Fiber is hugely important for good health. It’s even the focus of two FDA-approved health claims appearing on foods labels. Here are six things you need to know now.
Fiber is hugely important for good health. It’s even the focus of two FDA-approved health claims appearing on foods labels: for the prevention of heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Fiber is packed with a variety of health benefits; yet most Americans only consume about 10-15 grams per day. That’s half of what experts recommend.
Here are six things you need to know:
A diet rich in fiber helps keep you regular, may lower your risk of colon and rectal cancer, and if you are watching your weight, can make you feel full longer, so you’ll eat less. In addition, certain types of fiber help lower blood cholesterol levels, and can even help to control the rise of blood sugar levels after a meal.
Fiber is found in plants and although often a component of healthy foods, fiber is not actually considered a nutrient; because it alone does not contribute any calories, since it cannot actually be digested.
There are two forms of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and comes mostly from oats, legumes and some fruits (berries have the most) and vegetables. These fibers are frequently used in low fat and nonfat foods to add texture. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and is found in wheat bran, vegetables and whole grains. Insoluble fiber helps prevent constipation, adding bulk, and acts as a broom through your intestines.
Fiber helps curb hunger, by turning down hunger hormones and cutting cravings. What foods are best? Raspberries standout among all hunger stoppers. Why? A one-cup serving of frozen red raspberries has only 80 calories and a whopping 9 grams of fiber. Seaweed is also a great fiber rich hunger stopper, and is more than just a garnish, slowing digestion and helping with blood sugar control. Add seaweed to soup, stews and stir-fry recipes. You can also try some seaweed snacks already packed in the supermarket.
How much should you consume daily? It’s recommended to consume between 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily, but in order to avoid uneasiness in the digestive tract, be sure to increase fiber intake gradually, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Shop smart for fiber rich foods! Choose avocados, nuts, oranges, coconut, apples, blackberries, raspberries, pear, sweet potato, squash, broccoli, beets, greens, beans (all beans are high fiber including - red beans, adzuki beans, lentils, mung, split peas, etc.), amaranth, barley, oats, wheat bran, quinoa and flax seeds for fiber and variety! When choosing packaged items, look for ingredients such as bran, whole ground cornmeal, cracked wheat, and oatmeal.