Fiber, Your Best Friend
What is Fiber?
Fiber is a carbohydrate, but unlike other carbohydrates, it is not digestible. It passes intact through your stomach and out of your body. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. It is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.
Why is Fiber Good for You?
It normalizes bowel movements by increasing the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation.
It helps maintain bowel health. The scrub-brush effect of fiber helps clean out bacteria and other buildups in your intestines and reduces your colon cancer risk.
Lowers cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol levels.
It helps control blood sugar by slowing the rate that sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. Which also helps to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
Aids in achieving a healthy weight. High-fiber foods are usually more filling, tend to take longer to eat, and have fewer calories for the same food volume than low-fiber foods.
Different Types of Fiber
Soluble Fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It helps lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. It is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley, psyllium, and chia seeds.
Insoluble Fiber adds bulk to stool and helps material pass easily through your digestive system. Good insoluble fiber sources are whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans, cauliflower, and potatoes.
How Much Fiber do I Need?
The recommended fiber intake is 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories in your diet. Adults should consume 30 grams of fiber a day. A good source of food has four or more grams of fiber per serving and both forms.
How Much Fiber is in my Food?
Use the nutrition facts label to find the amount of fiber in a serving of food. Look first at the serving size to tell you how much of the item you would eat to intake the correct amount of fiber.
In the label above, the serving size is 1 cup or 55 grams of the food. Each serving contains 10 grams of Fiber, 1 gram of Soluble Fiber, and 9 grams of Insoluble Fiber. If you eat two servings, you would get 20 grams of total fiber. Two grams of Soluble fiber and 18 grams would be Insoluble fiber. The more servings you eat, the higher your Fiber intake would be.
When increasing fiber to your diet, always make sure to drink plenty of water to help the fiber pass a little more quickly through your system.
Enjoy your fiber!