We should all eat more fiber. A diet low in fiber is definitely not a good thing not only for digestion but for keeping weight off as these days including fiber in your diet is almost as important as limiting your caloric intake. Not only are we supposed to eat more fiber but we should be eating more insoluble fiber as that is really the gut-healthy fiber we should be after. Thing is, what is insoluble fiber and where can we get it. Hemp seeds, of course!
There is only one source of fiber and that is plants. Fiber is the part of plants that do not break down in our stomachs, they pass through our systems. All dietary fiber is either soluble or insoluble. Both types are actually equally important to health, digestion and aiding in keeping many diseases at bay including diabetes, obesity, diverticulitis and constipation. The easy way of telling the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber is soluble fiber dissolves in water, insoluble does not.
So soluble fiber dissolves in water, so what. Well, what this actually does in your system is it attracts water, absorbing it and creating a kind of gel like substance which slows down digestion. This actually causes a delay in your body emptying your stomach and makes you feel full for longer, meaning you need to eat less and less often. This also helps slow the movement of the food into the upper intestines where the absorption of sugars occur meaning the release of sugars becomes regulated helping to prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. This decreases the amount of insulin you need at one time which can help you from getting diabetes. Soluble fiber also conveniently interferes with the body’s ability to absorb dietary cholesterol which lowers you levels of the bad LDL cholesterol in your blood.
Common sources of soluble fiber include things like cereals, beans, fruit, bran, berries, nuts, vegetables and of course the mighty hemp seed.
Now here is where this story gets interesting. Insoluble fiber is one of the most important items in our diet simply because the typical diet consisting of overly processed foods contains so little. Think of insoluble fiber as the toothbrush of your intestinal system. Eating a diet high in insoluble fiber ensures that you will have a good clean intestinal track which is one of the most important things to maintaining good health. Insoluble fiber does not absorb water and therefore passes through the intestinal system pretty well intact has a laxative effect and adds bulk or roughage to the diet helping prevent constipation. This type of fiber also speeds up the passage of food and waste through the intestinal system.
Common sources of insoluble fiber include things like whole flours, whole grains, brans like wheat bran and corn bran, nuts, barley, couscous, whole rice, high fiber vegetables, raisins and grapes, fruit and root vegetable skins and, saving the best for last of course, hemp seeds!
The typical North American diet contains as little as 15 grams of fiber per day. This is much too low as even the most conservative estimates for the amount of fiber you should eat is 25 grams per day for women under 50 and 35 grams for men under 50. Even this is a significantly low estimate compared to a typical vegetarian diet rich with whole grains, fruits and beans. So a really easy way to boost your fiber levels is to consume some whole hemp seed, hemp flour or hemp protein powder as part of your regular diet.
This is the good news. Whole hemp seed has a whopping 16.8 grams of fiber in a 56g serving. Eat a couple of hand fulls of whole seed and, voila, your minimum daily requirement of fiber. Even better news? Add some hemp flour to your baking, 50 grams contains 21 grams of fibre, 42% of hemp flour is fiber!!! Add protein powder to your smoothies or even make yourself some power bars with it and for every 30 grams you get 15.5 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. Truly excellent.