Fiber – Are You Eating The Right Types?
Not all fiber is created equally; however, many people are unaware of this fact. By eating whole wheat toast or a bowl of cereal in the morning, many of my patients believe that they are getting the right kind of fiber for their diet. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
There are different types of fiber-some natural to your diet, and some unnatural. Surprisingly, the fiber one gets from consuming grain products is unnatural to your diet. In fact, research has indicated that the fiber from grains found in many breakfast cereals could be increasing your risk of getting diabetes. The following information will provide you with the insight needed to maintain a healthy diet, rich with natural sources of fiber…
Types of Fiber
All fibers can be grouped into two different categories: “soluble” and “insoluble.” Soluble fiber binds with fatty acids in your body. Because of this it stays in your stomach for a longer period of time, allowing sugar to be released and absorbed more slowly. Moreover, soluble fiber helps lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, helps move bulk through your intestines. In doing so, insoluble fiber helps you stay “regular” and helps prevent constipation. Furthermore, it helps to move toxins through your colon more quickly.
According to Dr. Al Sears MD, “the quality of fiber started going down around the time our native ancestors began harvesting cereal grains.” Grain products have only been around for a few thousand years, and are not our original source of fiber. The mainstream medical approach is largely misguided- instead of eating a lot of cereal or taking grain-based laxative products we should be consuming fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. Sears states, “Nature has given us all of the natural fiber we’ll ever need.” Instead of reaching for that box of cereal opt for one of the following:
Vegetables: Vegetables should be our number one source of fiber. To ensure that this is the case, be sure to eat vegetable skins and edible seeds. Vegetables with the most sources of fiber include broccoli, spinach, squash, cabbage, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts. Be sure to eat them along with high-quality protein at every meal!
Nuts: Eating just a handful of nuts a day, will provide you with loads of fiber! Almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, and Brazil nuts all contain high amounts of fiber.
Fruit: When eating fruit, leave skin on if you can. Like vegetable skin, fruit skin is very high in fiber. Berries, pears, apples, mangos, and oranges are all high-fiber foods. Yum!
Legumes: Green beans are one of the best sources of fiber. Eat them raw, or cooked for a snack packed with fiber!
Remember, it’s important to drink plenty of water if you want to get the most benefit from your dietary fiber. Also, try to eat fiber-rich foods periodically throughout the day-eating it all at once may lower its benefits.