If you're looking to lose weight or get healthier, dietary fiber is certainly one way to get there. Commonly referred to as roughage, dietary fiber is considered an indigestible carbohydrate. While that doesn't seem like it would be good for the body, it certainly is.
There are essentially two types of dietary fiber. The first is insoluble fiber. This type is needed to clean out the colon and regulate bowel movements. It absorbs water and gives you the feeling of being full. Insoluble fiber also works its way through your digestive system to remove waste, toxins and materials that your body doesn't need. The other is soluble fiber, which comes from foods like brown rice, fruit, some vegetables, bran and oats. This fiber mixes with water and digestive enzymes created by the liver to make a gel that reduces the body's absorption of harmful substances.
There are many health benefits that come along with incorporating both type of fiber into your daily diet. Here are a few:
Lower cholesterol: Don't skip your breakfast of oatmeal. Soluble fiber is found in oat bran, which may help to lower your bad cholesterol levels. Top your morning bowl of oatmeal with fruit for added flavor and antioxidants.
Improves digestive health: A diet that is high in fiber helps to promote digestive health by getting rid of unwanted substances.
Boosts heart health: Fiber may significantly reduce an individual's risk for poor heart health.
Better skin: Certain types of fiber get rid of toxins that would otherwise be excreted through your skin and cause unwanted blemishes.
Getting fiber into your diet is easy with the right foods. Here are some food items to incorporate into your diet for improved health:
This includes food like corn, rice, oats and wheat. Bran is very high in fiber and is a great source of both magnesium and vitamin B6. Getting more bran into your diet is as simple as switching to whole wheat bread, having a bowl of oatmeal at breakfast or opting for a bit of brown rice with dinner. Whole wheat pasta is also a very easy switch to make in your diet for more fiber. It's the really small changes that often make the biggest difference.
That's right, chocolate can be good for you – but in moderation, of course. Cocoa powder provides about 33.2 grams of fiber per 100-gram serving.
Whether they're white, black, kidney or garbanzo beans, you'll be getting an ample amount of fiber when you eat them. Not only are they rich in fiber, they're also packed with protein, iron and potassium.
This creamy green food has about 2 grams of fiber in just a two-tablespoon serving. If you want to chow down on the whole thing, you'll be getting about 10 grams. They're also filled with good, mono and polyunsaturated fats, which can help lower cholesterol and decrease your risk for poor heart health.
Don't cut the skin off of this fresh and delicious fruit. Pears with the skin left on are among the most nutritious and fiber-rich fruits. Eat a pear plain or mix one into a salad for a sweet burst of flavor.