Fiber is the little nutrient that is not digested by your body and won’t build you muscle, but it’s very important for your health.Fiber can help people get leaner, increase metabolism, help with proteins absorption, and improve overall health. It acts by changing the nature of the contents of the gastrointestinal tract, and by changing how other nutrients and chemicals are absorbed.
Dietary fiber includes all parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb. Unlike other food components such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fiber isn’t digested by your body. Therefore, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine, colon and out of your body. It might seem like fiber doesn’t do much, but it has several important roles in maintaining health.
There are two types of Fiber:
Insoluble fiber cannot dissolve in water. It binds to water and distends in the intestinal tract. It cleanses the colon, which alleviates constipation.
This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, and barley. Soluble fiber fills you up and keeps you fuller longer, providing that sensation of fullness we call satiety.
Soluble fiber can slow the absorption of sugar, which can help improve blood sugar levels and help you control insulin spikes. A diet that includes insoluble fiber has been associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Because it’s indigestible, fiber pushes the body’s metabolism to work the whole time, trying to break it down as it passes through the body. Increased metabolism eventually means increased fat loss.
Fiber also slows the digestion of protein, allowing the body to absorb all the protein consumed from big meals, making it available over an extended time period. This makes fiber optimal for maintaining a lean physique and building muscle.
You can get more fiber in your diet by eating fiber-rich foods such as oats, fruits, veggies, and, perhaps most importantly, legumes. Most adult women should aim for over 20 grams of fiber a day while men should consume more than 30 grams.