Everywhere you look or hear you find that the latest big idea is getting in more fiber. Fiber can help people get leaner, increase metabolism, absorb proteins better, and improve overall health. If more people focused on fiber, overall health in North America would improve dramatically.
OK, so why exactly is the health and fitness world so high on fiber? Well, first of all lets discuss what fiber is all about. Fiber is indigestible nutrient. There are two main types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber cannot dissolve in water. It binds to water and distends in the intestinal tract, and cleanses the colon, which alleviates constipation. Soluble fiber is the kind of fiber which dissolves in water and absorbs water. Once you eat it, the body turns it into a kind of thick, viscous gel, which moves very slowly through your body. This is a good thing as soluble fiber fills you up and keep you fuller longer, providing that sensation of fullness we call satiety.
In addition to these benefits, soluble fiber also slows the absorption of glucose (sugar) into the body. This means you are going to avoid those nasty sugar highs and lows. Last but not least, fiber inhibits the re-absorption of bile into the system. Bile is a fat emulsifier and therefore if you inhibit bile re-absorption, your liver needs to get its cholesterol fix from your blood. This means lower blood-serum cholesterol levels.
Fiber also slows the digestion of protein, allowing the body to absorb all the protein ingested in meals and making it available over an extended time period, all while stabilizing insulin . That makes fiber optimal for maintaining a lean physique and building muscle.
Fiber also plays a part in increasing metabolism. Because fiber is completely indigestible, that maintains the body’s metabolism working the whole time, trying to break it down, as it passes through the body.
With its ability to lower blood sugar, decrease blood cholesterol, increase satiety, and improve colon health, help absorbing proteins better, increasing metabolism, the important question is not “Got Milk?” The important question is “Got Fiber”?
Getting More Fiber In The Diet
How can you get more fiber in your diet? Well, eating fiber-rich foods such as oats, fruits, veggies, and, perhaps most importantly, legumes. And I say legumes are the most important because they offer the most fiber per calorie when compared to other foods and they also contribute to your calcium intake!
A few examples of the vegetables, legumes, and grains that not only provide you with fiber but are also high sources of vitamins and minerals, such as, calcium are: kale, broccoli, bok choy, beans, soybeans (very high), sweet potato, spinach, and tofu.
There are stores in the Denver area that carry fiber-rich foods.