Fibers - revealed!

April 23, 2018

Fibers - revealed!

We all know how important fibers are in our diet to protect against diseases like cancer, Type 2 diabetes and even heart disease, but the right fibers help us stay fuller longer and ward us off of cravings. So what is fiber and what are the right fibers?

According to a publication in the Harvard Nutrition Science, "Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. Though most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules, and instead it passes through the body undigested. Fiber helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check."

Fiber comes in two varieties, both beneficial to health:

  • Soluble fiber, which dissolves in water, can help lower glucose levels as well as help lower blood cholesterol. Foods with soluble fiber include oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, apples and blueberries.
  • Insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve in water, can help food move through your digestive system, promoting regularity and helping prevent constipation. Foods with insoluble fibers include wheat, whole wheat bread, whole grain couscous, brown rice, legumes, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.

The best sources of fiber are whole grain foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts.

Some tips for increasing fiber intake:

  • Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices.
  • Replace white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products.
  • For breakfast, choose cereals that have a whole grain as their first ingredient.
  • Snack on raw vegetables instead of chips, crackers, or chocolate bars.
  • Substitute beans or legumes for meat. Try soups, casseroles, and chili recipes. Good for your heart and good for your body.

The average American consumes 15 grams/day, compared to the recommended 25 or 38 grams/day for women and men, respectively.

 





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