Should we be eating more fiber?
- Fiber is actually a substance that our body does not digest
- Fiber is rich in many whole foods, so getting enough in your day is not too difficult
- Whole grains are fiber-rich as well
In a world that is constantly focusing on what you can NOT eat as part of a healthy lifestyle, it is refreshing to see research focusing on what we can eat MORE of, to not only improve our health, but decrease our chances of developing diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and even cognitive decline.
There are new studies coming out recently about the benefits of fiber. For the past five years or so, fiber has been praised by many health professionals for its digestive health benefits. But recently, we have seen that fiber is not only a tool to improve digestion, but also benefits our overall health as well.
Fiber found in grains, breads, vegetables, and fruit was seen to improve outcomes for conditions such as high blood pressure, cognitive problems, diabetes, and depression. When compared with the impact of sugar, overall carbohydrate intake, glycemic load, fiber came out on top as having the biggest impact on your overall health.
But, what is fiber? Fiber is actually a substance that our body does not digest. There are two forms: soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber can dissolve in water and has been seen to help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, and helps maintain regular bowel movements and digestive health. Both types of fiber are crucial if you want to improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Adding fiber to your daily routine is important so you can achieve not only better digestive health, but overall protection against the chronic illnesses listed above.
Fiber is rich in many whole foods, so getting enough in your day is not too difficult. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, carrots, apples, and citrus fruit. Insoluble fiber is found in foods such as bran, brown rice, and almonds.
It is important to note that, while fiber-rich foods are very important to our overall health and wellbeing, it is better to attain them from fruit and vegetable sources, such as apples, plums, peaches, carrots, cabbage, kale, and other whole food sources.
Whole grains are fiber-rich as well, just be sure you are choosing minimally processed whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats. The more processing a grain goes through, the more fiber is stripped and the less nutrition it contains. Some great sources to start out with include:
Apples and peanut butter
Whole grain bread with avocado
Carrots and other chopped up vegetables
Hummus as a dip
Beans and brown rice
Oatmeal for breakfast topped with berries
Those are just some easy and simple ways to incorporate more fiber in your diet! When you do, you will not only feel better, but you will be contributing to your overall health and playing a proactive role in preventing chronic diseases that are running rampant in today’s society.