Food Fact: Dietary Fiber What Is It and Why Is It Important
Have you ever been told eat more fiber? But what exactly is fiber and why is it so crucial? It’s time to do a brief dive into fiber. To begin we will understand just what fiber is. Fiber is considered roughage or bulk and it is the part of plants that your body cannot digest. In simple it helps to solidify bowel movements. There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber is water that dissolves in water and creates a gel like material. These include oats, peas, beans etc...
Insoluble fiber is fiber that helps move material through the digestive system and increases stool bulk. These types of fibers include whole wheat, wheat bran, nuts, vegetables, beans, etc...
How much fiber should I eat to avoid being told to eat more fiber? There is definitely no concrete answer because we are all different. We cannot answer a specific amount, but the average for men 50 and younger is 38 grams and 51 and older is 30 grams. For women the amount for 50 and younger is 25 grams and for 51 and older it is 21 grams.
There are many benefits of a diet that is rich in fiber. It normalizes bowel movements by increasing the weight and size of your stool. A bulky stool is easier to pass and it decreases the chance of constipation. It helps maintain bowel health by lowering the risk of hemorrhoids and other problems with your colon. It also has been shown to lower your risk of colorectal cancer. Fiber has been shown to lower low density lipoproteins or LDL which is bad cholesterol and may have heart health benefits. It will assist with people with diabetes, particularly soluble fiber, because it can slow the absorption of sugar and help to improve the person(s) blood sugar levels.
Warning: We are about to introduce super fiber foods. Eat at your own risk. (We are joking; it’s harmless unless your doctor specifies that you cannot over indulge. Always consult your physician before making any major dietary changes.)
Artichokes are one of the highest-fiber veggies which have about 10 grams for a medium sized artichoke. That means it is about 1/3 or 1/2 of your daily fiber intake depending on if you are a male or female.
Can you think of a good artichoke recipe? We can, and we have. Check out this week’s recipe blog post here to enjoy some delicious food.
Now that we have introduced the dietary fiber we can progress on to different food facts!
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All information obtained from Mayo Clinic at https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983