Benefits Of Fiber For A Fabulous, Fit Life

Fiber Fitness Month

  Benefits Of Fiber For A Fabulous, Fit Life

It’s well known that fiber significantly enhances weight loss in obese individuals and promotes healthy bacteria growth in the colon. Less well-known are the benefits of fiber for improving immune health and minimizing gastrointestinal inflammation as well. Heading into 2021, it’s a big year for healthy, new beginnings, and revamping the diet for a healthy gut is a great place to start.

In honor of National Fiber Fit month, we will be examining one of the mainstays of healthy eating. You guessed it, fiber! While beans are an excellent source of fiber, they’re not the only ones. Many fruits and vegetables are full of both soluble and insoluble fiber- two types of fiber that are important for us to consume.

What’s the difference between soluble fiber and insoluble fiber?

  • Soluble fiber: helps improve digestion and lowers blood sugar
  • Insoluble fiber: softens stool so that it’s easier for the body to pass

What are the benefits of consuming high amounts of fiber?

In addition to regulating digestive function, an analysis of 250 men found that eating fiber in the form of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can reduce the risk of dying from cardiac disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and colon cancer anywhere from 16 to 24%. Those who ate the most fiber exhibited the lowest body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol as well.

How much fiber should I eat every day?

According to the Harvard Health Blog, American adults eat just 10 to 15 grams of fiber a day. However, the USDA recommends that adults eat a daily amount of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Keep in mind that there are two types of fibers, and foods that are high in one type of fiber tend to lower in the other. Many common fiber supplements don’t provide for both types of fiber. Which is why…

Consume food that is high in fiber to reach the suggested daily intake

Most packaged bread that can be picked up at the market is highly refined and void of fiber, even those loaves branded as “multigrain” or “whole grain.” The ingredients list cannot lie, however, so you should always turn the package over and check to see if “whole” is the first item listed. Next, you’re going to need to stock up on vegetables that are high in fiber.

Find these fiber sources at any Farmer’s Market nearby in Wilco.

Vegetables that are high in fiber include:

  • Artichokes
  • Jicama
  • Collard greens
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kohlrabi
  • Kale
  • Okra
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Beetroot
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli
  • Scallions
  • Mushrooms

Fruits that are high in fiber include:

  • Passion fruit
  • Avocados
  • Guavas
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Pomegranate
  • Kiwifruit
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Pineapples
  • Peaches

How else can we pack more fiber into our day?

  • High fiber cereals are terrific, but be wary of sugar content.
  • Make more soups! Add vegetables, dried beans, and peas. Take your soups a step further by composing them with vegetable broth or bone broth.
  • Toss some nuts, seeds, and fruits into plain yogurt, or add them to muesli.
  • There are several farmer’s markets each week in Williamson County, and there’s no better place to grab everything you need for fiber-filled chili complete with beans and vegetables.
  • Choose vegetable dips like hummus or salsa instead of ranch.

Not so fast! There are a right way and a wrong way to eat fiber

Eating too little fiber will leave you constipated, but eating too much fiber leads to abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. Before you go on a fiber binge, there are a few important tips you need to consider.

  • Give your gastrointestinal tract some time to warm up by gradually increasing your fiber intake each day.
  • Make sure to balance increased fiber intake with increased water consumption.
  • Check with your physician before making changes to your diet.

Adding fiber to the diet is a simple way to make a long-lasting impact on your health and well-being. Fiber is one of the greatest weapons we have to fight fat and lose weight, improve heart health, and feel our best from the inside out.