Fiber comes mainly from whole unprocessed foods. During food processing food is stripped of its fiber contents, which is bad news for your health. Given the high consumption of processed foods these days, it’s no wonder there’s a rise in cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and obesity rates.
According to the American Dietetic Association, the recommended fiber intake for adult women is about 25g daily and for men, it’s 35-38g a day. On average, U.S. adults consume about 15g of fiber a day, if we’re lucky, except we often don’t eat enough whole foods. Most whole foods like, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are rich in fiber. Here are some options to add to your recipes to boost your fiber intake.
High Fiber Foods:
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Whole Wheat
- Unroasted Whole Almonds
- Sweet Potatoes
- and More!
Reasons to Add More Fiber to Your Diet
1. Slow Digesting
Fiber is digested much slower in the stomach, which means food is being absorbed into the bloodstream at a much slower rate. This also indicates that any carbohydrates ingested with fiber will also be absorbed slower, a bonus for your weight loss goals! Basically, if you eat a salad with your pizza, you can help regulate blood sugar levels better and help reduce the risk of weight gain just by ADDING fiber. You’ll also fill up quickly so you may only have room for one slice instead of the typical two. Slower digestion means food remains in the stomach longer, another bonus of keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
2. Weight Loss
Other than that fun fact I mentioned earlier about fiber slowing down digestion, fiber also helps with weight loss in another way. Not all fiber can be digested, so as contents move through the intestine, your healthy gut microbes feed on the fiber. Strong healthy gut microbes create a diverse microbiome, which heavily influences your weight. Healthy gut bacteria create a protective barrier along the lining of your GI tract to keep toxins out of the bloodstream. An overgrowth of harmful bacteria causes inflammation in the gut and compromises your mucosal barrier allowing toxins direct access to your bloodstream, which often results in illness or disease. A damaged microbiome also affects your blood glucose levels, thus promoting more weight gain.
3. Regular Bowel Habits
Fiber helps to stimulate the bowels for the digestion of food and helps GI motility. Since fiber absorbs water, it helps to pass contents easier through the GI tract and helps bulk up waste. A high fiber diet also aids in removing food debris from the intestine. Add fiber slowly to your diet to allow your intestines to adjust. Increasing fiber intake too much too fast can lead to unpleasant symptoms like bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort, and constipation.
4. Reduces Risk of Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer is partly caused by a low-fiber diet. Studies show a high fiber intake can help prevent colorectal cancer. We already know fiber helps to speed up digestion, therefore reducing the time that the gut is exposed to toxins and possible carcinogens. Added water absorption also helps to dilute and pull toxins into fiber to remove them from the body.
5. Lowers Cholesterol
Cholesterol helps bind with fatty molecules in the GI tract and remove them from the body before they can be absorbed as cholesterol. Eating foods that are high in fiber and also heart-healthy fats, like avocado, can help reduce cholesterol by boosting your HDL levels.
HDL is a type of cholesterol, but it’s the good cholesterol you want. Higher HDL levels are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. HDL cholesterol helps to remove build-up plaque from arteries and bring LDL and triglycerides back to the liver to be removed through the bowel resulting in a lowered risk for cardiovascular disease.
I hope these reasons convince you to give your gut some extra fiber and if you’re having a hard time hitting your goal, try adding a fiber supplement to your day. Of course, it’s always best to get your fiber from whole food sources but supplements can help promote a healthy gut. Choose one that’s tasteless so you can mix it in everything, like Benefiber.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health conditions without consulting your healthcare provider. Information used is based on experience and opinion, not 100% evidence. Always consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website. Some links in this article may contain affiliate links.