Most of us probably heard that we need to eat more fiber. Whether it’s from your doctor or your parents, well, they are probably right. However, according to studies, an average person isn’t getting enough fiber. Even if fiber is typically found in whole foods such as whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, legumes, and nuts, you cannot find fiber in pre-packaged foods or fast foods menus. That is why if you want to improve your health and your diet, you must know how fiber works, the benefits it does to your body, how you can incorporate it into your daily meals and snacks.
What is Fiber?
Fiber is commonly found in plant foods. Some plants contain parts that our body cannot absorb or digest, called dietary fiber. When our body does not digest this type of fiber, it just passes through our digestive system and goes right out of our body comparatively “whole.” Almost all plant foods have both insoluble and soluble fiber. Soluble fiber liquifies in water, but it builds a gel-like substance. This type of fiber is effective in lowering your glucose and cholesterol levels.
On the other hand, insoluble fiber, as its name implies, does not dissolve in water. When it enters your gut, insoluble fiber can be bulky; that is why it effectively helps move food through our digestive tract. This allows people with irregular stools and constipation. However, you do not need to choose which type of fiber you need to consume because you should consume a variety of high-fiber foods with insoluble and soluble fiber.
Benefits of Consuming Fiber
Now that you know what fiber is and how it works, it’s now time to understand the benefits of consuming fiber daily.
- Fiber helps keep your bowels regular – If you have problems with constipation or experiencing irregular and watery stools, you can add more fiber to your diet because it can help bulk up your stool. Whether you’re constipated or experiencing diarrhea and your stool are coming out too quickly, fiber can help.
- Fiber also helps keep your bowels healthy – Aside from helping you regulate your bowels, fiber can also help prevent colorectal cancer and reduce your risk of developing hemorrhoids.
- Fiber can help lower your bad cholesterol – Consuming soluble fiber can lower your harmful cholesterol levels. Aside from that, fiber can improve your heart health and blood pressure.
- Fiber can help you feel full longer. When you consume whole foods that are rich in fiber, you would feel satisfied for longer. This means it will make you eat less and make you feel full longer.
- Fiber can help maintain your sugar level -Which is a great advantage, especially if you have diabetes. Soluble fiber helps slow down the absorption of sugar, and this means that consuming the right amounts of fiber every day can help you maintain your blood sugar level and reduce your risk of having type 2 diabetes.
How to Consume More Fiber
If you think eating more fiber has to be difficult, then think again. Here are some tips that you can follow in order to increase your daily fiber intake:
- Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Always go for whole-grain foods whenever possible. We suggest that you switch your white bread for whole-grain bread, white flours to whole-grain flours, and white rice for brown rice.
- Consume more legumes and add lentils, peas, or beans to your favorite meals. This will not just add a lot of fiber to your food, and it will also add a little extra flavor to it.
- Because breakfast is one of the easy ways to add more fiber to your day, that is why instead of eating a white bagel or sugary cereals, go for high-fiber breakfast items such as oatmeal, cereals, or whole-grain toast.