How Does Fiber Aid Digestion?
Are you looking for an easy way to support your digestion and overall health? Incorporating more fiber into your diet could be the key.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and legumes. It's an essential nutrient for proper digestion and can offer a wide range of health benefits.
Read on to learn more about how fiber can help aid digestion and more.
What Is Fiber?
Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that's often referred to as "roughage" because it can help clean out the digestive tract and support the health of your intestines. Unlike other carbohydrates, it can't be broken down by our bodies, so it passes through our system mostly intact.
This means that it can help keep the digestive system running smoothly by helping to bulk up stool and move it through the intestines.
Having a healthy digestive system is essential for overall well-being. Proper digestion can help ensure that our bodies are getting the nutrients they need to function properly. It can also help flush out toxins.
Poor digestion can lead to a variety of digestive issues, such as:
Fortunately, incorporating more fiber into your diet can help to alleviate these symptoms and even provide additional health benefits. So, let's take a look at the different types of fiber and how they can help with digestion!
What Are the Types of Fiber?
There are two main types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and can help slow down digestion, which can help you feel fuller for longer. It also can also help support healthy blood sugar levels and support healthy cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, doesn't dissolve in water and can help bulk up stool, which is important for proper digestion.
In addition to these two main types, there is also a third type of fiber known as resistant starch (aka prebiotic fiber). This type of fiber can be found in certain cooked and cooled starches, such as potatoes and grains. It isn’t broken down in the small intestine, so it can help feed the beneficial bacteria in the large intestine.
What Are the Benefits of Fiber for Digestion?
It goes without saying that fiber is one of the most important elements in a healthy diet — and it's not just good at keeping us regular. Did you know that fiber can also help soothe digestive problems? That's right — fiber can act like a broom to sweep through our intestines and help keep things moving along smoothly.
But how exactly can fiber helpdigestion? As we touched on previously, fiber is not digested by the body, so it passes through our intestines undigested. This can help to keep things moving and minimize unpleasant symptoms like constipation. Fiber can also absorb water as it passes through our digestive tract, which can help to make stools softer and easier to pass.
Fiber is also beneficial because it can function as a prebiotic, meaning that it can encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in our gut. These healthy bacteria can play an important role in keeping us healthy, so adding more fiber to your diet can be an easy way to look after your gastrointestinal health.
Aside from that, the fiber found in plant foods can also help promote healthy blood glucose levels, healthy blood cholesterol levels, and even weight loss in some cases.
Just make sure not to add too much fiber — eating a high-fiber diet can actually have negative side effects on your digestive health if you’re consuming an excessive amount of fiber.
How Can You Incorporate More Fiber Into Your Diet?
It's easy to increase your dietary fiber intake. Here are a few tips to help you get enough fiber.
1. Embrace the Ancient Grains
Quinoa, bulgur wheat, and amaranth are all fantastic sources of fiber with an added bonus — they're delicious! Try adding a handful of these grains to your salads or soups for a tasty crunch and an extra dose of fiber.
Some fiber-rich foods in this category include:
- Whole wheat bread
- Wheat bran
- Psyllium husk
- Brown rice
- Oat bran
2. Go Nuts
Nuts are not only a great snack — they’re also great sources of fiber that can help support your good gut bacteria.
Good sources of fiber in this category include:
Whether you like these or any other kind of nut, each one is a great source of fiber. Add them to oatmeal or yogurt to make your tasty snack even more filling. Plus, nuts are also full of healthy fats that can keep you feeling satisfied!
3. Pass the Peel
Most fruits have edible skins that are great sources of fiber. So, don’t be too quick to peel them off.
When making applesauce or apple pie, try leaving that skin on for some extra nutrition. The same goes for potatoes — leave the skins intact, and you’ll generally get more dietary fiber than peeled potatoes.
4. Add More Legumes
Beans, peas, and lentils are all fantastic high-fiber foods. Try adding a can of beans to your favorite soup or chili recipe to make it even heartier (and support your bowel movements).
5. Try Adding Flaxseed
Adding a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to your smoothie won’t add much flavor, but it can add a whopping three grams of fiber. Flaxseed is also full of omega-3 fatty acids, so it’s a great addition to any meal.
6. Get Creative With Veggies
If you're growing tired of the same old salads and steamed veggies, try something new, like roasted Brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar and olive oil or grilled asparagus with lemon juice. Or, make a delicious artichoke pesto sauce for your favorite salad.
Trying out new recipes can help eating fiber be more exciting — plus, you might just find a new hobby in the kitchen!
7. Say YES to Natural Desserts
Dried fruits like apricots, figs, raisins, and dates are generally packed with fiber —so don't forget to add them to your roster of sweet treats.
They make also delicious toppings for snacks like:
- Ice cream
8. Try Sparkle Fiber
Need a little help in the fiber department? Consider a fiber supplement like Sparkle Fiber. This delicious veggie-based fiber blend can help support normal detoxification for digestion, and overall health — and as an added bonus, it also helps to improve energy and clears skin from within.*
Just make sure to pay attention to how much fiber you’re eating. If you’re having a hard time getting enough fiber, you may want to talk with a professional dietitian to put together a meal plan.
You should also consult your primary healthcare provider about your digestive discomfort to rule out any other possible causes.
The Bottom Line
Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet. Not only can it help to keep you regular, but it can also encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut.
There are lots of ways to incorporate more fiber into your diet, from choosing whole grains to taking Sparkle Fiber. So go ahead and add some fiber into your day — your digestive system will thank you for it!
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