People nowadays are getting more conscious in taking care of their health. With the aid of the internet, one can easily search for topics that relate to health, nutrition and exercise. Despite this, there are still a lot of people who choose to live unhealthily, ingesting food that one can consider as junk.
Among the various nutrients that our body needs, perhaps one of the most important yet commonly forgotten nutrient is dietary fiber.
What is Fiber?
- Refers to the non-digestible carbohydrate found in foods
- Comes in two kinds, depending on its solubility
- Dissolves in water
- “Good” bacteria in the intestines can metabolize this kind of fiber
- Does not dissolve in water
What are the benefits of ingesting dietary fiber?
- Aids in reducing constipation, consequently producing effects in weight loss and maintenance
- Lowers cholesterol levels, heart disease and diabetes risk
- Promotes growth of good bacteria in the gut
Despite the numerous benefits of adding fiber in one’s diet, not everyone gets enough of it on a daily basis. As such, here are some ways to boost one’s intake of dietary fiber.
How to increase dietary fiber intake?
- Eat whole-food carbohydrate sources.
- Unlike other carbohydrates, fiber isn’t broken down by the digestive system, making one feel fuller for a longer period.
- Fiber slows down the time digestible carbohydrates are absorbed in the bloodstream, reducing the risk for diabetes.
- Increase vegetable intake, making sure to eat them first.
- Choose nonstarchy vegetables as they are low in calories but high in nutrients and fiber content
- Eating veggies before a meal is a good strategy to eat more of them, eventually leading to fewer calorie intake during a meal
- Take fruits as snack.
- All fruits contain fiber, some of which have higher content than the others
- Best fiber sources: pear, berries, apples
- Best paired with foods containing fats and/or proteins as they improve fullness
- Eat whole grains instead of refined ones.
- Whole grains are minimally-processed, leaving the hull intact which is full of fiber.
- Refined grains undergo several processes that strip the grains of important nutrients, including the fiber-rich hull.
- Do not juice fruits and vegetables.
- While fruit and vegetable juices can provide lots of vitamins, the process strips them of the fiber, leaving only sugar behind.
- Eat plenty of legumes.
- Includes beans, dried peas, and lentils
- Very rich in fiber, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals
- One cup of beans = 75% of daily fiber needs
- Don’t remove the skin of fruits and vegetables.
- Peeling or removing the skin from fruits and veggies strips about half of the fiber present in them.
- Fruit and vegetable peelings contain insoluble fiber