When it comes to eating healthy, the word fiber gets thrown around. But do you know what it is and the benefits of a high fiber diet? What about the foods you should eat to add more fiber to your diet? Keep reading to get the answers.
What is Fiber?
Fiber, sometimes referred to as roughage, is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. Though most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules, and instead, passes through the body undigested. Fiber helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check.
Fiber has two main types; soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
1) Soluble fiber will dissolve in water. Also known as prebiotic fiber, it is the type of fiber that helps us fill full after we’ve eaten leafy greens and fruits.
2) Insoluble fiber is the type that does not dissolve in water, nor does it interact with the digestive enzymes in your gastrointestinal tract. When insoluble fiber moves through the body, it absorbs water and “bulks” up. This type of fiber eases bowel movements.
What foods are high in fiber?
Dietary fiber is most found in fruits, dark green vegetables, orange vegetables, legumes, starchy vegetables, and whole grains. Food sources of insoluble fiber include dark green leafy vegetables, roots vegetable skins, fruit skins, whole-wheat, cereal grains, and nuts. Good food sources of soluble fibers include legumes (like kidney or pinto beans), cruciferous vegetables (think broccoli), citrus fruits, whole-wheat bread, apples, and spinach.
Keep in mind, that fiber comes from plant-based food and can not be found in things like diary products or meats.
Benefits of eating a high fiber diet.
According to the American Diabetes Association, “healthy adults need between 25 and 30 grams of fiber a day.” Although fiber can not be used by the body as a source of energy, fiber does have many health benefits. Fiber slows the speed at which food can pass from the stomach to the rest of the digestive system. This happens when water is absorbed by fiber and results in the feeling of being full. Foods high in fiber are often lower in calories as well. This makes fiber a key ingredient to any healthy weight loss regiment. Other benefits of eating more fiber include:
1) May prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol.
2) Slower digestion can aid in regulating blood sugar.
3) Filling fuller longer can help with portion control and aid in healthy weight loss.
4) Increased fiber can help normalize and ease bowel movements.
At Diabetes Texas, we specialize in helping our patient better understand their body and how it is affected by diabetes. We teach proper management and help you form the right habits to make diabetes just a detail of your life, and not the focal point. Let us help you live a normal and active life. For information on becoming a patient, contact our office today.