High-fiber diet - is fiber something you should think about?
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High-fiber diet – what is it? You always hear ‘Eat more whole grains, more veggies, fruits, and nuts’. You probably know whole plant foods are good for you, but do you know why? Besides plenty of vitamins and other nutrients, that whole-plant diet is rich in, there is also one unsung hero – the fiber. When thinking about healthy food, we tend to focus on sexy-sounding vitamin content, or amount of proteins food contains. It’s important to be thankful for the fiber, as a high-fiber diet is also very useful. A High-fiber diet is very beneficial.

What is fiber?

Traditionally, fiber was considered that substance found in the outer layers of plants or grains. It was that part which did not digest in the intestines.

We now know the truth: There is no single dietary “fiber.”

Fiber consists of a number of different substances. Most of the fiber is not digested or absorbed. It just travels through your intestines and comes out the other end, pushing out other bi-products of digestion. That’s how your poop is created. There are two types of fiber:

  1. Soluble fiber – this group of substances is made of carbs and it’s dissolved in water. You can find this type of fiber in fruits, bearly, legumes, and oats.
  2. Insoluble fiber – this comes from plant cells that are not dissolved in water. This comes from rye, wheat, and other grains.
  3. Dietary fiber – that’s the sum of both types of fiber.

What are the benefits of a high-fiber diet?

High-fiber diet - is fiber something you should think about?
Photo by Wesual Click on Unsplash

There is a reason people say the high-fiber diet is good for you. Even in more extereme diet plans, fiber is often outlined as an important part (e.i. Keto diet – to find out more click here). Indeed it has proven many benefits.

High-fiber diet (wheat bran, some fruits, and vegetables) has been used to treat many digestive problems such as constipation and hemorrhoids. Fiber makes your intestines move. It cleans your colon. This helps to clean out bacteria and other buildups in your intestines. It can also reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Thanks to fiber the sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream slowly. When you eat foods high in fiber, the sugar from those foods is absorbed slower, which keeps your blood glucose levels from rising too fast. This is good for you because fast rising and falling glucose levels can make you feel hungry soon after eating and cause overeating. That’s why fiber can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In people who already have diabetes (type 1 and 2), soluble fiber can help to control blood glucose levels.

Soluble fiber apparently can also reduce the risk of coronary artery disease and stroke.

How much fiber do you need?

According to Mayo Clinic, women should try to eat at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day, while men should aim for 30 to 38 grams a day.

Just one medium banana has 3 grams of fiber, so it’s totally achievable.

If you haven’t been eating lots of fiber already, be careful not to add it to your diet too quickly. It can have some side effects, such as abdominal bloating or gas. You can minimize this by starting with a small amount and slowly increasing until stools become softer and more frequent.

High-fiber diet – How to eat more fiber?

High-fiber diet - is fiber something you should think about?
Photo by Min An
  1. Eat more whole grain products – stay away from white bread, which is almost fully washed out from good fiber. Choose the whole grain instead.
  2. Try whole-grain cereal and oats – there is plenty of good options out there. Just watch out for highly processed cereal with added sugar! No amount of fiber will counteract the bad impact of white sugar on your body.
  3. Brown rice, brown pasta – swap your usual white rice and pasta for wholegrain. It’s much denser, so you will be full quicker, and of course, it contains fiber.
  4. Add beans and legumes – those are not only a good source of fiber, but also contain plenty of healthy plant-based protein. Just don’t go crazy with amounts, or you might get some surprising side effects (yes, the bloating and gas).
  5. Fruits and vegetables – there isn’t a healthy diet without those two. Choose whole fruit or veg instead of a juice, to keep the fiber in. When you drink the juice, the whole goodness of fiber is extracted from it, and you getting just a sugary liquid with some vitamines. It’s so much better to get the whole thing!
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