When we think of fiber, we tend to think about how fiber will keep you “regular,” but there are so many more benefits!
What’s all the fuss about fiber?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate, but because of its unique composition, our bodies cannot digest it. That means it moves through our body without breaking down into sugar like other carbohydrates.
Instead, fiber binds to other fats and sugars in your digestive tract and prevents your body from absorbing them. So, when you consume nutrient-dense food with high fiber, like beans, whole grains, brown rice, and bran cereal, your body gets what it needs without absorbing excess sugar and calories.
High fiber choices also help you feel satisfied while decreasing hunger cravings - making it easier for you to stick to your plans regarding a healthy diet. (i.e., not snacking between meals, limiting portion size, etc.), which helps create that calorie deficit needed to lose weight.
What about the gut connection?
Foods high in fiber provide “good” bacteria to the gut, which helps those bacteria produce more short-chain fatty acids. Short-chain fatty acids lower inflammation and promote healthier digestion. Good gut bacteria help protect the lining of our intestines, limit inflammation, improve nutrient absorption from food, and activate neural pathways that travel directly between the gut and the brain.
All of this is great because gut inflammation puts stress on the body and the brain. Studies have shown a link between gut inflammation and mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, which are prevalent in society today.
In fact, people who eat healthy diets rich in whole foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, aka high-fiber foods) are up to 35% less likely to develop depression. Comparatively, those who consume high-fat, processed, sugary, and fried foods regularly have a 65% increased risk of depression.
Where can I get more fiber?
Remember, your diet impacts so much more than just weight management, and while there are no magical foods that will instantaneously help you lose weight, high-fiber foods can play a huge role. Some of the best high-fiber foods that you can include in your nutrition are:
- Berries, especially raspberries and blackberries
- Artichoke Hearts
- Whole Grains (Pasta, Bread, Oats)
- Fiber supplements
How should I implement fiber into my diet?
Unfortunately, an estimated 95% of Americans don’t meet the recommended daily fiber intake, so here are some top tips for implementing fiber into your lifestyle!
- Women should aim for about 25 grams of fiber daily; men should aim for 38 grams daily.
- If you don’t eat much fiber now (fruits, veggies, and whole grains), SLOWLY ramp up your intake to the optimal amount. You may experience bloating and gas IF you suddenly bump up the amount of fiber you’re eating because a significant increase can overwhelm your system.
- Make sure you drink plenty of water to keep your digestive system hydrated! Fiber works best when it absorbs water.
- Spread your fiber intake over the course of the day vs. eating it all at once.
Fiber is an essential nutrient that helps promote weight loss, improve gut health, and fight constipation. Don’t forget or neglect this critical nutrient!
About the Author: Brittinie Wick is an Air Force Veteran turned Health and Fitness Coach who founded Brittinie Wick Fitness. Her mission is to empower all women, through fitness and nutrition, to gain confidence, lose weight, and celebrate the feeling of strong and sexy. Grab her “Healthy at Every Age” guide! This ebook is aimed at people just like you, who want to live their BEST, MOST ACTIVE life, starting TODAY and continuing deep into the future!