Personally I have found that fiber does wonders to keep me healthy and at a healthy weight. I have more energy from better absorption of food nutrients, toxins are flushed out regularly, I feel full longer and there’s more! So let’s get started on some Fiber Facts.
WHAT IS FIBER?
It is the structural part of fruits, vegetables, and grains that your digestive system cannot digest or break down. Increasing fiber in the diet can be an important factor in improving your overall well-being.
There are two main types of fiber, and they have different effects on the body:
Soluble fiber dissolve in water and get sticky like oatmeal. This keeps us full longer.
Insoluble fiber is mainly made up of plant cell walls, and it cannot be dissolved in water. Instead It absorbs water which makes the fiber more bulky and speeds the passage of waste through our digestive system helping to keep us regular.
- Only plants produce fiber. No matter how chewy or “tough” animal products may be, they do not contain fiber – not even bones or eggshells.
- Fiber has a beneficial effect on body chemistry, such as lowering blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It slows digestion and absorption so that glucose (sugar) in food enters the bloodstream more slowly, which keeps blood sugar on a more even level.
- Fiber binds to fats and toxins and escorts them out.
- Healthy bacteria like to feed on soluble fiber which encourages the healthy bacteria to multiply.
- Fiber keeps stool soft and keeps the contents of the intestines moving.
- A good diet should contain approximately 25 to 35 grams a day. The average American eats less than half of that, consuming only about 10% of the fiber that they did 100 years ago. The change in the way wheat was processed into flour at the turn of the century-from a crushing to a finer rolling process – accounts substantially for the depletion in dietary fiber. Along with prepared, pop it into the oven meals and highly processed snacks.
- Since fiber demands that food be chewed more thoroughly, it slows down the eating process and helps contribute to a feeling of being full, which in turn can help prevent obesity from overeating. Fiber makes food more satisfying, probably because the contents of the stomach are bulkier and stay there longer.
- It takes about 7 calories to process 1 gram of fiber. So the average American, who eats only 12 grams of fiber in a day, only flushes about 84 calories from their day. Some Health standards recommend eating 35 grams of fiber each day, thus flushing 245 calories. If you follow these guidelines: three healthy meals a day and three healthy snacks, staying within the fiber and calorie guidelines, something wonderful will happen. Your metabolism will go UP, and you will start to drop your stored calories, which we all know as fat!
- It is important to increase your fluid intake with WATER. Since dietary fiber is somewhat sponge like, it absorbs water. Additional amounts of water are helpful in pushing the fiber along its course.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SOURCES?
- Bran has the highest fiber content – about 25% to 45%.
- Whole grains this includes breads and cereals, whole-grain pastas, and brown rice
- Nuts and seeds
- Legumes (such as dried peas, beans, lentils)
- A dietary supplement of fiber products such as Herbalife Active Fiber which provides 5 grams of fiber in each serving (2.5 soluble & 2.5 insoluble)
Check out Common Sense Health.com they have a great list of High Fiber Foods with the gram amounts by serving size.
WAYS ADD IN MORE FIBER
- Sprinkle bran, nuts, seeds, grains on your other foods, like yogurt or custard.
- Add a spoonful of bran to a bowl of cereal, or add it with berries as a topping on ice cream.
- Substitute half whole grain flour for the white flour in your recipes.
- Use bran instead of breading on chicken and fish, breakfasting with bran cakes, or making meatballs with bran filler
- Fresh and frozen berries are a rich source of fiber
- DO NOT overcook your vegetables; lightly steaming and stir frying are excellent in preventing the breakdown of beneficial fiber AND loss of nutrients.
- Choose healthy snacks. Eat an apple instead of drinking apple juice. The juice provides NO fiber, while an apple can supply 3.5 grams of dietary fiber.
As you can see it really isn’t that difficult to increase your daily fiber amount. But if you do need a little extra help, I highly recommend Herbalife’s Active Fiber Complex (comes in unflavored or apple, get it HERE). It helps to promotes regularity and healthy bowel movement* Supports growth of friendly intestinal bacteria* It has 5grams of balanced soluble and insoluble fiber.
I like to add a scoop to my Healthy Shake Meal for a thicker, smoother shake.
Another way is to add the Apple flavor Fiber Complex to a cup of fat free Greek Yogurt with chopped apples, walnuts and if you have it, 1 drop of Cassia essential oil. It makes a yummy snack or meal.
Or just with water or your favorite beverage.
Check out my recipes for some healthy fiber snacks:
Tell me about ways you increase your Fiber!