The Human Body Series: Fiber

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The human body is an amazing system, there is no limit to what it is capable of. However, to function at it’s optimal level it often needs the support of the foods we consume. In this human body series we’ll delve into the details of what important nutrients can be found in the food we eat and how they support the body.

We’re also going to take it a step further, we’ll show you where in a common Paleo diet these nutrients can be found. We think this aspect is extremely important because we often hear that The Paleo Diet can’t possible have all necessary nutrients because it is missing “vital” food groups. Thankfully we’re in luck as there are always several ways to include “vital” nutrients in your diet through multiple food groups.

What Is Fiber?

Fiber is defined as “Coarse, indigestible plant matter, consisting primarily of polysaccharides such as cellulose, that when eaten stimulates intestinal peristalsis.”1

Another key thing to know about fiber is that it is often classified as either soluble(it can be dissolved in water) or insoluble(it won’t dissolve in water). Both soluble and insoluble fibers are critical to the body.2

What Does Fiber Do For The Human Body?

Fiber is critical for several functions in the human body. Let’s take a minute a list out a few ways the body uses fiber to function.2

  1. Normalizes bowel movements- insoluble fiber helps to promote a healthy digestive system and ensures that your body effectively digests nutrients and removes waste.
  2. Blood cholesterol levels- soluble fiber has been shown to help reduce high cholesterol levels in the blood.
  3. Control blood sugar levels- soluble fiber has shown to help reduce the absorption of sugar and normalize blood sugar levels particular in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
  4. Weight control- fiber rich foods have been shown to help aid in weight control. This is because fiber rich foods are usually lower in calories and due to their volume they cause individuals to feel “fuller” faster.

Paleo Sources Of Fiber

Luckily fiber is found in several key staples of the Paleo Diet. The following is a list of common Paleo foods that are high in fiber.

  • Vegetables- such as broccoli, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.
  • Fruit- such as apples, berries, dates and other citrus fruits.
  • Nuts- such as almonds.
  • Paleo flours- such as coconut flour.
  • Flaxseed

Fiber is critical to several functions of the human body. Thankfully, the Paleo Diet is packed full of several options for fiber rich foods. We hope that this has been helpful and informative. If there is a similar nutrient that you would like us to cover during this series leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to post about it.

Enjoy your fiber!

Melissa

@mvandover | melissavandover.com

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1″fiber.” The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company. 26 Aug. 2014. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fiber>.

2Mayo Clinic Staff. “Nutrition and Healthy Eating.” Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet. Institute of Medicine, 2012. Web. 26 Aug. 2014.

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