Why Is It Essential?
Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive tract even though it’s the structural part of plant foods that our bodies can’t even absorb. However, most people fall short of the daily recommendations and miss out on important benefits.
What is It?
Fiber is a form of carbohydrate found in plant-based foods that cannot be absorbed or digested by the gut. Therefore, sometimes it’s called ‘roughage’ or ‘bulk’ and occurs naturally in a variety of plant-based foods like fruit, veggies and whole grains.
There are two main categories:
- Soluble: Soluble fiber forms a gel in the gut, and is particularly helpful for cholesterol control, alleviating diarrhea and promoting fullness. Oats, apples, pears, and sweet potatoes are good sources for daily intake.
- Insoluble: Insoluble fiber increases stool bulk and promotes regularity and satiety. Additionally, it’s found in the skins of fruit and vegetables, as well as whole grains and nuts.
How Much Do We Need?
The recommended daily intake is 25 grams for women and 35 grams for men.
Satiety and Blood Sugar Regulation
Consuming fiber-rich foods helps us stay fuller for longer, and helps avoid blood sugar peaks and valleys, which is why sometimes we feel tired and foggy.
Soluble fiber is a sponge for cholesterol, trapping it before it gets into your bloodstream.
Digestive Health, The Microbiome and Colon Cancer
- Insoluble fiber promotes laxation and can be useful for constipation
- Soluble fiber, on the other hand, is sometimes used to remedy diarrhea
- A diet that is fiber-rich has shown to protect against colon cancer
Epidemiological research has shown that consuming a diet that is rich in fiber may reduce total mortality risk. Additionally, it can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and all cancers.
Fiber and Gut Health
Prebiotics support and nourish the growth of good bacteria in the large intestine which passes through the digestive tract undigested.
Inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides (fructans/FOS) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are both sources of fiber and prebiotics.
Resistant starch is also a probiotic, fiber and type of carbohydrate. Additionally, It is found in whole grains, green bananas, potatoes, and legumes.
Fruit, veggies, nuts, whole grains and legumes.
It’s also added to some prepared foods as well.
Tips for Getting Adequate Fiber
- Make half your plate vegetables at lunch and dinner.
- Snack on fruit, raw veggies and whole-grain crackers paired with a protein like Greek yogurt, hummus or string cheese.
- Add beans to soups and salads.
- Add a few slices of avocado to sandwiches and salads.
- Swap white carbs for whole grains like brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa and whole-wheat/whole-grain bread.
Contact Family Healthcare of Fairfax for More Tips on Essential Guides to Food