Fiber – it is such an important part of a healthy diet and for some reason, I find that people feel uncomfortable talking about it. Why? Because it has to do with our ability to poop. *GASP* Yes, I said it. We all do it anyway, so why be embarrassed to talk about it?!
Dietary fiber helps our bodies by preventing or relieving constipation, “maintain[ing] a healthy weight, and lowering [our] risk of diabetes and heart disease.” Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, most people do not take in enough fiber and this can pose a problem with their health. So, what is dietary fiber? According to Mayo Clinic:
Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes the parts of plant foods your body can’t digest or absorb. Unlike other food components, such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fiber isn’t digested by your body. Instead, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine and colon and out of your body.
There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps lower blood cholesterol levels as well as glucose levels. This type of fiber is typically found in beans, oatmeal, apples, barley, citrus fruits. Insoluble fiber helps “material” move through your digestive system while “increasing stool bulk” and softening it – preventing constipation and irregularity. This type of fiber is typically found in beans, oatmeal, nuts, vegetables, and wheat.
Eating a high-fiber diet helps with slowing down the rate in which “sugar is absorbed into the blood stream,” normalizing bowel movements, lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, reducing the risk of colon cancer, feeling fuller, and maintaining a healthy weight.
The great news is that adding fiber into your diet is incredibly easy and you’ll find that it’ll help you eat more healthy food. Add in some whole-grain products, high-fiber cereals, brown rice, beans, oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, flaxseed, nuts, seeds. Please leave a comment below on your favorite ways to add fiber into your diet! If you have any recipes for high-fiber food, please share!
Main Photo: EcoWatch
High Fiber Foods Photo: Tumblr
Fiber Infographic: Grain Foods Foundation