Fiber, The Underappreciated Superfood
Fiber is an underappreciated super food. Not only does fiber aid in digestion and gastrointestinal health, it is also linked with reducing the risk of developing chronic disease, assist in weight loss, and help lower blood sugar.
Fiber is the non-digestible portion of plant foods that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which helps with digestion, prevention of intestinal malabsorption, and may play a role in improving mood and mental health.
There are two main types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber slows down digestion, helping you to feel satisfied longer after eating and can easily be dissolved in water. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water and adds bulk to your stool. This type of fiber can help speed up digestion and prevent constipation. In addition, there are fermentable fibers that can be soluble or insoluble. Fermentable fiber promotes the growth of good bacteria in your gut.
Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, most plant foods, and fiber supplements. It is important to eat fiber from a variety of food sources and it is recommended to consume 14 to 31 grams of fiber a day, depending on your age and gender.
When increasing your fiber intake, start slow! Think of fiber as strength training for your stomach. It is best to start with a small amount and slowly increase. Make sure to drink plenty of liquids when increasing fiber intake, water is always a good choice.
Here are five tips for increasing fiber intake:
- Have whole fruit instead of juice at breakfast
- Make sure to have vegetables with dinner
- Snack on nuts and seeds
- Choose whole grains options like whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa
- Add chia or flax seeds to smoothies and yogurt
Try this easy chia seed jam to add a boost of fiber to your diet. It is great on toast, added to oatmeal, or sprinkled on top of yogurt.