Don’t Forget the Fiber!
IN WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
Do you know what plant food is an essential component of any healthy diet and yet cannot be absorbed by the body? It’s dietary fiber, and it’s found in fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Though Americans need anywhere from 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily, the American Dietetic Association (www.eatright.org) estimates that most people only get about 14 to 15 grams each day.
Why Is Fiber Necessary?
Though some forms of dietary fiber are believed to have other benefits as well, the most important function of fiber is to aid in digestion. Fiber-rich foods provide bulk in the diet and the sensation of fullness after meals. In addition to preventing constipation (one of the most well-known benefits of fiber), a diet that includes sufficient fiber can assist with weight management as well as prevent or treat a range of medical conditions like diverticulosis, diabetes, and heart disease.
Forms of Fiber
Dietary fiber is divided into two categories, soluble and insoluble.
Prepare Your Plan
If you intend to improve your health by adding more foods high in fiber to your diet, be aware that suddenly eating a large amount of fiber in a short amount of time can lead to bloating, flatulence, and abdominal cramps. However, gradually increasing the fiber in your diet and drinking plenty of water can help you avoid these unpleasant side effects.
- Insoluble fiber, found in wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains, helps to expedite food through the digestive system while adding bulk to the stool.
- Soluble fiber, which retains water, turns to a gel during the digestive process and slows the rate of digestion and nutrient absorption. This form of fiber occurs naturally in oats, peas, beans, some fruits, and psyllium (a grain found in certain cereal products). In addition, the American Dietetic Association reports that soluble fiber is proven to decrease cholesterol levels, which reduces the risk of heart disease.
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|Foods for Fiber|
Are you thinking of adding more fiber to your diet but don't know where to begin? To get you started, here are some suggestions for foods rich in fiber as well as the amount of fiber they contain per serving.
3/4 cup of bran flake cereal (5.5g)|
1/2 cup of kidney beans (4.5g)
1 medium pear with skin (4.5g)
1 medium potato, baked with skin (4g)
3/4 cup of oatmeal, cooked (3g)
1 medium apple with skin (3g)
1 slice of whole wheat bread (2.5g)
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