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The Role of Fiber in Senior Diets

By Melissa Hill, 8:00 am on

Many people have heard that meals should include sources of fiber, but not everyone knows why fiber is so important. Dietary fiber, which is found in fruits, vegetables, and plants from the bean family is essential because it helps maintain healthy, regular functioning of the digestive system. Even though dietary fiber is not digested, eating it regularly can help with digestive problems such as constipation, irregular or hard bowel movements, and hemorrhoids.

Types of Dietary Fiber

There are two types of dietary fiber, each which help promote digestion:

  1. Soluble Fiber – Soluble dietary fiber can dissolve in water and produces a gelatinous mass that can stick to toxins, bile, and undigested clumps of debris. Soluble dietary fiber drags out unwanted and potentially harmful elements inside the digestive system, preventing impurities from lingering inside the digestive tract.
  2. Insoluble Fiber – Insoluble fiber is a spongy substance that attracts water and allows digested products to remain soft, enabling gentle passage through the bowels. Insoluble fiber helps maintain overall bowel movement regularity by reducing the risk for blockages or obstructions.

Other Benefits of Fiber

Oklahoma senior care specialists report that seniors with diets high in fiber often enjoy lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels. High cholesterol is most commonly associated with heart disease, and high blood sugar is a primary factor in diabetes. Therefore, getting enough dietary fiber is an essential step in avoiding these two common diseases.

Additionally, since fiber is associated with lowering blood sugar, it helps people feel full for a longer portion of the day. This reduces the likelihood of overeating, so diets high in fiber are also helpful for seniors who are trying to better manage their weight.

Incorporating Fiber into Daily Meals

Fiber is best added to the diet through foods as opposed to supplements. Some of the best fiber-rich foods include whole grains such as wheat bread and brown rice, dark colored vegetables like carrots, beets, and broccoli, fruits including apples, bananas, and organs, potatoes, and white beans.

If you have an aging parent or loved one and are concerned about their overall nutrition or ability to prepare healthy meals independently, it may be time to consider in-home care. Home care services from reputable agencies like Home Care Assistance of Oklahoma can ensure that your loved one is eating well-balanced meals, taking prescribed medications, and is getting daily exercise. For more information about hourly or live-in home care in Oklahoma, Edmond, and the surrounding communities, call (405) 485-4191 and request your complimentary, no-obligation consultation today.