Fiber…It’s one of those buzzwords we always hear, but often don’t really think about day to day. What is fiber actually, and how much do we need to consume?
Fiber is what your nutritionist might refer to as roughage. It’s a nutrient (technically a carbohydrate) that adds bulk to your food and can’t be broken down much by your digestive system (unlike other carbs, which break down into sugars), so it passes right through you. Why is that important? Well, besides the fact that it won’t turn into extra pounds on your body, it also aids in the feeling of fullness, staying regular (if you catch our drift), and helps regulate blood sugar levels (preventing the horrible spikes and crashes in between meals)! Research shows that the average adult should aim to consume about 25 to 38 grams a fiber a day for optimal health.
While most of us associate fiber with digestive health, the nutrient has been shown to have additional benefits. Namely: hair, skin, and nails. That’s right--fiber is an important component in your overall hair, skin, and nail appearance because it acts as a mechanism that facilitates the absorption of other vitamins and minerals that help them. These include collagen, lutein, lycopene, and vitamin C. Talk about a team effort!
What are some other great effects that come from increased fiber intake? To name a few: improved heart health, lowered bad cholesterol, diabetes management, and even the potential reduction in cancer risk, according to Livestrong. Fiber is one simple but important component in the overall picture of wellness.
Some dieticians promote a fiber-rich diet that allows you to consume more carbs than you normally would, as long as you have the fiber to match it. This way, the fiber helps offset your carbohydrate intake, making your body work harder to push out what it doesn’t and store just what it needs. Whether or not you follow a strict regimen, remember to increase your fiber intake gradually (and drink a lot of water!) to avoid bloat or other side effects from a sudden change in your nutritional balance.
Whether you’re on a specific high-fiber diet or not, our bodies need fiber. If you’re anything like me, you have negative associations with it. Dull-tasting, flavorless crackers; an overload of salad greens; and bloat-inducing, artificial powders. But never fear: There’s a new form of fiber in town, and it goes by the name of ROYO bread. All flavors of ROYO are crafted with a base of fiber-rich flax seeds and contain a whopping 4 grams of fiber per slice!
By comparison, a standard white bread contains zero grams of fiber! Add on some of your favorite winter veggies, bean spreads, and other fiber-rich toppings and you’ve got yourself a fiber festival for any meal of the day.