We see and hear about fiber all the time but what is it? What does it do to help us? Where do we get it? How much do we need daily?
Fiber is very important to maintain a healthy life, it helps digestion, and aids in the prevention of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, constipation, diverticulitis and stomach problems.
There are two different types of fibers, one is soluble and the other is insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and insoluble fiber does not, both fiber types are beneficial.
Soluble fiber slows digestion making us feel full and may also affect blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber has also been shown to lower LDL which is the bad cholesterol.
Insoluble fiber aids in stomach health and may prevent constipation. These fibers speed the passage of food and waste through the body and may aid in colon health.
We can get soluble fiber from these foods, beans, oats, flaxseeds, oatmeal, carrots, celery, nuts, bran, cucumbers and many fruits.
Insoluble fiber is obtained through these foods, dark leafy vegetables, grapes, raisins, tomatoes, carrots, root vegetables, whole grains, whole wheat, bran, broccoli, celery, onions, cabbage, brown rice, nuts and barley to name a few.
Dietary guidelines advise about 30 grams of fiber daily, a combination of soluble and insoluble is recommended. Most of us only ingest about half that amount daily.
Fiber supplements may be used as a substitute but we highly advise whole healthy foods over substitutes.