Fiber is the stringy stuff that holds fruits and vegetables together. You can also find it in seeds and in the outer covering of grain, called bran. Bran is the part of the grain that is ground up and used in whole wheat flour and whole-grain cereal but is removed from white flour. Simply put, fiber exists in the flesh of fresh, whole, natural foods and plays an important role in the overall health of your body.
“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”
– Julia Child
Two types of fiber
There are two types, soluble and insoluble:
Insoluble fiber helps move waste through the intestines so it can be easily eliminated from the body. This type is found in vegetables, nuts, and bran.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water, turning the food in the intestines into a gel form. This helps nutrients absorb at a slow, steady rate and also makes you feel full. This type is found in dried beans and peas, citrus fruits, carrots, and barley.
Why should you care about fiber?
1. Fiber helps bowel movements by increasing the weight and size of the stool, making it easier to pass. It also encourages the growth of good bacteria in the gut, which keeps harmful bacteria away. Say goodbye to diarrhea and constipation!
2. Fiber helps lower cholesterol because it carries dietary cholesterol out of the body.
3. Fiber helps satisfy the appetite more because high-fiber foods require more chewing and they stay in the stomach longer. This also helps curb overeating.
4. Fiber helps steady blood sugar and prevents the rollercoaster of high and low blood sugar levels which can impact your mood and energy level.
Need more ideas? Here are a few of my favorites:
A – apricots, apples, avocados, artichokes
B – beans, bran, berries
C – cereals (with 3 grams per serving)
S – salads and raw veggies
According to the Institute of Medicine, women should be eating 25 grams of fiber per day and men should be eating 38 grams per day. These amounts decrease to 30 grams per day and 21 grams per day, respectively, for adults over 50 years old.
3 Boosting Tips
1. Eat it, don’t drink it. The peel on fruits and vegetables is where you’ll find the fiber, so eat it! It gets lost when you juice or peel the skin off the produce.
2. Use whole grains. You can find fiber in the bran of grains, which is removed from white flour and processed grains, so opt for whole grains.
3. Choose high fiber cereal. Always check the nutrition facts label when purchasing packaged foods and pick a cereal that has at least 3 grams per serving.
Need an idea of how to use more fiber in your diet?
Here is a recipe: Three-Bean Chili Recipe
Makes: 8-10 servings
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
1. Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil.
2. Add the tofu and sauté until cooked through.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for two hours.
Beyond Naturopathic Consultation, Yoga & Meditation and Functional Nutrition Counselling, I also offer different kinds of Coaching Programs. If you’re ready to change your lifestyle but need help getting started or have questions, contact me to schedule a consultation – the first step to a healthier you.
Enjoy your meal and stay well,