Strangely, one of the reasons fiber is so important is because your body CAN’T digest it.
How does that work?
Well Soluble Fiber actually dissolves into a gel-like consistency, helping to slow down our digestion. This is a good thing because it helps us to feel full longer. Examples of foods that contain soluble fiber are blueberries, cucumbers, beans, and nuts.
Insoluble Fiber (found in dark leafy veggies, green beans, celery, and carrots) doesn’t dissolve at all – this is what helps food to move through your digestive tract more quickly for healthy removal. Many whole foods, especially fruits and veggies, naturally contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Bag up the Benefits
Based upon research and real life examples, there’s no doubting the boost effect on your health that fiber has to offer. Here are some of the potential benefits:
Prevention/Treatment of Diabetes: the recommendation for diabetics is soluble fiber intake. A study in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology found that high vegetable consumption (raw, in this case) was consistent with an 80% lower incidence of Type 2 diabetes.
Skin Health: Fiber may help to move yeast and fungus out of your body, preventing them from being excreted through you skin where they could trigger acne or rashes.
Blood Sugar Control: soluble fiber may help to slow your body’s breakdown of carbohydrates and the absorption of sugar, helping with blood sugar control.
Heart Health: An inverse association has been found between fiber intake and heart attack. According to the US National Library of Medicine, those who eat a high-fiber diet have a 40% lower risk of heart disease.
Stroke: Researchers at the American Heart Association have found that for every 7 grams more fiber you consume on a daily basis, your stroke risk is reduced by 7%.
Keeps you Regular: Yeah…you catch my drift 🙂
To have the best chance of experiencing one or more of these benefits, you should be obtaining between 30-35 grams of fiber every day.
Most people’s diets could use more fiber. If you are one of these “most people” I’m referring to, resist getting your fiber intake from whole grains. Instead, put your focus on eating more veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds. These following health whole foods contain high levels of soluble and insoluble fiber:
Vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and green beans
Root vegetables and tubers including onions and sweet potatoes
You can find these at your nearest Whole Foods store, Trader Joes, Kowalski’s, Farmer’s Markets, and most grocery stores. Try for organic if you can. Note – chia seeds will be the most selectively placed and therefore more difficult to find. They’re stealthy, I tell ya. However, I do know for a fact that Trader Joes and the Vitamin Shoppe sell them!
So just as a simple “rule” to remember is basically to get most of your fiber in the form of vegetables, not grains. Always keep that in the back of your mind!