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Fiber exists in plants; it can make up the structure of leaves, stems, seeds, roots, and the coverings of fruits. There is a variety of fiber based on physical and chemical characteristics and the role they play in the body.
There are health implications to eating more fiber. There has been research that links the intake of whole grains and beans with a lower incidence of obesity, insulin resistance, systematic inflammation, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, health disease, certain cancers and IBS. Fiber can be lost as foods are processed, more refinement will always equal less fiber.
The average American diet has about 10 to 15 grams of fiber a day; whereas the fiber content of some in parts of Africa and India can be 40 -150 grams per day. This may be the reason Americans have the highest rates of colon cancer in the World and Africa the lowest!
Fiber gives bulk to food. Fiber can act as a scraping agent against the intestinal wall. The scraping action can then remove chemicals and toxins. Fiber can also shorten the transit time to pass through the digestive tract which is one more major health benefit.
Water-soluble fiber is found in rolled oats, oat bran, oat flour, legumes, barley, brown rice, peas, carrots, and various fruits.
Water-insoluble fibers are found in foods that contain whole wheat, cabbage, beets, cauliflower, turnips, and apple skins. Make a mental note to convince all of your Personal Training Clients to eat the skins of their fruits and vegetables whenever they possibly can! Many nutrients are in or directly below the skin.
Dietary fiber consists of non- digestible carbohydrates and lignin that are part of the plant and keep it intact. Examples: the cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin found in wheat bran.
Functional fiber consists of isolated, manufactured, non- digestible oligosaccharides with three or more degrees of polymerization found in plant and animal products that play a vital role on physiological functions such as blood glucose and cholesterol.
Total fiber: The sum of dietary fiber and functional fiber.
To learn more about the foods and drinks that can help you live a longer, healthier and happier life, please consider expanding your Personal Training Scope of Practice and learn more about nutrition through the many IFPA Courses we offer in Nutrition!