You have been told for years now to eat more fiber and how great it is for you, but do you really know WHY and what types you get the most benefit from?
What is dietary fiber?
Fiber is commonly classified as soluble, which dissolves in water, or insoluble, which doesn't dissolve.
· Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.
· Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes, are good sources of insoluble fiber.
Most plant-based foods, such as oatmeal and beans, contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. However, the amount of each type varies in different plant foods. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods. Contrary to what people believe fiber DOES contain a caloric value. Check out our article on NET CARBS to learn more on that.
Why eat fiber?
· Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool.
· Lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or "bad," cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that high-fiber foods may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
· Helps control blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, fiber — particularly soluble fiber — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
· Aids in achieving healthy weight. High-fiber foods tend to be more filling than low-fiber foods, so you're likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer. And high-fiber foods tend to take longer to eat and to be less "energy dense," which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
· One of the largest indirect benefits of eating fiber rich foods is the general high amount of micronutrients that they contain. This helps a lot in skin complexion, energy production, fighting off illness, and fighting the cellular war on oxidative stress and inflammation.
How much do I need?
We suggest that at least 20 g of NATURAL dietary fiber is consumed per day. When we say natural we mean from fruits, vegetables, and non supplemental sources such as Metamucil, Citrucel and FiberCon. This will also accomplish the task of getting your body it vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes that it needs.
Some of our clients love to start their day off with a SUPERSHAKE. This shake contains several highly micronutrient dense, high fiber foods, has a fruit base and tastes great! Ask us to for a video on how to start your day off with one. Fruits that contain the highest amount of fiber that we love are:
· Blackberry’s & Kiwi
· Raspberry’s & Strawberry’s
· Apricots & pineapple
· Kale & spinach
· Broccoli & asparagus
· Collard Greens (Brussel sprouts)
· Legumes (chick peas, lima beans)
· Bok choy, beets, carrots, & yams
Here is an AMAZING parfait that is great for fighting off night time hunger and its PACKED with a whopping of 11 g of fiber!
· 15 g Fiber One Twigs
· 75 g Blackberry’s
· 4 TBS Cool Whip Free
Always make sure to drink plenty of water along with your fiber foods as fiber has the best benefits when combined with water! For more information on nutrition or to get your questions answered shoot us a message, we are glad to help 😊