You’ve probably heard people say, “fiber makes you feel full longer,” and that “fiber is great for digestion.” What does that really mean though? Well it’s all about the types of fiber you consume and what they do once they enter your body.
Unlike the fats, proteins and carbs in your food that your body breaks down for nutrients and energy, dietary fiber actually remains relatively intact as it passes through. Fiber falls into two categories – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber slows your body’s absorption of sugar aiding in blood sugar control, and attaches itself to cholesterol particles to help take them out of your body, preventing constipation and lowering cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber helps bulk up the foods you eat after they have been digested to aid in passing the eliminated waste, also relieving constipation but also helping you feel full and manage a healthy weight.
It is important to get both types of fiber from the plants in your diet, whether it’s fruits, veggies, legumes or whole grains, and you would be surprised what delicious edibles actually offer you the fiber your need.
1. Black Beans
Black beans pack a serious fiber punch with 60% of your recommended daily value of fiber in just 1 cooked cup. As a rather dense, low-energy food, black beans will fill you up with less calories, and also boost your protein intake. Great in Mexican fare including burritos, tacos, and rice dishes, or simply incorporated into a salad or soup, black beans also offer high rates of vitamins and minerals like folate, iron, manganese, and vitamin B1. Other members of the legume family full of fiber include split peas, chickpeas, and lentils.