In my practice people always ask me what the benefits of dietary fiber are. The data on the Internet is always different, so people get confused about how much fiber they need and where to get it to keep their dieting healthy. I usually start with telling them what dietary fiber is and how it helps.
Fiber is a composition of plant parts that are not digested by our body. It’s used as a scrub for our digestive system, going through stomach to intestines and out of the organism. We need it to reduce possibility of heart stroke or disease, different types of cancer, and diabetes. It also helps with constipation and digestive disorders.
There are soluble and insoluble types of fiber.
Soluble type dissolves in water and is usually becomes gel inside your stomach. You can find soluble dietary fiber in different type of oats, legumes, citrus fruits, carrots, apples, etc. This fiber helps you decrease the cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Insoluble type doesn’t dissolve in water. It can be found in legumes, nuts, and different types of vegetables. This fiber will help you fight constipation, improving digestive function.
Many plant-based products have both types of fiber, but to make sure it’s better to eat different fiber-rich foods every day.
Increasing the Amount of Dietary Fiber in a Diet
New guidelines with norms of essential elements (proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, etc.) state that an adult has to consume 30g of fiber a day. It’s more than the previous guidelines suggest, and most people ignored even them and consumed about 18g a day, so now it becomes crucial to increase the intake. I prepared a few tips to help:
- Eat more oats to fill the fiber gap. If you’re on a gluten free diet, make sure to choose proper oats.
- Eat wholemeal breads and use wholegrains. For a gluten free diet, choose millet, amaranth, teff, buckwheat, etc.
- Bake or boil potatoes with the skins – they are more useful.
- Add beans to your salads and curries to make them fiber-rich.
- Add vegetables to your dishes, no matter as a main or side meal.
- Eat fresh fruits or nuts for snacks. It will prevent you from ordering junk food.
- Use canned or dried fruits for desserts. By doing so you won’t be tempted to eat cakes.
Adding more dietary fiber to your meals is highly beneficial. Check the labels on the products you buy and read more about those foods on the Internet to know how much fiber is there.