Fiber is the master regulator that keeps things moving! Without it we can experience constipation, not to mention a lack of many essential nutrients, as it is contained in a vast majority of whole foods. Fiber helps protect against heart disease, kidney stones, and gut issues such as diverticulitis.
Dietary fiber is the edible portion of plant cell walls that are resistant to human digestion. It takes longer for your system to process fiber, so a result, you’ll have an increased feeling of fullness and satiety. This is a huge boon for weight loss, as it naturally reduces food intake at meals. In addition, because the foods that contain fiber are more gradually absorbed, it slows down the entrance of sugar into the blood stream. This prevents large spikes in blood glucose and insulin.
Now some of you may reach for a high fiber supplement like psyllium husk if you healthcare practitioner tells you to increase your fiber intake. While it can definitely be very beneficial for some, fresh fruits and veggies are just as good, if not better! Plus, be warned that fiber creates bulk once it is in the digestive system, so be sure that you are drinking a good deal of water, especially with something like psyllium husk. Fiber is wonderful for getting the bowels to move, but without enough water it can actually have the opposite effect.
Recommended Fiber Intake
The recommended fiber intake is 38 grams per day for men 19 and older, and 25 grams per day for women 19 and older. The best food sources of fiber are vegetables, peas, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, and fruits.
Green plants are particularly wonderful source of cellulose fiber. Kale, spinach, collard greens, beet greens, and lettuce are All-Star fiber foods that also contain an abundance of other nutrients.
100 grams of sunflower seeds will give you 10.6 grams of fiber.
100 grams of beans will give you roughly 10.5 grams of fiber.
1 cup of acorn squash will give you 9 grams of fiber.
When you eat a healthy diet, it isn’t as difficult as you might think to incorporate fiber! Remember that this makes for a very happy digestive tract and helps with weight management. Incorporating fiber rich foods can eliminate many cases of constipation or diarrhea.
You might have seen fiber on a food label listed as soluble or insoluble. What is the difference? While the body absorbs neither soluble nor insoluble fiber, and they are equally beneficial, they have different properties when mixed with water. Click on each page above to learn more!