What is fiber? How does it work inside the body?
Fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods that helps our body to keep food moving through it. Practically, it passes through your intestines quickly and remains pretty much unchanged. Anyway, we can distinguish two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble, and our body needs both. Most of the plant- based food contains a mixture of the two but in different amounts.
- Soluble fiber dissolves in water and digestive enzymes from the liver and turns into gel in the stomach that helps avoid constipation. This gel slows down digestion and reduces the absorption of substances that may be harmful. It is soluble fiber that helps maintain stable blood sugar levels and reduces cholesterol.
- Insoluble fiber remains relatively unchanged on the way to the colon and increases the movement of material through the digestive tract. It takes time to digest the food rich with insoluble fiber, so you will feel full for a longer period and more in control of your appetite and weight. This fiber moves though the digestive tract and removes toxins and materials that your body doesn’t need.
Fiber is essential to maintain a healthy digestive tract. And having a healthy digestive tract is crucial to overall well-being. Although fiber does come from the category of carbohydrates, compared to the others, has less calories. Fiber is only found in plant-based foods and that is why good rich- in fiber- diet is also rich in vitamins and minerals and low in calories and fats.
How many grams of fiber should I eat a day?
An average healthy male under 50 years should eat about 38 grams of fiber a day. For woman, the figure is 25 grams.
It is also very important to eat different types of high fiber foods in order to obtain the greatest health benefit. Try to mix them and you will decrease your risk for many chronic diseases.
TIP: If you don’t currently eat enough fiber, try to gradually increase your fiber intake to avoid bloating and discomfort. Make sure to drink water when you are increasing it.