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The Multiple Benefits of Fiber (Hopefully You Will Find This “Moving”)

 

It is well known that adequate fiber keeps you “moving” and feeling satiated. In addition, dietary fiber can also reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes and has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. What you might not know, is that there is also evidence of a relationship between high fiber carbohydrates and healthy aging, as defined by an absence of disability, cognitive impairment, depressive symptoms, respiratory symptoms, and chronic diseases, including cancer, coronary artery disease, and stroke.

A recent study by Gopinath et al. explored the relationship between carbohydrate intake and healthy aging. The study found that those who had the highest intake of fiber had an almost 80 percent greater likelihood of living a long and healthy life over a 10-year follow-up, i.e. There was a less likelihood of suffering from hypertension, diabetes, dementia, depression, and functional disability.

Fiber 101

Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, legumes and grains. It is part of the cellular wall of these foods.

The Difference Between Soluble Fiber & Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber provides bulk in the intestines, where it also helps to balance the pH levels. It promotes regular bowel movements, and helps to prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water, and doesn’t ferment with bacteria in the colon. It is believed to help prevent diverticulosis and hemorrhoids, as well as flush out carcinogens and toxins.

Sources of Insoluble Fiber: Nuts, seeds, potatoes, fruit with skin, and green vegetables.

 

Soluble fiber is similar, however it creates a gel and  binds with fatty acids. Soluble fiber prolongs stomach emptying to allow for better absorption of nutrients. It also helps to lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels.

Sources of Soluble Fiber:  beans, legumes, oats, barley, berries, and some vegetables. Soluble fiber ferments in the stomach, and can lead to bloating and gas. Make sure to drink enough water when consuming these foods.

 

High Fiber Foods You Can Add To Your Diet

(Approximate Values of Fiber)

Fruits

Avocados-  10.5 grams per cup (sliced)

Asian Pears- 9.9 grams of fiber per medium fruit, skin on.

Raspberry– 8 grams of fiber per cup

Coconut- 7.2 grams per cup

Figs- 14.6 grams of fiber in 1 cup dried figs

 

Vegetables

Artichokes- 10.3 grams of fiber per medium artichoke

Peas- 8.6 grams per cooked cup

Okra- 8.2 grams per cup

Acorn Squash- 9 grams of fiber per cup (baked)

Brussels Sprouts- 7.6 grams of fiber per cup

Turnips- 4.8 grams of fiber per ½ cup

 

Beans and Legumes

Black Beans- 12.2 grams of fiber per cup

Chickpeas- 8 grams of fiber per cup

Lima Beans- 13.2 grams of fiber per cup (cooked)

Split Peas- 16.3 grams of fiber per cup (cooked)

Lentils- 10.4 grams of fiber per cup (cooked)

 

Nuts/Grains/Seeds

Almonds- 0.6 grams of fiber per 6 almonds

Flax Seeds- 3 grams of fiber per tablespoon of whole flax seeds

Chia Seeds- 5.5 grams of fiber per tablespoon

Quinoa– 5 grams of fiber per 1 cup cooked

Oats-  17 g of fiber per 1 cup

 

Are You Getting Enough Fiber?

References

Bamini Gopinath et al. Association Between Carbohydrate Nutrition and Successful Aging Over 10 Years. The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, May 2016 DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glw091

 

About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin

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