The Wonders of: Fiber

We’ve all heard of fiber. It’s that stuff that’s supposed to help you go to the bathroom. But in order to really understand why fiber is so important, you first have to know what fiber is and how it works within your body.

wondersoffiber

Fiber is the part of the fruit, vegetable or plant that your body does NOT digest. That’s right. Unlike protein, carbohydrates and the like, fiber passes through your system fairly in tact and is not absorbed and broken down by your body. Because it is absorbed in tact it is great for pushing waste through your digestive tract and out your tushy. Fiber helps to regulate blood sugar, protects against heart disease and colon cancer.

There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble {Biology flashback occurring right now!}. Soluble means that it dissolves in water. That means that it forms a gel-like substance that helps to lower cholesterol and blood glucose. Insoluble is the opposite. It absorbs water, which creates extra bulk, which helps push out the waste faster.

Why Fiber is Awesome For You:

1. Makes Your Bowels Regular: We’ve all seen the Jamie Lee Curtis commercial, right? Well, let’s get real for a second. Fiber makes your stools bulkier which makes them easier to pass. No one likes to be constipated, and fiber helps to alleviate that problem. On the flip side of that, if you are having problems with runny or loose stools {also known as diarrhea}, fiber can help to make your stools more regular. Bonus: fiber can help protect against hemorrhoids.

2. Helps to Lower “Bad” Cholesterol: Soluble fibers in particular help to lower bad cholesterol levels. It can also lower blood pressure and risk of heart disease.

3. Controls Blood Sugar Levels: This is especially important for people with diabetes. Fiber helps your body to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates into the blood stream thus lowering glucose levels. Even if you are not diabetic, eating a diet high in fiber can help protect you against it {and trust me, you don’t want it}. Though fiber is technically classified as a carbohydrate, if you are counting your carbs, you can always subtract if from the total count to know what your body will truly be absorbing. Fiber does NOT increase blood glucose levels. Eat it. It’s good.

4. Lowers Body Weight: According to various sources, eating fiber on a daily basis can help to lower your body weight. High fiber foods tend to make you feel fuller faster which in turn makes you stop eating when you are actually full. You also won’t feel the need to snack as often because you stay full for a longer period of time. All of this combined, helps lead to losing those lbs.

How Much Fiber Do You Need:

If you are under 50 and Male: >38

Over 50 and Male: >30

Under 50 and Female: >25

Over 50 and Female: >21

What Foods Contain Fiber?

Beans, Oats, Flax Seed, Oat bran, Apples {with skin}, Citrus Fruit, Raspberries, Pears {with skin} Figs, Raisins, Strawberries, brown rice, whole wheat and multi-grain bread, air-popped popcorn, split pea, black beans, sunflower seeds, almonds, pistacios, pecans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, sweet corn {obviously}, prunes, carrots, cauliflower.

There are endless possibilities for recipes using the foods. Just keep an eye out for some right here on Quarter Past Normal.

*To get the most out of the fiber you eat, you should pair it with plenty of water in-take. I don’t make myself drink “8 glasses” per day, but I try to drink as much water as I can. Keep a water bottle with you while at work, and a glass near you at home and just sip away!*

For more information on fiber, check out this article.

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