Why is fiber important for health? Are we consuming enough fiber? Fiber is one of the forgotten essential nutrients. Today we are flooded with commercials for Fiber in a chewy, sweet, gummy or in a chocolate chip cookie labeled FIBER on the box just to be sure we are not confused!
Really? Think about it for just a minute.
That is Fiber in the world of processed fake food. Let’s get real. In this short article, I want to lay out the reasons that FIBER is your FRIEND and when you eat a diet rich in this healthy fiber you can improve the quality of your life and support vibrant health.
We all are going to get older. How well you age is completely up to you.
Why is fiber important for health?
Fiber is important for a variety of reasons. Some of them are given below:
- Blood sugar: Fiber slows down the breakdown of sugars and carbohydrates stabilizing blood sugar.
- Feel full faster: When you eat a diet rich in fiber you feel full and satisfied. You eat less, taking in fewer calories and maintain your weight and even lose weight.
- Your heart LOVES fiber: Studies show that a diet rich in fiber can reduce the risk of heart disease by 40%. In addition for every 7 grams of fiber consumed you reduce your risk of a stroke by 7%. Lucky sevens!
- Supports gut health: Fiber helps to keep your gut healthy which helps to keep your entire body healthy. Constipation which can lead to hemorrhoids, polyps, diverticulitis and other inflammatory conditions in the gut are helped with a diet rich in fiber. Your intestinal tract depends on fiber to act like a broom and sweep your gut clean.
- Your liver loves fiber too: The risk of gallstones is reduced with a high fiber diet.
How does fiber work in the body?
To understand this, we must first understand the difference between insoluble and soluble fiber.
Insoluble vs Soluble Fiber
1. Soluble fiber dissolves into a gel-like substance and slows down digestion. It also helps you eliminate cholesterol. This is the process that helps to stabilize blood sugar.
What are the best soluble fiber foods?
Foods such as cucumbers, berries, fruit, and beans have soluble fiber. Nuts are filled with more insoluble fiber except for Flaxseed. With 1.1 gms of fiber in a tablespoon, it does pay to add to salads, oatmeal, and even smoothies. Flax has so many other great properties.
2. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve and helps to form bulk in the stool to speed up the time food moves through your system for healthy elimination.
What are the best insoluble fiber foods?
Many whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables, naturally contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Good sources of fiber for better health
You are what you eat and digest and absorb. Without fiber, your overall health suffers. Now that you understand how important it is to have foods that contain fiber, let’s look at where you can find the best source. Not all fiber is created equal. The fiber in a gel, gummy cap or in a cookie or even a Bran muffin is not good fiber.
Researchers are now clear that grains are not a good source of nutrition. Studies show that parts of the grain like lectin, gliadin, and gluten are actually inflammatory and can cause damage to your gut such as leaky gut which causes gas, bloating, cramps, fatigue, skin rashes, allergies even some OCD symptoms and anxieties.
All fruits, vegetables, chia seeds, Flaxseed, and nuts are some good sources of fiber. Avoid grains and concentrate your meal in these areas for the best nutrition.
So, how much fiber per day should be consumed?
The recommended daily requirement of fiber is around 30-35 gms. The average person only takes in 10-12 gms!