Dietary fiber is a plant-based nutrient.. It is a type of carbohydrate but, unlike other carbs, it cannot be broken down into digestible sugar molecules. While fiber won’t be broken down into actual nutrients that the body uses as fuel, it does provide a lot of health benefits as it makes it journey through your body. Many people don’t get enough fiber in their diet. It is recommended that men should eat between 30g – 40g of fiber a day and females should consume around 25g of fiber daily. Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of a high fiber diet.
Two Main Categories Of Fiber
There are two main categories of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber, such as pectin, gum and mucilage, dissolves in water; insoluble fiber, such as hemicellulose, cellulose and lignin, does not. In the body, soluble fiber dissolves and becomes a gel-like substance. Insoluble fiber mostly retains its shape while in the body.
Both soluble and insoluble fibers have important benefits.. Soluble fiber is known to help decrease blood glucose levels. It also helps lower blood cholesterol.
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, speeds up the passage of food through the digestive system. This helps maintain regularity and prevent constipation.
Fiber is probably best known for its ability to aid in digestion. Because fiber is not easily broken down in the body it increases stool bulk and regularity. This will help prevent you from getting constipated and it also helps you to maintain good colon health. This is especially important for people who are into fitness and bodybuilding because we tend to eat more food food than the average person. Much more. So keeping things moving is a must.
Improves Heart Health
Eating a high fiber diet has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. The digestive process requires bile acids, which are made partly with cholesterol. As your digestion improves, the liver pulls cholesterol from the blood to create more bile acid, thereby reducing the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol. So if you’re cholesterol levels are a little high eating more fiber can help lower it back down.
Regulates Blood Glucose Sugar
When you eat fiber it helps to slow down the digestion process of other foods. The faster food is broken down, the more your blood sugar levels are likely to spike. Since fiber helps to slow this process down, it can help to reduce the amount that your blood sugar levels spike.
This is especially important for people looking to lose weight. When your blood sugar levels spike, your body goes from fat burning mode to fat storing mode. The reason for this is because when your blood sugar levels rise your body releases insulin to bring it back down. While insulin remains in your bloodstream, your body will be using the nutrients in your blood as fuel and not your stored fat.
Regulating blood sugar levels also helps to curb hunger cravings. If your blood sugar levels remain stable you are less likely to become “hangry.” This is important for people looking to lose weight because a lot of people eat more when they feel this way. Just by adding more fiber to your diet can help combat this.
Helps You Lose Weight
Eating a high fiber diet can help you lose weight in a couple of ways. For starters fiber is filling. The more fiber you eat, the less hungry you will be. Fiber also helps to regulate your blood sugar levels which we touched on in the previous section. Regulating your blood sugar levels is a very important factor when it comes to losing weight. So by eating more fiber, you’re setting yourself up for long term success.
Foods That Are High In Fiber
- Lentils, which have 16 grams of fiber per cup, cooked
- Split peas are full of fiber with 16.3 g per cup, cooked
- Black beans, which have 15 g per cup, cooked
- Lima beans bring in 13.2 g per cup, cooked
- Artichokes: a medium one has more than 10 g of fiber
- Green peas have almost 9 g per cup, cooked
- Bran flakes, which have 7 g of fiber per cup. Bran muffins are also a good choice
- Berries like raspberries and blackberries, with around 7 g per cup
- Apples with the skin on (4.4 g)
- Pears with the skin on (5.5 g)
- Pearled barley, with 6 g per cup, cooked
- Popcorn’s 3.5 g per 3 cups make it a fiber-full snack
- Broccoli has 5 g of fiber when boiled
- Turnip greens have 5 g of fiber when boiled
It’s very hard to get the daily recommended amount of fiber from food alone. This is where fiber supplements can come into play. You can find them in many forms including powders, softgels, wafers, and even gummies. They are all equally good in their own right but I find the powder to work the best for me. You can just mix it in water or juice and you’re good to go. Do this a couple of times a day and you’re guaranteed to hit your daily recommended fiber intake.
Eating a diet high in fiber is a great way to help achieve health and longevity. Fiber has been proven to help aid digestion, lower cholesterol, regulate blood glucose, and even help you to lose weight. Try to eat foods that are rich in fiber first and then if that’s still not enough, you can make up the difference with a fiber supplement of your choice. If you’re struggling to lose weight you might be surprised at how a little fiber can go a long way in helping you reach your goals. I hope you found this to be helpful and as always stay swell and swole my friends!