The Benefits of A High Fiber Diet
Everyone's seen the television ad where some strange-looking guy is trying to convince you to take your fiber. They list all its benefits and tell you how healthy it is for your body, then try to sell you on a bottle of ‘miracle fiber’ that is, in reality, just generic psyllium husk powder mixed with a few herbal extracts.
The reason health nutritionists and enthusiasts try to shove fiber down your throat is because it's the underrated, most underappreciated macro-nutrient of them all.
If every macro-nutrient starred in a dramatic soap opera, then protein would probably be the protagonist/hero, fat would be the devious bad guy who always gets away, carbohydrates would be the supporting characters who have a few lines every now and then to help move the action, and then fiber walks in the door. Fiber would most definitely be the clumsy sidekick just trying to find his way.
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Fiber isn't really that nutritious, it's technically a string of sugar molecules passing right through our digestive system, and because of the strong bonds between these sugar molecules, our digestive enzymes don't necessarily break these molecules down. Instead, these sugar molecules pass straight through our intestinal tract.
Although fiber adds bulk to the chewed food in our digestive tracts, it contains little to no actual nutrients or even calories. Tufts University conducted a study that showed people who followed a high fiber diet were more likely to reduce the amount of food they consumed, resulting in weight loss.
Fiber is a great tool for people wanting to lose weight or make an easy transition to a healthier lifestyle. Weight loss is possible through a high fiber diet because of the nature of the foods that contain fiber.
Eat the Right Fiber
Soluble and Insoluble Fiber
Vegetables and whole grains are high in fiber and contain a low amount of calories. Also, these foods take more time to chew, and more chewing lets the body know it's being fed the proper amount, and so that means less cravings and less unintentional overeating.
Foods high in fiber tend to take longer to digest in the intestines, which leads to a feeling of longer-lasting fullness. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contain two classifications of fiber: Soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber is able to dissolve in water and forms a thick substance. Soluble fiber stays in the stomach longer than insoluble fiber, and is able to lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar levels, and bind to fats that enter the body.
A quick list of healthy foods that contain soluble fiber:
The texture of soluble fiber stays the same throughout the digestive process. Its job is to absorb water in the stomach and add bulk to passing stool, quickening the entire intestinal process. The effects of soluble fiber have been proven to prevent diverticulosis and alleviate constipation.
Insoluble fiber can be found in natural cereals, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Fruits such as bananas, prunes, a variety of berries, plums, cherries, and apples. It is also in onions, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, potatoes, carrots, and more.
It wasn't until the 1960's that people became aware of the positive benefits that came with having a fiber rich diet, and since then there have been numerous studies and experiments conducted that show a strong correlation between regular fiber intake and the prevention of various diseases, along with a healthier body and lifestyle.
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