Who needs fiber?
Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. It works to keep your gut healthy while also helping to keep your body functioning properly. What you may not know is that there are many benefits of fiber beyond the well-known benefits to gut health. In general, fiber can help to improve digestion and the health of the gut microflora. Fiber also helps to keep you feeling full which contributes to the beneficial impact of fiber on weight loss and maintenance.
Furthermore, consumption of a specific type of fiber called soluble fiber confers additional benefits to the human body. Soluble fiber intake is associated with reduced cholesterol and blood lipid levels, decreased blood pressure, better glucose control, improved immune function and reduced inflammation. However, it is also important to note that most sources of fiber are also packaged with a lot of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Thus the best sources of fiber are whole food sources including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, and nuts and seeds. Soluble fibers, while present in many of these foods, are particularly abundant in oats, barley, legumes, beans, chia seeds, flax seeds, apples and oranges.
Given the variety of benefits resulting from intake of fiber and fiber-containing foods, increased consumption of fiber-containing foods is likely a good idea. The recommended amount of fiber to consume is approximately 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories you eat. For an individual consuming a 2000 calorie diet, about 28 grams of fiber would meet this recommendation. However, if you have trouble consuming this much fiber, trying to add at least one fiber-rich food per day would be a great start.
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