You've probably been told before to 'eat more fiber' - but do you know why fiber is an important component of our health all year-round, and particularly during a cleanse?
Dietary fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Fiber includes the parts of the plant foods that your body can't digest or absorb. Unlike other food components - such as fats, proteins, and carbohydrates - fiber stays relatively intact as it passes through your stomach, small intestine and colon and out of your body.
Fiber offers a great many health benefits, amongst them:
- Better bowel movements. Fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it, making it easier to pass.
- Controls blood sugar levels. Fiber, particularly the soluble form of fiber, can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels.
- Helps you feel satiated, longer. High-fiber foods force us to eat more slowly and are less energy dense, and yet they help us to feel satisfied longer!
These benefits of fiber will help you over the course of your cleanse by providing regularity and moderation to the body.
There are two classifications of fiber:
- Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water and is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium. Fiber of this type helps to lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels.
- Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber does not dissolve in water, as the name implies. Examples of insoluble fiber sources include cauliflower, green beans, and potatoes. Insoluble fiber helps with the movement of material through your digestive system.
Most plant foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, so it is important to eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods.
Try increasing your daily fibre intake during your cleanse with 2 tbsp of ground flaxseeds – add it to your smoothies, salads or oatmeal. Also include other high fibre foods daily as outlined in the chart below: