Health and Weight Benefits of Fabulous Fiber
The easiest healthy eating habits to follow are those where you focus on adding foods instead of eliminating them.
For instance, we can improve our health and help control our weight by adding fiber-rich foods to our diet. While fiber is not terribly exciting, it thankfully comes packed in some delicious foods.
Recent research indicates getting at least 30 grams of fiber in our daily diet by consuming whole grains, fruits and vegetables. This promotes weight loss, improves cholesterol, blood pressure and reduces inflammation.
Unfortunately, most of us are getting only about half of the fiber we need each day, especially if we eat a lot of processed foods.
There are two kinds of fiber.
- Soluble fiber dissolves into a gel-like substance, slowing our digestion. It helps with weight control by making us feel full longer. We get soluble fiber from foods such as beans, blueberries, nuts and cucumbers.
- Insoluble fiber does not dissolve so it helps move food through our intestines and it adds bulk to our stool for easy elimination. Foods such as green beans, carrots, celery, and dark green leafy vegetables give us insoluble fiber.
Many whole foods, veggies and fruits especially, contain both types of fiber and this is ideal. Whole grains are also a good fiber source, but people with blood sugar and insulin problems are often advised to limit their grain (carbohydrate) intake.
Upping Our Fiber
Processed grains and processed food products, even those boasting of added fiber, are generally worthless for providing fiber benefit. To get a minimum of 30 fiber grams daily, focus on eating:
- Whole, fresh vegetables including cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
- Nuts and seeds for fiber, nutrients, and healthy fats; they are easy to add to soups, salads, and casseroles.
- Nutrient-dense and fiber-rich sunflower sprouts; add them to your salads, sandwiches, or other dishes.
- Whole fruits instead of fruit juices.
- Whole husk psyllium. Consider taking it three times per day. It adds 18 grams of both soluble and insoluble fiber to our digestive system.
Adding more fiber-rich food to our diet is a healthy eating habit worth cultivating. Filling-up on fiber foods can also help us say “no” to those processed, sugary items that are tempting and tasty, but torpedo our longterm health.
Photo credit: Jeffrey Lu / flickr creative commons