This past weekend I picked up a fitness magazine and was surprised to find that almost every article related to fat loss/hunger emphasized the importance of incorporating fiber into your diet. Fiber provides many health benefits that I didn’t know about–lowering risk of heart disease, suppressing hunger, and aiding digestion. Also, most high-fiber foods contain vital nutrients and vitamins. Read below to find out what fiber is, how much you should consume daily, and what foods are high in fiber!

What is fiber?

Fiber is basically the bulk of certain vegetables, grains, fruits, and lentils that is unable to be absorbed or digested in our systems. Because it isn’t digested by the body and can easily pass through our systems, it plays a very different role from protein, fats, carbs, etc.

There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber transforms into a gel-like substance in water and is what decreases your risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol and stabilizing glucose levels. Because of soluble fiber’s texture, it moves slower through the digestive system, and as a result, keeps you fuller for a longer period of time.

Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, is mostly found in grains and vegetables and remain fully intact during digestion. It speeds up the digestion process with its bulky texture and can have a laxative effect on the body.

High fiber foods:

Foods high in soluble fiber- oats, nuts, grains, oranges, apples, beans, peas, flax/chia seeds.

Foods high in insoluble fiber- vegetables (especially dark green veggies), fruit skins, nuts, seeds, and wheat.

If you aren’t already abiding by a high fiber diet and decide to adjust, it’s recommended to increase your fiber intake slowly. Switching from a low to high fiber diet can cause bloating or bowel discomfort, so it’s important to listen to your body when ingesting high fiber foods. The recommended daily dose for women is 20-25g depending on your level of physical activity!