For most of us when we hear ‘fiber’, we hear ‘boring’. But, today, I’m going to change your mind! We hear the word ‘fiber’ thrown around a lot to make things sound healthy, but do you actually know what it is and what it does? At Muesli Master, our aim is to make everyone healthier, so this week we’re taking an in-depth look at why fiber is so important in our diets. Read on to find out what fiber is, why we need it and how you can get more in your diet (in delicious ways)!
What is fiber?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body doesn’t digest. Weird right? How can something we don’t even digest be healthy? Well, on its way through the body it does some pretty great stuff.
There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble – which do slightly different things.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water, which makes it more bioavailable to your gut’s good bacteria. Soluble fibers are thought to help lower glucose levels and blood sugar levels. Also, when it dissolves it creates a gel-like substance, which slows digestion, meaning nutrients are broken down more efficiently and you’re kept feeling full (stopping you snacking!).
Insoluble fiber, as you’ve probably guessed, doesn’t dissolve in water. But it still has a really important function, as it helps move food through your digestive system (preventing constipation!).
Both types of fiber are found in whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables, and nuts.
Why do we need fiber?
1. Gut Health
Most foods are digested and absorbed into our bloodstream before they even reach our large intestine. This means the bacteria in the large intestine doesn’t getting much help to do its job. But, because fiber isn’t digested, it makes it all the way to the large intestine, where some of it can be broken down. So, high fiber diets promote the growth of good bacteria.
2. Appetite Control
Foods high in soluble fibers make you feel fuller, as they slow digestion. The gel-like substances they create slows down the absorption of foods, meaning you get your nutrients more efficiently over time. This prevents you from overeating and keeps you feeling full, which makes you less likely to snack. This makes fiber great for maintaining and losing weight!
3. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
High fiber foods can prevent spikes in blood sugar levels after you eat. This works in the same way as it controls your appetite. By slowing the digestion of foods, fiber makes sure energy is released more slowly. This prevents your blood sugar levels reaching dangerous levels.
4. Reduces Constipation
This one will probably be the most noticeable benefit to your day to day life. By helping to keep your gut healthy, fiber prevents constipation. It does this by keeping your food moving and helping out the good bacteria, maintaining your body’s regular rhythms.
Where do we find fiber?
Whole grain foods are some of the best sources of fiber – especially soluble fibers. They’re also found in fruits, vegetables and nuts.
The best way to get more fiber into your diet is to choose whole grain options whenever possible and eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables. Variety is key, so make sure you have a rainbow of fruits and vegetables on your plate.
The easiest way I’ve found to pack extra fiber into your diet is to have a bowl of muesli for breakfast. I top it with my favourite rainbow-coloured fruits so I have a delicious and nutritious start to my day. It’ll stop you snacking before lunchtime as well!
Get more fiber into your diet…
So now that you know why it’s important and where to find it, try fitting more fiber into your diet!
If you’re struggling for ideas, check out some of our previous blog posts for some (actually) delicious ways to eat oats, which will pack loads of fiber into your diet in really easy and convenient ways!
We’d love to know how you pack fiber into your diet! Share your favourite way to make fiber delicious on our Facebook or Instagram pages!