Fiber is something that is usually overlooked in our diets, but is very important for our health. Looks like the average American only consumes around 5-14 grams of fiber a day, while the recommended daily intake should be at least 25 grams and up to 38 grams depending on age and gender. What’s the big deal about fiber? Let’s take a look.
Fiber has been known to help with the movement of food in our intestines and bowel movements. Seems like those who consume more fiber also have fewer diseases. Such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, intestinal problems, and blood clots. The problem with lower fiber intake started when a new method of milling was found in the 1890s, which removed fiber from whole grain flour to produce what we know as white flour.
There are 2 types of fiber, soluble and insoluble.
Soluble dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance. Sources of soluble fiber are oats, legumes (beans, peas, and soybeans), apples, bananas, berries, barely, some vegetables, and psylluim.
Insoluble increases the movement of material through your digestive tract and increases your stool bulk. Sources of insoluble fiber are whole wheat foods, bran, nuts, seeds, and the skin of some fruits and vegetables.
What fiber does in our body is amazing. When it absorbs water it expands and creates a gel like substance that moves slower than anything else. Helping to create less cravings for food, thus helping us control our food intake. It also helps lower our blood sugar and insulin, as well as reducing the absorption of cholesterol.
How can you get more fiber in your diet? Start with whole grain products like bread and pasta. Start eating more fruits, especially those with the skin still on. Vegetables are also another way, such as beans and the green leafy produce. Nuts and seeds are great sources as well.
Stay away from anything that is refined, these contain little to no nutrients. It can also spike your insulin level, causing that “crash” you feel after eating a lot of refined carbs.
Try to consume around 3 to 4 grams per snack or meal, this way you will consume a continuous supply. And remember to eat 5 to 6 times a day. You’ll notice a difference in your bowel movements, where they will be bulkier and softer. You may even start having more occurring bowel movements.
I’ve always thought of fiber as a natural body cleanser, it helps rid your body of a lot of unwanted things. If you’re not getting your recommended intake, I’d highly suggest you start.