Fiber is a common word buzzing around the topic of nutrition, and rightly so because it’s very important. But what is it?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate. Unlike other carbohydrates, fiber cannot be digested by our bodies and so cannot provide us with much energy. But don’t let this fool you, because fiber still plays an essential role in our health. Instead of breaking down, fiber passes through our body in-tact, effectively cleaning out our intestines to keep them happy and healthy. This may seem like a small be feat, but it is a big deal for our gut health. The good bacteria (probiotics) in our gut feed off fiber (prebiotics), and these bacteria help regulate our body in many unseen ways. When our probiotic gut bacteria are well fed, they cultivate more healthy bacteria. Having a healthy colony of probiotics is important because the more good bacteria you have the less bad bacteria can grow.
Why is fiber important?
Having consistent fiber in one’s diet has been linked to a bounty of positive health benefits, including decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, digestive problems, skin health, and weight management. The FDA recommends getting 25 grams of fiber a day, but the average American gets about half of this. So adding more plant-based foods to our diet increases our fiber intake and lowers our risk for chronic diseases.
Where is fiber found?
Fiber is found in plant-based foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans. There are two main types of fiber called soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps control blood sugar and reduce cholesterol. Insoluble fiber helps prevent constipation and keep us regular.
Examples of soluble fiber foods: Whole grain oats, barley, black beans, sweet potatoes, lentils, berries, apples
Examples of insoluble fiber foods: whole grain breads, wheat bran, corn, Brussel sprouts, collard greens, kale, apples, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans
At Nourish, our menus naturally contain healthy fiber from fresh whole-foods sources. Our meals are created to be both balanced and delicious, and will help keep your gut happy!