What You Need to Know About Fiber
By Rachel Carver
Fiber plays an important part in overall health. It helps with digestion and with maintaining a healthy weight. Additionally, consuming enough fiber can lower the risk of developing health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
What Is Fiber?
Unlike other nutrients, fiber stays mostly undigested as it passes through the body. It can only be found in plant-based foods. Meat and dairy products do not contain fiber.
Soluble and insoluble fiber can be found in plants. Soluble fiber generally lives in a plant. So, the inside of an apple contains soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is found on a plant's outside, such as on the skin of an apple.
Foods high in fiber contain both types. However, the body uses them differently.
Soluble Fiber dissolves in water and other bodily fluids. As it moves through the digestive tract, it helps produce short chain fatty acids such as butyrate. These fatty acids improve gut health, which plays a role in functions such as:
- Stabilizing blood glucose levels
- Keeping hunger cravings in check through increased fullness
insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, which means it travels through the body differently than soluble fiber. However, it still plays an important role in gut health. This fiber can help regulate the digestive tract and may reduce the risk of developing diverticular disease and some forms of colorectal cancer.
How Much Fiber Do You Need?
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 25 daily grams of fiber for adult women and 38 daily grams for adult men following a 2,000 calorie diet. Some people can consume higher amounts, while others may need less.
Some apps can help you track your fiber intake. Keeping track of your fiber ensures you consume your needed amount. Research your favorite foods to see how much fiber they contain. If you need to add more fiber, find some fruits and veggies you enjoy and try to incorporate them into your diet.
Some high-fiber foods include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Most beans
- Most whole grains
Increase your fiber intake with these tips.
- Don't remove the skin from your fruits and veggies, including potatoes
- Add beans to your salads
- Use whole-wheat or bean-based pasta whenever possible
Incorporating high-fiber foods into your diet can help you lose weight by keeping you feeling more satisfied between meals. It can also just make you feel better and give you more energy.
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