By April Irvine
Eating enough fiber is important to prevent certain diseases, cancer, and aids in weight management. Fiber is a complex carbohydrate, a large molecule that takes longer for the body to breakdown to use as energy. There are two types of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber attracts water to form a gel which slows down digestion. This is why fiber has a lasting effect of fullness because it delays the emptying of our stomach. Because you feel fuller longer, you will eat less. The slow breakdown of fiber also slows the release of sugars into your blood. This is especially beneficial for preventing diabetes and for those who are diabetic. Also, the gel like substance of soluble fiber binds with LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol in our gastrointestinal tract to be excreted.
Insoluble fibers are healthy for your gut or digestive system because it helps ‘bulk’ your stools and can help treat constipation. Because it does not combine with water, it passes through your digestive track quickly- keeping you regular in the bathroom.
US Department of Agriculture recommends 25 to 38 grams per day. Follow these easy tips to get more fiber in your day
- Eat fruits – eat rather than drink your fruits. Dried fruits such as dried figs are high in fiber.
- Eat vegetables – try to include in most meals and snacks.
- Read the Nutrition Label – choose foods with the highest dietary fiber per serving. Oatmeal is a good source of fiber.
- Don’t peel edible skins from fruits or vegetables – there is fiber in the skin. Instead wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
- Eat beans, lentils, and split peas – these foods are fiber filling and inexpensive. When buying the canned forms, don’t forget to rinse them in a colander before using, to remove excess sodium.
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