High-fiber foods aid digestion and keep Boomers healthy

Most scientists and nutritionists agree we need high-fiber foods in our diets. But they don’t all agree on why or how much.

Recommendations for the amount needed range from 21 grams a day to 50 – a large gap. 

Claims for the benefits of foods high in fiber run the gamut from helping maintain bowel health, controlling blood sugar levels to losing weight. And include plenty in-between claims.

The one thing everyone does agree on is that high-fiber foods are important for our guts. Fiber, acting as prebiotics, feed the bacteria that are so important in the probiotics of our intestines. It's an important aspect of nutrition for Baby Boomers.

What is fiber?

Fiber, also called roughage in some circles, is the part of plant food that our bodies can not digest or absorb. At first glance, that may occur as a big waste. 

Why eat food that our bodies can’t use? That doesn’t make any sense. We eat for the fuel our systems need to operate every day.

We obviously need more than just the fuel. Our bodies need help pushing material through the stomach, intestines and out of our body. That’s where fiber comes in handy.

It makes that process easier and helps keep constipation at bay.

There are two types of fiber: 

  • Soluble dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance that reportedly helps lower blood cholesterol and sugar. 
  • Insoluble does not dissolve, so increases the size of stools and softens them.

Studies have shown that high-fiber foods also help reduce blood pressure and inflammation. People who eat plenty of fiber have been found to have better chances of living a long and healthy life.

They are also less likely to have diabetes, dementia or issues with depression.

Fiber helps with weight loss by leaving people feeling fuller for longer times after consumption – helping control hunger.

Best sources of high-fiber foods

Fiber comes from many of the foods we eat. Some are better than others. 

While fiber supplements are available, it’s best to get your fiber from your diet. And it’s easier than you might think.

The most highly recommended by nutritionists include the following:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Beans
  • Avocados
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries 
  • Cherries
  • Oranges
  • Carrots
  • Whole grains
  • Leafy greens
  • Root vegetables
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Radishes

Experts also recommend getting the majority of your fiber form vegetables, nuts and seeds rather than whole grains. 

Since fiber works best when it absorbs water, always drink plenty of it, particularly when eating fiber.

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