Why You Should Care About the Fiber in Your Food
We hear it all the time… eat more fiber to be healthier! But what does that even mean? Why is eating high fiber foods good for you? Is it even all that important to eat high fiber foods? Firstly, yes, it is very important to eat plenty of high fiber foods as part of a healthy diet. The sad fact is that most people following the typical American diet don’t get nearly enough fiber. While it is recommended that people consume about 50 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories, most Americans fall woefully short. Still, that doesn’t answer the question, “What are the benefits of eating high fiber foods?” and the natural follow up question, “What are the best sources of fiber?” Lucky for you, we have the answers.
What is Dietary Fiber?
Before we discuss what fiber can do for the body, it’s important to understand what it is. Dietary fiber is essentially the parts of the food that your body doesn’t absorb after the digestion process. Dietary fiber can be classified into two forms: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water into a gel-like substance to help slow down food as it passes through the digestive system. By feeding the “good” gut bacteria, soluble fiber may help lower cholesterol and glucose levels.
Insoluble fiber is the type of fiber that increases bulk and helps things run smoothly in the digestive system. This is the type of fiber people are referring to when they think of using fiber for constipation.
To get the most benefits from fiber, it’s critical to incorporate a wide variety of high-fiber foods into your diet. Some of the best sources of fiber include beans, whole grains, cruciferous veggies like brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, nuts, and seeds.
What are the Benefits of High Fiber Foods?
From bowel and digestive health, to blood sugar levels, to weight management, the benefits of eating high fiber foods are plentiful.
FIBER MAY HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT AND MAINTAIN WEIGHT
Even if you do nothing else in terms of changing your diet, just upping your intake of high fiber foods could help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Fiber rich foods are designed to help you feel satisfied and full faster and for longer, which could help you consume fewer calories overall. Plus, high fiber foods may give you the energy you need to stay active and healthy on the go.
Additionally, when your fiber intake is high, your body absorbs fewer calories, which in time can lead to an overall caloric deficit.
SOLUBLE FIBER MAY IMPROVE YOUR GUT FLORA
Your gut houses a variety of “good” bacteria to help your body perform all of its necessary functions. Much of this gut bacteria thrives off soluble fiber, the reactions of which include lowered systemic inflammation. Given that inflammation is a contributor to many chronic health issues, finding a sustainable way to alleviate that, such as eating foods high in fiber could be major.
A HIGH FIBER DIET COULD HELP CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
Fiber, mainly soluble fiber, and the gel-like substances it produces can positively impact blood sugar levels and blood glucose levels by keeping them steady and preventing spikes. This is especially important for those with Type 2 Diabetes and those at risk for developing it. Similarly, eating a diet rich in high-fiber foods could also help lower cholesterol levels, especially when derived from sources like oats and flaxseed.
FIBER MAY INCREASE BOWEL REGULARITY AND NATURALLY DETOXIFY YOUR BODY
A lot of people use fiber to relieve constipation, and for good reason. High-fiber foods increase bulk in the stools and promote movement. This may help relieve constipation and naturally detoxify your body to prevent the buildup of harmful compounds. In the same vein, foods with fiber could also help reduce the risk of kidney stones, gallstones, acne and a variety of other health concerns by moving yeast and fungus through the body quickly so it doesn’t linger.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SOURCES OF FIBER?
Eating a diet rich in high-fiber foods is the best way to reap the maximum amount of benefits.
FIBER FROM NUTS & SEEDS
Eating nuts and seeds is a fantastic way to get in dietary fiber and stay full and satisfied at the same time. The best fiber-rich nuts are almonds, pine nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts. The best sources of fiber from seeds include chia seeds, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds. The great thing about these foods is that they also deliver a healthy source of plant-based protein, so you’ll have plenty of energy to stay active wherever life takes you.
FIBER FROM WHOLE GRAINS
Whole grain products and whole grains on their own can provide you with a good source of fiber. Brown rice, bran, bulgur, whole rye, hulled barley, and millet are all great options. Just be careful not to fall into the “anything whole grain is healthy” trap, as a lot of products that tout their whole-grain goodness tend to be overly processed, which could counteract the benefits of fiber.
FIBER FROM LEGUMES
Legumes like beans, peas, and lentils contain soluble fiber, making them perfect sources of high-fiber foods. Navy beans, white beans, adzuki beans, split peas, lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans rank among the highest in high-fiber legumes.
FIBER FROM FRUITS & VEGETABLES
Last but certainly not least are high fiber fruits and vegetables. Fruits high in fiber include raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, apples & pears (with the peel!), and avocado. You should also explore high-fiber vegetables like carrots, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, artichoke, and kale. Add these to your high-fiber grocery list the next time you go shopping.
Fiber can do more than just help you go… it also helps keep you full while you’re on the go! For the best high fiber snacks, turn to Munk Pack! We empower people to lead active, healthy lifestyles on the go. Our better-for-you snack bars and protein cookies are all made with plant-based protein and plenty of fiber. They’re portable, nutritious, and delicious to keep you satisfied and energized wherever life takes you.
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