When I ask people at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness in Raleigh, NC, about their fiber intake, they sometimes wrinkle their nose, thinking about those commercials about the benefit of fiber for constipation. While fiber does aid constipation, it does so much more than that. It plays a vital role in your overall good health and diet. It starts by filling you up, which means you’ll eat less. That alone should be a good reason to ensure your diet has plenty of fiber.
Your gut microorganisms need fiber to live and you need them for your health.
Your digestive microbiome contains beneficial bacteria and other microbes that add to good health. Those microscopic benefactors aid in digestion and absorption of nutrients, boost your immune system and produce neurotransmitters that affect every part of your body, including your mood. An imbalance of the good bugs and the bad bugs can lead to problems with cholesterol, blood sugar regulation, weight gain and other disorders. Fiber helps keep that balance perfect.
There are two types of fiber.
Your body needs both types. Soluble fiber adds bulk by turning to a gel and absorbing liquid, leaving you feeling fuller. It’s also a prebiotic, meaning it feeds the bacteria in your gut. The more diverse the prebiotic fiber is, the more diverse your healthy bacteria is. That’s important to good health, since it offers more options to fight off microbes that harm us. Insoluble fiber, the other kind, is not used by bacteria and microbes, but provides bulk for your stool. It also is important to the feeling of fullness.
Your body benefits when you eat a wide variety of food with fiber.
Each beneficial bacteria has its own favorite fiber. So adjusting your diet to benefit certain bacteria could bring important health benefits. Food that offers these benefits include apples, onions, garlic, bananas, some root vegetables like beets, asparagus and other fruits and vegetables. It’s another reason to stick with the whole fruit, rather than drinking just the juice. Not only does the whole fruit fill you up more, it provides more soluble, prebiotic fiber.
- Fiber helps you control blood sugar levels and that can help prevent insulin intolerance and prediabetes. That also helps you lose weight by preventing spikes and dips in blood sugar.
- Combining fiber with protein helps fill you up, without stuffing you up. The fiber and protein are both filling, but the fiber helps you go, so you don’t suffer from bloating.
- You need about 25 to 35 grams of fiber each day. The exact amount required is based on your activity level and weight.
- A high fiber diet is easy to attain. It’s eating whole grain bread, instead of bread with processed flour, fresh or cooked fruits and vegetables. You need to ensure variety to get the maximum benefits.
For more information, contact us today at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness