some fresh fruit on the side to get some fiber in the meal. Panda Express can replace white rice with whole rice increasing the fiber intake in that meal. There are many ways to incorporate more fiber into your favorite dishes

What's next?

Incorporating fiber has too many benefits for health not to consider. Next meal, try looking for ways to incorporate a bit more fiber.