Fiber is an essential ingredient in a healthy diet and lifestyle. It can be used to help maintain a healthy body weight, aid digestion, and lower your risk of diabetes as well as heart disease. There are two forms of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber (i.e. oats, beans, carrots and citrus fruit) becomes a gel-like substance when combined with water; it slows digestion and can help lower cholesterol. Insoluble fiber (i.e. wheat bran, nuts, cauliflower and potatoes) helps the movement of food through the digestive system; it adds bulk to stool and benefits those with constipation. Eating more fiber is also linked to decreased risk of first-time stroke. Every 7 g increase in daily fiber consumption is associated with a 7% lower right for first-time stroke. The average American consumes 10-15 g per day; however the current recommendation for adults is 20-35 g per day. A fiber rich diet can help in achieving a healthy weight in 3 ways:
- Foods higher in fiber generally require more time to chew. Slowing down while eating helps individuals to recognize signs of satiety, decreasing your likelihood of overindulging.
- The bulk that fiber adds to your meal can leave you feeling full longer. It takes longer to digest and is more filling, making it less likely that you will be hungry again soon.
- High-fiber foods tend to be lower in calories. As a result you get a filling meal that will keep you full and not pack on too many calories.
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