What is fiber?
Fiber is an “indigestible” carbohydrate and is considered one of the good carbs. It is considered “good” because it does not significantly raise your blood sugar level. Fiber is also satiating, as it makes you feel fuller longer and helps cut cravings. Fiber is found exclusively in plant foods, and is the part of the plant that can’t be digested by humans because we don’t have the necessary enzymes. It comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. The soluble kind dissolves in water, the insoluble kind doesn’t. You need both. High fiber diets are consistently associated with lower rates of cancer, diabetes and obesity. Still, most people do not get even half the amount of fiber they need on a daily basis.
Why do I need fiber?
Even though we can’t digest it, fiber contributes significantly to your health. Insoluble Fiber: Provides bulk that helps with digestion -- accelerating the process of detoxification, working to rid the body of potentially dangerous and cancer causing carcinogens.
Soluble Fiber: By binding with cholesterol in the small intestine, soluble fiber works to eliminate this potentially dangerous substance from the body. Hence, soluble fiber has a well-deserved reputation for lowering cholesterol.
Both kinds of fiber help control blood sugar and slow down the emptying of the stomach so you feel full longer.
How much fiber do I need?
Virtually all major health organizations recommend between 25-35 grams a day. Our ancestors got a whopping 50 grams daily out of their unprocessed diet of lean protein and vegetables. The average American gets a paltry 11 grams.
How do I get fiber into my diet?
Best sources of soluble fiber: Oats, especially oat bran, barley, dried beans, soybeans, apples, nuts, flax seeds and other fruits and vegetables. Best sources of insoluble fiber: Wheat bran and whole grain products.
Most plant foods contain both types of fiber. Insoluble fiber is more common, found in most fruits and vegetables as well as beans, grains and nuts