What Is Dietary Fiber?
Dietary fibers can be described as the portion of plant-derived food that contains two components – soluble and insoluble fiber. Chemically, dietary fiber is made from non-starch polysaccharides as well as cellulose, resistant starch, and other plant components.
Found in fruit, vegetables, and grains, dietary fiber was long-considered completely unimportant for our health. In many cultures, it was even thought that the quality of certain foods will be improved when the fiber is removed. However, newest studies have shown that dietary fiber is not only good for our health – it is downright essential.
The Best Benefits of Dietary Fiber
Great for Our Digestion
Dietary fiber ensures proper digestion. Since it can absorb large amounts of water, it’s not uncommon for fiber to rise up four times its size. This means that it can fill your bowels pretty quickly, which results in faster digestion.
Foods that lack fiber stay in our body for around 48 hours. In comparison, fiber-rich foods only take 14 hours to be processed.
May Help You Lose Weight
Consuming a diet rich in fiber can help you lose weight. Of course, it’s not a miracle worker, but if you eat a healthy diet and you also work out, you can expect to lose a solid amount of weight. Consuming fiber will keep you full for longer which means less food and fewer calories. If that’s not a recipe for weight loss success, we don’t know what is.
Boosts Your Immune System
Our digestive system produces antigens and plays an important role in our immune system. This was something science hasn’t taken into consideration before. New studies on our immune system have shown that fiber can improve our immune system and boost our digestion. With it, it also improves our immune system.
As fiber doesn’t stay in our bodies for long, it’s a perfect detox method. Fiber will soak up all the toxins in your digestive system and eliminate them from your body quicker than anything else.
All foods rich in fiber are a bit tougher to eat. You’ll have to chew them a bit longer than other foods which reinforces your teeth and gums. Due to this, many experts believe fiber to be exceptionally great against periodontitis.
How Much Dietary Fiber Should I Consume?
Experts say that we need 30 gr. of fiber per day for optimal health. Unfortunately, we only consume around 11 gr. on average these days. The good news is that that can easily be improved. Simply base your diet on fiber-rich foods such as grains, fruits, and veggies, and you’ll easily hit the 30 gr. mark.
Tips on Increasing Your Fiber Intake
To boost your fiber intake, you’ll have to add certain foods into your diet. Start your day with a big bowl of cereal such as wheat, bran or oats, and some fruits as well. Apples, bananas, oranges, and strawberries are all great choices. This should keep you full until lunch and prevent you from snacking between meals.
Next, you’ll need to ditch the white bread and replace it with integral bread. If you buy your bread from a bakery, ask about its ingredients. The best fiber-rich breads are those made from whole grains. You can also make your own whole-grain bread – there are plenty of recipes online.
Desserts are off limits when you’re trying to add fiber to your diet and lose weight – replace them with fruits instead. If you’re making beans for lunch, soak it overnight in water first. Wash it with clean water in the morning and boil it nicely so it’s easier to digest.
Here’s the fiber content of some foods:
- Beans (1/2 a cup) – 3 gr.
- Brussels sprouts (1 cup) – 2 gr.
- Brown rice – (3/4 of a cup) – 2 gr.
- Carrots (3/4 of a cup) – 2 gr.
- Peas (1/2 a cup) – 4 gr.
- Lentils (1/2 a cup) – 8 gr.
- Pears – (1 cup) – 3 gr.
- Strawberries (1 cup) – 3-4 gr.
- Whole wheat bread (1 piece) – 2 gr.
- Oats (1/3 of a cup) – 5-10 gr.
To properly add fiber to your diet, make sure you get it from different sources. For the best effect, make sure to drink plenty of water as well. Experts recommend 8-12 glasses of water and 30 gr. of fiber for proper digestion and optimal health.