The Simple Way To Feeling Lighter ... More Energetic ... And Feeling Your Best Every Single Day
By Cassandra Forsythe-Pribanic, PhD, RD
Some people have just LOVE to hate fiber.
Are you one of them?
They love it because it really fills them up since it’s either really bulky when you eat it (like bran and beans – insoluble fiber) or it expands and fills your stomach once you eat it (like psyllium and flaxseeds – soluble fiber).
But then, on the other hand, you may hate it if you don’t eat fiber very often (you give your broccoli to the dog at dinner), and it makes you gassy, bloated, and uncomfortable.
The good news is that you can get used to eating fiber, and won’t suffer from the bloating side effects.
Fiber is non-digestible, meaning it has virtually no calories when you eat it. Also, it's essential for good health.
There are two basic kinds of fiber: Soluble and Insoluble. And before you think you don't need both--you DO!
As the name suggests, the soluble kind partially dissolves, forming a gel once in your stomach.
The insoluble kind, found in bran, nuts and vegetables, is what "keeps you regular." It sweeps through your colon, pushing out anything that might otherwise lodge in the little bulges found on the wall and cause diverticulitis.
The soluble kind, found in oats, legumes, fruits and barley, helps lower blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels. It lowers glucose levels by slowing the body's absorption of sugar, and consequently can help lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Studies show that soluble fiber may signifcantly lower your risk for heart disease, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, especially the fiber found in [real] whole grains like barley (not pulverized grains found in whole grain bread…) .
According to the Mayo Clinic, men 50 and younger should eat about 38 grams of fiber a day; older men should eat at least 30 grams. Women younger than 50 should eat 25 grams of fiber a day; older women, 21 grams.
In order to get the recommended amount of fiber in your diet, you should be including whole-fiber foods are often as possible.
But be sure to start off slow! Don’t overload your plate with a giant serving of beans, because you will pay the price in gas and bloating.
You should focus on changing your diet slowly over a couple of weeks. Also, and this is important, make sure you’re taking in plenty of fluids.
Due to both the satiating and filling effects of fiber, it’s may be great for weight loss and for maintaining a healthy body weight.
Since it basically has no calories (because it’s indigestible), fiber can help make you feel full without adding extra energy you don’t need.
It may also stabilzie your blood sugar levels during a meal (by slowing the absorption of carbohydrate sugars in your diet), which keeps you from having those crazy highs and lows that could lead to hunger even though you just recently ate.
Also, even more importantly, fiber when combined with protein can greatly assist in weight loss efforts and improve overall health as described in the following research investigation:
• One study that took 89 overweight woman and gave them a high fiber and high protein diet for 10 weeks. The control group had a diet comprised of carbohydrates and low in fat. The results: The women who ate the high fiber, high protein diet lost more body weight, more total fat, and more bellt fat compared to the high carbohydrate diet. Plus, total and LDL cholesterol numbers were significantly lower as well (Morenga, LT et al, 2010).
And, to make fiber even more attractive, a very recent study by National Cancer Institute researchers found that there was a lower risk of dying from cancer in men and women who consumed a high fiber diet – men who ate at least 30 grams of fiber per day and women who had at least 25 grams had a 22% lower risk of dying from cancer than those who ate only 12 and 10 grams respectively (Park Y et al, 2011).
Overall, fiber found in foods is one of your best weight-loss allies along with high protein foods and plenty of unprocessed foods and beverages. Plus, it may also reduce your risk of dying from cancer.
To help you get enough fiber in your diet, choose foods that are rich in fiber like beans, fruit and vegetables, and look for new functional foods on the market (a food that provides health benefits beyond basic nutrition) that have added specialty fibers and even more filling power.
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