Fiber is a critical nutrient needed to keep our bodies healthy. Not only does it keep the digestive tract healthy but it binds to toxins in the body so they are excreted efficiently. I think we all know that we need to eat fiber, but did you know the average American only eats 15 grams of fiber a day? (Source: WebMD) That is not nearly enough for our bodies to remain healthy. For every meal, we need to eat at least 8-12 grams. While that sounds like a lot of fiber, it can be achieved by increasing the amount of fruits, legumes and vegetables you eat daily.
Eating more fruits, legumes and vegetables may seem impossible, but it can be very easy to incorporate into your day. For example, if you make overnight oatmeal for breakfast and you add in blueberries, ground flaxseed, dark cocoa and almonds, you just consumed 11 grams of fiber. Recall, each meal should have 8-12 grams of fiber.
If you plan on having a mid-morning snack, make it a piece of fruit. If you eat an apple, it contains 4 grams of fiber. Lunch can be a salad or soup that contains legumes which contain anywhere from 2 - 17 grams of fiber per serving, depending on the type of bean. In just two meals and a snack you could eat up to 25 grams of fiber. That is without dinner!
Now, let's look at the 5 fantastic reasons to eat more fiber.
It is important for our digestive tract to slowly digest the food we eat. Also, the process of digestion results in the body feeding our cells with nutrients but also removing waste from the cells. When food passes through our system too quickly, we can't absorb nutrients needed by our body to stay healthy nor can we remove the waste in our cells.
REDUCES CHOLESTEROL LEVELS
There is only one way to excrete cholesterol from our bodies. That is to poop it out! Eating more fiber helps reduce cholesterol levels since the fiber binds to cholesterol in the bloodstream and helps eliminate it from the body. So if you are looking for a natural way to reduce your cholesterol levels, try eating more fruits, legumes and vegetables. In 6 months, you will have a noticeable difference in your test results.
REGULATES BLOOD SUGAR
When our blood sugar is either too high or too low, our body reacts. When blood sugar is too high, insulin is released to try to bring it down. When blood sugar is too low, glucagon is released to raise blood sugar levels. (Source: Medical News Today) Our body does not like to make these changes. It would rather our blood sugar remains at constant levels. This is where fiber comes in. Fiber helps regulate blood sugar because some of the fiber passes through the digestive tract without being broken down. This means our blood sugar does not spike when we eat it.
PROMOTES HEALTHY BACTERIA IN THE GUT
The World's Healthiest Foods reports that fiber has been studied for its role in helping to promote beneficial bacteria in the gut. Bacteria is necessary in our body to make sure we are protected against illness and disease. If our gut bacteria is reduced, then our body can't fight illness. Eating fiber rich foods ensures our gut bacteria is plentiful.
Fiber rich foods are not only low in calories but they fill us up which helps control our weight. Not only do they fill us up but fiber rich foods make us stay full for a long time. Since our digestion slows when we eat fiber, it is unlikely we will want to eat again until the digestive process is complete. While eating fiber rich foods is not the only way to keep our waistlines in check, it is a good compliment to a healthy lifestyle.
Now that you know the 5 fantastic reasons to eat more fiber, you may be wondering how to get started. Like any new habit, it will take time for you to adjust and simply make it part of your lifestyle. Starting slow will ensure the change is meaningful and long lasting. Try to incorporate high fiber foods into your routine 2-3 days of the week. This will help you ease into the new routine. If you try to make every day of the week a high fiber day, you will get frustrated and it will be easy to quit.
Below are some recipes to help you start eating more fiber rich foods.
I hope you enjoyed this post about incorporating more fiber into your day. When you start to make this change, make sure to drink plenty of clean water. Water is needed to help move fiber through your digestive system.
If you would like to discuss your specific digestive health but are not sure where to start, I offer a FREE 15 minute consultation. I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist helping people restore their gut health. Click here to schedule your FREE consultation.
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