What Fiber Can Do For Your Diet
We've always heard that we're supposed to eat more fiber. Cereal companies market their products to us by saying how much fiber it has per serving. I used to have a hard time getting in enough fiber. This was because I'm a meat eater. The more meat the better, yet meat contains no fiber at all. So what are some good ways to get fiber and why do we even need it?
Fiber is mainly found in plant foods like fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes (also known as beans). By mixing plant foods in to your diet, you will get a good amount of fiber in your diet. They are an excellent compliment for your meat foods.
Fiber speeds up food's passage through the body. It also generally takes longer to chew and leaves you feeling fuller longer. This is one reason fiber can help you be successful when dieting.
If you feel like you do not have a lot of energy, this can be a sign of a slow digestive system. Adding fiber to your diet can speed up your digestive system and, in turn, increase your energy.
Fiber can be separated in to two categories:
- Insoluble Fiber - This is the chewy or course part of the plant that will not dissolve in water. This type of fiber passes through the system generally in tact and soaks up excess water adding bulk and softness to the stool. Not only will it prevent constipation but it speeds up the digestive system.
- Soluble Fiber - This type of fiber is found on the inside of the cell wall and dissolves in water to form a gel. As it passes through your system it binds to cholesterol and eliminates it from the body.
While fiber does cause gas, adding a little bit of cinnamon to your diet will help with that.
There are many great foods that contain high amounts of fiber in them. I like to start the day with a bowl of oat meal with flaxseed and cinnamon. This provides an excellent jump start for the day providing fiber, energy and keeps me full throughout the morning. For lunch I choose whole grain bread for my sandwiches. A side salad with spinach, chick peas and broccoli are an excellent side. I like to enjoy an afternoon snack consisting of one of my favorite fruits such as strawberries, grapefruit or blueberries.
I eat pretty much the same things other people eat for dinner but I choose healthier options in my recipes such as brown rice, wheat pasta, no fat cheese and whole grain breads.
If you start reading labels and choose foods higher in fiber you will be much healthier and have more energy. Try it! You'll like it.
Tim is a food lover and health nut. He lives in Orlando, FL with his family.
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