Have you ever wondered about the benefits of fiber for your family? Fiber is found in all plant-based foods – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Understanding the critical role fiber plays in health will make it easier to prioritize this vital nutrient in your family’s meals and snacks. If you’re looking for specific high fiber foods and ways to eat them, take a look at How Much Fiber Per Day Do Kids Needs?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in plants that our digestive tract doesn’t break down or absorb like other carbohydrates. It might sound like fiber doesn’t play a huge role in our family’s health, but it actually does.
There are two different types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Both types are found in a variety of different plant foods, and each has its unique health benefits.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance that can help slow digestion. (1) Soluble fiber is found in foods like oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, seeds, and some fruits and vegetables, like apples, blueberries, and brussels sprouts. (2)
Insoluble fiber cannot dissolve in water. Instead, it helps to create bulk in our stools and promotes regularity in our digestive system. (2) Insoluble fiber is found in foods like wheat, whole-wheat bread, whole-grain products, brown rice, legumes, and vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes. (2)
Soluble fiber can help to lower total cholesterol as well as LDL-cholesterol. Our bodies absorb less cholesterol and fat when we eat soluble fiber. (1) Because soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance when moving through the digestive tract, it causes digestion to slow down. This means that the sugar from our food is being absorbed more slowly, which can help regulate blood sugar, lowering our risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. (3) Type 2 diabetes can start in kids, so making small changes in your family’s diet can have long-lasting effects. Boosting foods high in fiber today sets them up for better eating habits later.
Because insoluble fiber creates bulk in our stools, it helps food move more easily through our digestive tract. (2) This keeps our bowels regular and comfortable! Check out our free guide, The Scoop on Poop, for more insights into your child’s stools and patterns.
In addition to the specific benefits above, fiber can help:
Foods high in fiber are often high in phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and low in fat, cholesterol, and calories.
There are endless ways to effortlessly get a few more grams of fiber into each meal. Here are a few places to start:
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