It seems over the past few years public awareness of fiber and its benefits to a healthful diet and body has skyrocketed; countless commercial products, from FiberOne Bars to Activia, have familiarized American’s with fiber’s regulatory benefits. But I wanted to delve deeper into fiber, past the silly Jamie Lee Curtis commercials, and get us better acquainted with the indigestible, non-caloric carbohydrate we have all come to know and perhaps love.
Dietary fiber is either classified as soluble or insoluble. Soluble Fiber aids in lowering blood cholesterol, reducing the risk for heart disease an diabetes, and slowing the transit of food through the upper gastrointestinal tract, making you feel satiated. Insoluble Fiber speeds up regulation, relieving constipation, and provides the bulk that gives you that feeling of fullness. You get all of these benefits for practically no calories; the human body can not digest fiber, we’re lacking the enzymes, and so it goes right through our GI tract without giving us any caloric energy but still making us feel full. Try and aim for 20-35g of fiber/ day and make sure to drink plenty of water!
Plant Based Fiber Sources Include:
Barley, Oats, Rye
Fruits [apples with skin, citrus, etc.]
Vegetables [sweet potatoes with skin, spinach, etc.]
For those that like the convenience and simplicity of a fiber packed bar, yogurt or smoothie I recently came across Psyllium Husk Powder, the powdered form of psyllium seed husks that contains 4.5g Fiber/ teaspoon and can easily be tossed into any smoothie for that extra fiber punch. I like Yerba Prima brand, its very fine, blends incredibly well into my smoothies, and doesn’t have a strong taste.
Loaded Spinach & Banana Smoothie [serves 1]
1 heaping cup spinach, raw
1 large banana, frozen
1 handful ice cubes
1 teaspoon psyllium husk powder
1 teaspoon maca powder
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1.5 cups cold water
There isn’t much to do for this recipe, but blend and enjoy! Place all of the ingredients in a high speed blender. I use a VitaMix because it is so thorough at blending, but any blender will do. Blend for about 45 seconds, or until desired consistency is reached. Pour the smoothie into your favorite glass.
Per Serving: 160 Calories, 34g Carbohydrates, 2g Fat, 3g Protein
++10 grams Fiber