Everybody and their brother is talking about fiber. So what's all the fuss? Let's just say grandma was on to something when she told you to eat your "roughage."
Fiber is the element in plants (like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) that our bodies do not absorb that remains mostly intact, unlike other elements. Fiber comes in two forms -- soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves with water and creates a gel-like substance that helps lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Insoluble fiber absorbs water adding bulk to your digestive tract, which helps move waste through quickly while removing harmful and unwanted impurities. Other health benefits of fiber include reducing the incidence of heart disease and colon cancer, lower blood pressure, decreasing inflammation, and even aiding in weight loss. Unfortunately, most Americans only consume 10-15 grams of the required 20-35 grams we should eat everyday. So if you get nothing else, get this - when it comes to fiber, you need it, so eat it. Enough said!
Find out how you can increase your fiber just by changing small things in your diet everyday.
Want to make sure you're getting enough fiber? Click here to secure your fiber intake with high-fiber foods and recipes. Wonder what a day in the life of a high-fiber diet looks like? Here's an example of a simple, fiber-rich meal plan based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Don't forget to start slowly and gradually increase your fiber intake!
Fact or Fiber?
Fiber consumption is a delicate balance. Too little leads to irregularity and constipation, and too much of a good thing means uncomfortable bloating, cramping - you get the picture. Knowing your fiber facts will help keep your digestive system moving in the right direction. Did somebody say pop quiz?
Remember to take advantage of local stands and farmer's markets to stock up on your fiber-dense foods for the week! Above is a photo of the fresh produce available at the University of Rochester Farmer's Market that runs every Wednesday from 2:30-5:30pm in Strong Memorial Hospital's Flaum Atrium from March 1 through October 18.