My handy dandy protein post (see that post here – click me) was well received so I decided to do a similar post except this time on fiber. I took the liberty of putting together another little reference guide above.Shockingly, research has shown that only 5% of the population is meeting their fiber needs. 5%!!! On average, people only consume 15g of fiber a day.
So what is fiber and why is it so important? Fiber, simply put, is a carbohydrate. It can
– reduce risk of diabetes (type 2)
– lower your risk of heart disease
– help with weight loss
– lower cholesterol levels
– help limit fat intake
Types of fiber
It is important to note that there are two types of fiber. Soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
– Soluble fiber dissolves in water and is found in oat bran, legumes, Psyllium, nuts, beans, pectins, and various fruits and vegetables. It forms a bulky gel in the intestine that regulates the flow of waste materials through the digestive tract. It also lowers cholesterol by preventing the reabsorption of bile acids. Bile acids are made from cholesterol, and after they aid fat digestion, fiber binds with them and escorts them out of the body. The liver then has to pull more cholesterol from the blood.
– Insoluble fiber cannot be dissolved in water, meaning that our bodies cannot digest it. This type of fiber includes the undissolvable parts of plant walls and is found in greatest amounts in cereals, brans, and vegetables. The primary function of insoluble fiber is to collect water that increases stool bulk in the large intestine. This promotes bowel movement, and as the bulk works through the intestine, it scours the intestinal walls of waste matter, reducing the risk of colon-related problems.
How much fiber should I eat?
Women need about ~25 grams of fiber a day and men need ~38 grams a day.
What types of foods contain fiber?
Vegetables, legumes and nuts, fruits, and whole grains all contain good amounts of fiber. Examples of each include:
- Vegetables: potato with the skin, acorn squash, mixed vegetables, carrots, broccoli, corn kernels, spinach, sweet potato with skin
- Legumes and nuts: lentils, split peas, kidney beans, black beans, hummus, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds
- Fruits: apple with skin, blueberries, apricots, banana, orange, strawberries, grapefruit, pear with skin
- Grains: whole wheat spaghetti, corn tortillas, whole wheat pita, brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole grain granola bars, popcorn, oatmeal
Be sure to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains to ensure you are getting enough of both types of fiber in your diet.
Question of the day:
What is your favorite fiber-rich food?
As of late my favorite has been raspberries 🙂