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Importance of Fiber

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Importance of Fiber

Here’s a great article by our soon to be registered nutritionist Anna Byrnes on the importance of fiber in your diet and how you can increase your intake.

There are two types of fibers, soluble and insoluble, the gut needs to be working with both regularly in order to continue to function smoothly on a day-to-day basis. Fiber can be found in many sources; however, it is richest in unprocessed and homemade foods. The average American diet consists of about 15 grams of fiber per day, while it is recommended that we need 25 grams of fiber at a minimum to achieve a well-functioning GI (gastrointestinal) system. Fiber recommendations do not have an upper limit, while healthy ranges of fiber intake can range from 25-50 grams, if you are currently consuming a low fiber diet it is wise to start low and slow when increasing your intake to avoid discomfort. Try making only one or two higher fiber swaps every week until you know your body can handle the new amount of fiber, you’re nourishing it with.

 -    Fiber is one of the best ways to support regular bowel movements which help balance hormones like estrogen and cholesterol hormones by removing them from the body.

-    Fiber can reduce dietary cholesterol absorption. Soluble fiber can directly target and lower LDL cholesterol in the blood, therefore reducing chances of cardiovascular disease.

-    Fiber slows the speed of carbohydrate digestion and supports a more stable insulin response in the body, encouraging a healthy blood sugar balance after the meal.

-    Fiber supports clear skin (3) and reduced bloating by feeding and harmonizing the gut microbiome due to it’s prebiotic properties. (4) It also helps the body establish the homeostatic balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.

-    Fiber increases your body’s ability to appropriately stimulate satiety responses leaving you feeling fuller and more satisfied for longer after meals (5)


High fiber foods:

-    Fruits and vegetables

-    Beans and lentils

-    Nuts and seeds

-    Whole Grains

-    Fiber supplementation


Ways to eat more fiber:

-    Add beans and/or lentils to hearty chilis or stews

-    Snack on hummus and raw vegetables

-    Choose fruit and vegetable smoothies over juices

-    Add reduced sugar Craisins to your trail mix

-    Add raspberries to a bowl of oatmeal

-    Sprinkle Lily’s chocolate chips on freshly popped popcorn for a sweet treat (sweetened with Stevia)

-    Add avocado on top of burgers, tacos, toast, eggs, or make some guacamole served with bean chips like Good & Gather Black Bean and Quinoa chips from Target or Pulp Pantry chips https://pulppantry.com/


Final notes:

When you increase your fiber intake you MUST also increase your fluid intake. So, when you start eating more fiber rich foods be sure to also add in a few more glasses of water as well. This will prevent constipation and provide the necessary osmotic pressure to support heathy movement through the digestive tract.


Also, please keep in mind that if you are suffering from an active flare up of diverticulitis or your doctor has explicitly prescribed for you to reduce or avoid fiber intake it is in your best interest to listen to their advice and use this food guide as helpful to find foods you should refrain from eating at this time.


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