Fiber – Why You Need It

Fiber - Why You Need It

We’ve all heard that we need to have plenty of fiber in our diets every day.  But what’s the best way to get it and what exactly do high-fiber foods do? 

How Much Fiber
Daily Fiber Intake Recommendations

The recommended amount of daily fiber intake is between 25 and 40 grams, and even though many of us are eating a healthy diet, we still fall short, sometimes only getting 15 grams per day or even less.

Fiber is a part of the structure of plants that helps to build plant molecules.  It contains zero calories since it can’t be digested by humans, and even though fiber is found in carbohydrate foods like veggies, fruites, nuts and whole grains, they don’t contribute any carbs to our diets.

So, you’re asking, if it can’t absorb it, why is it important for our health?  Great question.

It’s important because as it passes through our digestive system, it takes with it toxins, waste, fat and cholesterol particles, removing them from our bodies, which contributes to heart health, makes us feel full and helps with digestion and detoxification.

There are two (2) different kinds of fiber, each of which have a very important role:

  • Soluble fiber slows down our digestion by attracting water and forming a gel-like substance and promotes weight loss because it slows the process of food emptying from your stomach and makes you feel full for longer after eating.
  • Insoluble fiber tends to speed up digestion by adding bulk to your stools (basically helping to relieve constipation)

While there are lots of foods on our grocery store shelves that say “high fiber” or “fiber added”, those are not the best ways to incorporate more fiber into our diets.

Fiber needs to come from the plant source itself in order to provide our bodies with the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that we need.

Great soluble fiber foods are oats, oat bran, nuts, flaxseeds, beans, lentils, peas, berries and carrots.

Great insoluble fiber foods are brown rice, barley, bulgur, broccoli, cucumbers, carrots, green beans and zucchini.

Another great food that is high in fiber are avocados.  On my #WTMKlive show last week, I made a delicious chocolate pudding using avocado.

A fiber-rich diet will help your system in so many ways! 

  • Regulates your digestion process,
  • Increases nutrient absorption,
  • Aids in detoxification,
  • Promotes weight loss because it provides more and longer feelings of satiety,
  • Great for heart health,
  • Regulates blood sugar

All pretty great reasons to add more fiber to your diet if you ask me.

Another word about fiber.  When you increase your fiber intake, you need to also make sure that you increase your water intake.  In fact, you should ideally be drinking ½ of your body weight in ounces of water per day!

Fiber - How Does It Help With Diabetes?

When it comes to controlling your blood sugars, fiber is your friend.  Because fiber comes from carbohydrates, but is not absorbed by the body, the amount of fiber content of a food can actually be subtracted from the carb number.  So let’s say that half of an avocado is 6 grams of carbohydrate, and has 5 grams of fiber, that avocado has only 1 gram of carbs.  Pretty cool right?!

Here’s why fiber is so important.  Fiber is responsible for sweeping away excess fats and cholesterol from your digestive tract, as well as toxins in your body, which reduces the load on your liver and therefore helps your body produce and use blood glucose and insulin properly.

Soluble fiber especially, slows down your digestion process, which helps you feel full longer as well as keeping your blood sugar stable.

Great sources of soluble fiber include:

  • Oats
  • Oat Bran
  • Carrots
  • Nuts
  • Flaxseeds
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Peas
  • Berries

Insoluble fiber is also super important.  It speeds up digestion by adding bulk to your stools (so bye-bye constipation)

Great sources of insoluble fiber include:

  • Brown Rice
  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Green Beans

Fiber - Why Is It Good For Digestion?

Fiber-What Does It Do?Great question!

Fiber is good for digestion because if regulates the digestive process.  Allowing for better nutrient absorption as well as adding bulk to your stool to control (or eliminate) constipation.

And, because it is responsible for sweeping the excess toxins from your system, it also relieves the load on your other digestive organs like your kidney, liver, pancreas and gallbladder.

Over the counter laxatives are one of the most purchased drug store items.  However, consistent use of them can be extremely detrimental to your overall health, because they teach your body to stop functioning properly and to rely on unnatural sources and stimulants to do its job.

Something that is super good for digestion and is also a terrific natural laxative is aloe vera.  Here is a great source for aloe vera juice.

Other great foods for optimal digestion are:

  • Chia seeds
  • Probiotics
  • Flaxseed
  • Berries
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Coconut water

Just make sure that you are also drinking plenty of good ole H2O.  Ideally, you should be drinking ½ of your body weight in ounces of water daily.

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Fiber - Why Is It Good For Weight Loss?

Well, as we talked about earlier, we all pretty much know that we need to increase our daily amount of fiber intake.  And, even though there are many products on our grocery store shelves that are touting “high fiber”, most of us are only getting about half of what we need daily for optimal health.

The general rule of thumb for adults is between 25 grams and 40 grams of protein daily.

So, how do you get more fiber in your diet and why is it important for weight loss?

Great questions!

First of all let’s discuss why it’s so important for weight loss.  Fiber is a part of plant structure that builds molecules.  It is undigestible for humans, but is an extremely necessary part of our digestive system.

There are two different kinds of fiber.  Soluble (which slows down digestion) and insoluble (which tends to speed up digestion).  Both in combination, help to create a slow burn and keeps us feeling full longer, gives us the ability to digest our food better, which means much better nutrient absorption and also adds bulk to our stool.

Additionally, fiber helps to sweep away toxins, excess fats and cholesterol from our bodies, which will lessen the load on the other digestive organs like your kidneys, liver, pancreas and gallbladder.

So, what are some great fiber foods for weight loss?  Another great question! 

Here’s a list of some:

  • Whole Oats
  • Flaxseed
  • Oat Bran
  • Berries
  • Nuts
  • Carrots

I have a terrific recipe for a mixed fruit compote that will not only satisfy a sweet tooth, but will also provide you with some great fiber in your diet as well.

Just remember, one of the most important things to do when adding more fiber to your diet, is to also increase your water intake.  The general recommendation is to drink 1/2 of your body weight in ounces of water daily.

I sure hope you found this information useful and would love to hear what you think about it, so don’t be shy, let me know in the comments!

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Here's to your health!

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