Fibrous Foods for the Soul
Fiber is an underrated part of the food pyramid. The media focuses heavily on the benefits of low sugar, low carbohydrate diets, and while these may be beneficial, they do not contribute to our gut flora and health. One of the most important parts of our fiber intake is its contribution to our bowel movements, which is not a popular dinner topic. Nonetheless, we will be talking about the benefits of fiber and some nutritious foods that contain the most fiber dense properties!
According to the Mayo Clinic, here are the Top 4 Benefits of Fiber:
1. Normalizes bowel movements and health. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon. Researchers are looking at how this may play a role in preventing diseases of the colon.
2. Lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or "bad," cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that high-fiber foods may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
3. Helps control blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, fiber — particularly soluble fiber — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
4. Aids in achieving healthy weight. High-fiber foods tend to be more filling than low-fiber foods, so you're likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer. And high-fiber foods tend to take longer to eat and to be less "energy dense," which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
Here are some fibrous foods that can help increase the benefits in our bodies!
Raspberries- 1 cup of raspberries yields about 8 grams of fiber.
Chickpeas- 1 cup of chickpeas holds a whopping 35 grams of fiber!
Pears- An average pear has about 6 grams of fiber.
Barley- Hulled barley contains about 32 grams of fiber in a single cup!
Avocado- A california favorite, a full avocado contains about 13 grams of fiber.
Blackberries- 1 cup of blackberries contains about 8 grams of fiber.
Peanuts- A popular legume, peanuts hold 12 grams of fiber in a one cup serving.
Artichoke- Artichoke has 10 grams of fiber, and the artichoke heart has 7 grams of fiber.
If your digestive system has been acting up, try incorporating these foods into your next meal. You will feel so much better and relieved!