Fiber is the indigestible part of a carbohydrate that packs a powerful punch for weight management and your health, helping lower cholesterol, manage blood sugar levels, remove toxins from your body, and keep you regular.
How it works:
- It adds bulk to foods without adding calories, so high-fiber foods fill you up without filling you out.
- It slows digestion and steadies blood sugar, which curbs sugar cravings and sustains energy.
- It boosts metabolism, because the body can’t digest fiber, but it attempts to, burning calories in the process.
- It swells in the stomach, absorbing calories and fat from other foods in a meal before the body can absorb them.
- It satisfies hunger because it requires more chewing, which prompts the secretion of saliva in the mouth and gastric juices in the stomach that signal to the brain that you are full.
Why you need it:
More Energy. Eating fiber and protein together keeps blood glucose levels steady, providing your body with sustained energy throughout the day.
Clearer Skin. Fiber soaks up toxins in the blood and eliminates them through the digestive tract instead of your pores, so you have brighter, clearer skin. Plus, many fiber-rich fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that help fight the signs of aging.
A Healthier Gut. Fiber is a prebiotic that plays a fundamental role in gut health. It is important for battling inflammation and lowering overall disease risk, including chances of colon cancer.
Improved Sleep. Eating refined carbs late in the day causes blood sugar to peak and then crash while you’re asleep, which is why some people wake in the middle of the night. Eating foods rich in fiber helps steady blood sugar, which in turn promotes better rest.
No More Constipation. Many women wish they could poop more. Eating a high-fiber diet increases stool bulk and helps you have more complete and regular bowel movements, preventing constipation, relieving bloating, and possibly offering relief from irritable bowel syndrome.
A Longer Life. A groundbreaking study of nearly 400,000 people over a 10-year period, conducted by the National Institutes of Health, found that those who ate fiber-rich diets lived longest. Fiber is credited with lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing the risk of death from cardiovascular disease; reducing the occurrence of infectious and respiratory diseases; and helping prevent some forms of cancer, including breast cancer.
According to Dr. Michael Greger, who wrote one of our favorite nutrition books, How Not to Die, and oversees the website nutritionfacts.org, 97 percent of Americans don’t get enough fiber each day. Don’t let that be you. Good sources of fiber are beans and peas, whole grains, berries, dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes.