What is Fiber?

What is Fiber?

Fiber is an important non-nutrient, and it is the part of the food that cannot be digested by our bodies.  It is found in plants and known for its non-nutritional benefits rather than nutritional benefits.  

There are two types

  1. Soluble fiber: dissolves in water and forms a gel.  It can be metabolized by the good bacteria in the gut. Think of oatmeal that sits overnight in water, it soaks up all the water. It is present in beans, lentils, oats, peas, citrus fruits, berries and apples and many others.
  2. Insoluble fiber: Does not dissolve in water. Think of it as a broom that sweeps the colon.  It maintains its string-like structure as it passes through the GI tract.  It speeds up the passage of food through your digestive tract, prevents constipation, so your poop is softer.

Found in flax seeds, rye, nuts, whole wheat, grains, bran, seeds, brown rice, skins of produce, dark leafy green veggie. 

How does fiber work its magic?

Think of the insoluble fiber as a mesh inside your small intestine and duodenum, and think of the soluble fiber as a gel that plugs the holes in the mesh. The resulting barrier acts as a natural gate-keeper which limits the speed with which the small intestine absorbs your food and as a result, you remain fuller longer.

Benefits of fiber.

-Fiber feeds your good Gut Bacteria.

Your colon is home to billions of microorganisms, bacteria, virus and fungi and they all need fiber for energy. The interesting thing is that they have the enzymes to break down the fiber we eat. They ferment the fiber.   In the process of eating the fiber they produce Short Chain Fatty Acids like acetate and propionate and butyrate. These acids are essential for feeding the colon cells, leading to reduced gut inflammation and improvements in digestive disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

-Supports weight loss

-Reduce Blood Sugar levels after a high carb meal.

High-fiber foods tend to have a lower glycemic index than refined carbs. 

-Reduce Blood cholesterol

-Prevent constipation by absorbing water and increase in bulk in your stool

-Fiber might reduce the risk of colorectal Cancer

-Prevents diabetes

-Lowers risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke, heart disease and more.

How much fiber should I eat every day?

The average American gets 16 grams a day, which is not nearly enough, the American Heart Association recommendations based on a 2000 calorie diet for adults

– Women under 50:  21-25 grams a day

       – Men under 50: 30 to 38 grams per day

       – Children between ages 1- 18 should eat 14-31 grams of fiber a day.

GET YOUR DAILY FIBER- SIMPLE AND EASY

Sample Daily Menu  43 grams of fiber

Breakfast– 12 g

  ½ cup oatmeal, 1/4cup milk, 2 teaspoons Chia seeds, walnuts, fresh figs, raspberries, 

blueberries

Lunch -16 g

Chicken curry salad on whole grain bread

Arugula salad

Dinner – 15 g

Pan seared cod fish 4 ozs

1 small mashed sweet potato

1 cup of sautéed spinach