Posted on January 13, 2014 in Blog
GreenSurge is about providing natural nutrient rich food options to our customers. That is essential when you’re staying active. You’ll perform better; you’ll feel great and your body will respond positively to your exercise program. Our friends at STUDIOMIX have contributed this great post detailing the many benefits of fiber.
There’s a specific key component that should be part of every meal. Lucky for us, nature has already skillfully pre-packaged it in a cornucopia of vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. The magic ingredient? Fiber.
What is fiber & why is it good for us?
Dietary fiber is the part of plant foods that can’t be digested. (For a quick list of fiber-rich foods see “Fiber foods” below.) If we don’t eat enough fiber, toxins such as preservatives, pesticides, artificial flavors/colors, etc. become more concentrated in our bodies, which in turn can lead to all sorts of inflammatory diseases including an increase in fat storage.
Your digestive system handles all carbs in the same way- by breaking them down into single sugar molecules so they are small enough to absorb into the bloodstream. Fiber is an exception because it can’t be broken down into sugar molecules and as a result passes through the body undigested. You do need adequate fiber in your diet, and its non-digestible quality doesn’t pose a problem for your body. It’s actually beneficial due to the fact that fiber forms a tight bond with bile in our intestines, soaking up harmful toxins, cholesterol and fat on its way out. Think of it as a cleansing workout for your digestive tract since fiber cannot be absorbed by the intestinal wall.
Foods that are naturally high in fiber are precisely the foods that are high in phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. But there’s a bonus! Fiber-rich diets also support weight loss and decrease the accumulation of undesirable visceral fat (that spare tire around your midsection). They tend to be lower-glycemic foods too- the kind that naturally support steady energy and good weight management. Great news for your push-ups & pull-ups! When we weigh less, it’s much easier to get moving, lifting, bounding, leaping, inverting and playing when working out. Your strength will seem multiplied when you have less body weight, making the classes you attend at Studiomix even more fun.
Keeping immunity strong this winter
Dietary fiber also plays a vital role in improving the effectiveness of our digestive system, which contains more than half the body’s immune system. Fiber from your leafy greens travel through the upper digestive tract and enter the large intestine, or colon, to serve as fuel for the friendly bacteria living there. These “prebiotic” fibers help friendly bacteria, known as “probiotics” grow and triumph over bad bugs in the colon. Fiber feeds good bacteria, so a lack of fiber actually kills the good bacteria in your gut.
Given fiber’s multiple benefits, it’s clear that many of us practice misguided nutritional math- counting quantity (calories) of our food rather than quality (the nutrient density). Instead of trying to adjust calorie intake for improved health, fat loss and/or muscle gain, concentrate on adding vitamin, mineral and fiber rich foods to each meal.
The best part? You can see and feel the results from eating more fiber almost immediately, possibly even the same day! You’ll notice more sustained energy, less moodiness and feel satisfied from a balanced meal longer.
Eat your veggies
Your mom has always told you what science has known for decades: “You gotta eat your vegetables.” Fiber-rich foods like vegetables are good for us, and many experts have observed that as people in other cultures have given up their traditional diets and adopted Western eating habits (dominated by processed foods much lower in fiber and higher in sugar), they’ve become susceptible to weight gain and a host of illnesses.
In addition, a whirlwind of recent studies have shown that fiber-rich foods enhance health in our bodies by regulating blood-sugar levels, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, a multitude of cancers and gastrointestinal disorders such as reflux, duodenal ulcer, irritable bowel and diverticulitis (inflammation of abnormal pouches in the wall of the large intestine or colon), and more. The evidence to eat your veggies is pretty compelling.
Real, whole foods are your best source for dietary fiber. Look for these foods below to get your fiber fix, and aim for 6-10 servings a day from a variety sources:
• dried beans
• oat bran
• rice bran
• most vegetables (including leafy greens, cabbage, beets, carrots, brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower)
• most fruits (including citrus fruits, strawberries, blueberries, pears, apple pulp and apple skin)
• whole grains (including wheat, rye, rice, barley and most other grains)
• wheat bran
Title: The Magic of Fiber
Author: Katy Jercich, Head Health Coach at Studiomix & Holistic Nutritionist
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