Talking about fiber is not a glamorous subject but many Americans do not get enough fiber in their diets. Many companies tout that their products are high in fiber but fiber is still a commonly misunderstood nutrient. It deserves the attention from all of us because of its numerous health benefits.
If your constipated, hungry right after finishing a meal, gaining weight, have high cholesterol or blood sugar or tend to get a sugar high followed by a crash, you could be deficient in consuming enough fiber in your diet daily. Unfortunately, Americans only consume on average 15 grams per day. Men need 38 grams per day and women need 25 grams per day. So how do we close this gap? First lets take a look at the benefits of fiber.
Why is fiber so essential?
Fiber has been shown to:
- Prevent obesity and many chronic diseases
- Lower inflammation
- Boost your metabolism
- Lower the risk of heart disease
- Promote healthy gut microbes
- Improve energy throughout the day
- Alleviate constipation
- Reduce risk for colon cancer and breast cancer
- Absorb toxins, waste, fat and cholesterol
Men need 38 grams per day and women need 25 grams per day of fiber.
Fiber will add bulk to your food so that you will feel full faster. Since we cannot digest fiber, the body attempts to digest it thus burning calories in the process. This is referred to as thermogenesis. In essence, your body burns calories to produce heat. Another added benefit of fiber is that it slows down digestion and steadies blood sugar levels, thus leading to curbed sugar cravings and sustained energy. Fiber also provides satiety. Over all fiber should be an integral part of your daily diet.
What is the best way to get your daily dose of fiber?
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber will slow down digestion by attracting water to form a gel-like substance. This type of fiber aids in weight loss because it slows down the process of food emptying from your stomach. You feel full longer after eating as a result. It includes foods such as, nuts, beans, flaxseeds, peas, lentils, oats, and some fruits and vegetables.
Insoluble fiber speeds up digestion by adding bulk. It is found in whole grains such as brown rice and barley in addition to most vegetables including root vegetables, cucumbers, celery and zucchini. Insoluble fiber will help if you are feeling constipated.
Many foods contain both insoluble and soluble fiber. Generally, the more natural and unprocessed the food is, the higher it will be in fiber.
My Top 10 High Fiber Foods:
- Split peas- 1 cup cooked= 16.3 grams
- Lentils- 1 cup cooked= 15.6 grams
- Black Beans- 1 cup cooked= 15 grams
- Mung Beans- 1 cup cooked= 15 grams
- Figs- 1 cup= 14 grams
- Lima Beans- 1 cup cooked= 13 grams
- Coconut Flour- ¼ cup= 10 grams
- Artichoke- 1 whole artichoke= 9 grams
- Acorn Squash- 1 cup= 9 grams
- Green Beans- 1 cup cooked= 8.8 grams
How do I incorporate these high fiber foods into my diet?
- Eat whole fruits instead of juices. Juices do not provide fiber.
- Add smoothies to your daily diet. Smoothies utilize the whole fruit. It is the skin, the seed and the pulp that all contain fiber.
- Eat salads at least once a day loaded with a variety of veggies.
- Add healthy fats such as, avocado, nuts and flaxseed oil.
- Focus on whole foods as opposed to processed and refined foods.
- Grate veggies into your dishes, such as pasta sauce, casseroles or stews.
- Swap rice for cauliflower rice.
- Purée cooked vegetables and add them to sauces.
- Snack on raw vegetables with hummus and or guacamole.
Americans only consume on average 15 grams of fiber per day.
If you are still struggling with digestive issues even after you increase your fiber intake with these whole foods there are additional options that I recommend, such as incorporating superfoods such as, maca, chia seeds and flax seeds. Psyllium husk is also helpful in aiding constipation.
Additionally, I am here to work with you so that you can achieve the best version of you. Work with me to achieve your health and wellness goals!
Please leave comments below and let me know how you incorporate fiber into your daily regimen.
Sending you love and light,