What is a high fiber diet and how can I benefit from one?
Let's first ask ourselves, what is fiber? Fiber is essentially the part of plants like fruit and vegetables that allows them to keep their shape and form. Common foods we eat that are rich in fiber include vegetables such as beans, leafy greens or staples like peas and corn as well as fruits like oranges, apples and berries. Almost all plant derived food has a fiber content.
So now that we know what fiber is, we need to answer the question – what is a high fiber diet? Most simply answered, a high fiber diet is a diet rich in high fiber foods like fruits and vegetables. A high fiber diet is what allows many of our bodies natural processes to function unimpeded. Think about it – our ancestors were not eating big macs and milkshakes – they were grabbing food from trees and digging it up from the ground when they wanted to eat.
A high fiber diet plan is the best strategy to help our body keep our colon healthy. Some disorders such as diverticulitis and constipation can actually be linked to a giber deficiency. Beyond these problems, most scientists and doctors agree – a healthy fiber intake helps fight problems in the digestive track from top to bottom including constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulosis A fiber rich diet will also help fight high cholesterol. Sounds pretty good does not it?
For someone interested in increasing their fiber intake there are 2 basic types of fiber to be aware of. First there is insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber can be found in foods like wheat, nuts, bran, nuts and vegetables. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water so it is the type of fiber that we know to help peoples bowel movements. Since this type of fiber is not dissolving in our bodies, it ends up helping guide material through our digestive tract and inside of our colon. By bulking up ones stool, insoluble fiber can help those who suffer from constipation.
Soluble fiber on the other hand, is the type of fiber that we find in foods like oats, apples, oranges, barley, psyllium, flax and beans. Soluble fiber is able to absorb water which then results in the softening of our stools. This leads to an easier elimination which is something we can all get behind!
The soluble fiber known as “beta glucan” found in foods like oats, are able to bind to body acids and bile in the intestinal tract. Unfortunately, bile naturally contains a high level of cholesterol that our body is able to absorb. The good news, is that beta glucan binds with these biles and is eliminated through the stool, so taking that pesky cholesterol with it. Who knew? A high fiber diet plan has been shown to help reduce cholesterol to healthy levels in those with cholesterol problems.
So now you know what a high fiber diet is how it can help. The last step in a high fiber diet is to create a high fiber diet plan. This sounds like a lot of work, but it is really quite simple – a high fiber diet plan is nothing more than looking up the amounts of fiber in foods and then choosing a combination of these foods daily to eat. According to the American Diabetic Association, adults need between 25 and 35 grams of fiber a day. Similarly, the American Heart Association recommends between 25 and 30 grams a day.
An easy diet plan to hit this figure may include a bowl of bran and a banana at breakfast, 2 slices of whole wheat bread and strawberries at lunch and then some cooked peas at dinner. That would put your daily fiber intake right at 24 grams for the day. Easy and delicious!
This article should have given you a great idea on what a high fiber diet is as well as a bunch of health reasons that would cause you to want one. You should also know how to achieve a healthy level of fiber in your diet now. The most important thing to remember about a high fiber diet is that it is extremely easy to alter your current eating habits to incorporate more fiber if you need to. A fiber rich diet can be achievable as easily as adding some fruits and grains to your daily routine. This is both cheap and healthy so why not do the right thing and incorporate a high fiber eating plan into your life?