Fiber Intake Is Crazy Important!
Fiber and Hydration are the two most important elements to maintain a youthful body! It is by far the best weapon against aging, depression, hormonal balance & weight management. AND It’s really easy! By consuming 21-25 grams of fiber a day, along with 64 oz of water/liquid a day (including coffee, tea and other liquids) you can greatly improve your overall health! Fiber is not just important for maintaining proper bowel movements, it also has many other important functions in the body, including being the best weapon against weight gain.
14 Reasons You Should Have a High-Fiber Diet
- Improves Digestive Health
- Maintains Proper Bowel Movements
- Relieves Constipation
- Deceases the Risk of Hemorrhoids
- Lowers Cholesterol
- Reduces Inflammation
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Regulates Blood-Sugar Levels
- Helps with Weight Management
- Decreases Bloating
- Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
- Reduces the Risk of Cancer
- Helps to Fight Depression
- Helps with Hormone Balance
Don’t confuse fiber with carbs. Even those on a keto diet need fiber!
Types of Fiber
Fiber is a plant-based nutrient that our bodies cannot digest. It is naturally found in many fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, grains, and seeds. It comes in both soluble (dissolves in water) and insoluble (retains water) forms and most foods contain a mix of each, giving food its total fiber count.
Slows down carbohydrate digestion making you feel full longer, and stabilizes your blood-sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar in the blood.
Insoluble Fiber (Roughage)
Retains water and helps to move food through the digestive system, assisting with bowel movements and removing toxins from the body.
How Fiber Works
Digestion/ Bowel Movements/ Constipation/ Hemorrhoids
Fiber is important to digestive health because not only does it bulk up stools to keep your bowel movements soft and easy to pass, but it also reduces hemorrhoids by reducing constipation.
Fiber also requires bacteria to digest, which in turn produces healthy ingredients for the colon including short chain fatty acids, essential for maintaining the lining of the colon. In addition, some fibers are pre-biotics, which ferment in the colon and make acidic milieu who’s job is to kill off any harmful bacteria that may be present.
Fiber is good for both constipation and diarrhea, if taken with adequate fluids. When fluid intake is too low it can actually cause constipation, gas & bloating. Proper hydration and fluid intake are essential to good digestive and colon health. BUT if constipation is an issue, it can actually be caused by a magnesium deficiency, so make sure you increase your magnesium first to avoid the fiber making it worse.
Cholesterol/ Inflammation / Blood-Pressure
The most beneficial aspect of proper fiber intake is as a source of nutrition to your bacterial culture. As stated above, not only does it help your colon, it can help prevent inflammatory diseases such as IBS Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colitis, and Crohn’s Disease. Soluble Fiber also helps to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels by increasing your HDL (good cholesterol levels). This also helps the body reduce inflammation and reduces blood pressure.
Hormone Balance / Low Libido / Depression
Having good cholesterol levels is essential for proper hormone function in both men and women. Did you know that simply increasing your fiber intake you can help balance your hormones? In fact…by increasing your good cholesterol you actually can improve your libido, depression, and in men correct erectile dysfunction. Adding the supplement Ashwagandha to a high-fiber diet for both men and women can have life altering results when it comes to sexual health.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Cholesterol Medications: If you are on cholesterol medications, they can be the main cause of sexual dysfunction. Cholesterol medications reduce both the good and bad cholesterol in the body. Talk to your naturopath if you are having any issues with low libido, or erectile dysfunction while on these medications. You may have better results through consistent dietary changes, such as changing to a high-fiber diet, and eating other good cholesterol building foods or by adding these to your diet if going off this medication is not possible.
A recent study published for The Journal of the North American Menopause Society, found that increasing fiber intake helped lower rates of depression as women approach menopause. Researchers found that women who consumed 21 grams of fiber daily were 41 percent less likely to experience depression. That’s huge! How? Fiber supports your gut microbial, which strengthens brain health and seems to help protect against depression symptoms!
It’s all connected. High-Fiber creates good gut flora. Good gut flora helps with digestion, colonic health, and good cholesterol. Good cholesterol helps to lower blood pressure, lowers inflammation, cancer, contributes to a healthy heart and balances hormone. It all starts in the gut!
Last but not least…
Fiber for Weight Management and Regulating Blood Sugar Levels
Fiber works by helping the body feel full longer, helps to control cravings by maintaining blood-sugar levels. Multiple studies show that people who eat high-fiber diets also have substantially lower belly fat!
Pro Tip: First thing in the morning, before your morning coffee, drink a full glass of water (8 oz) with a spoonful of soluble fiber (add a squeeze of lemon juice for added health benefits). Now you have started your day with 18 oz of liquid & 5 grams of fiber. Then throughout the day, whenever you go pee, wash your hands, and go guzzle a 8oz glass of water. If you do this, you will automatically get enough liquid in your diet.
A List of Fiber Rich Foods Is Included here in this downloadable PDF file provided by the North Ottawa Wellness Foundation:
Okay so now we all know how important Fiber Intake is… so where to start…
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How to Increase Your Fiber Intake
1. Increase your fiber intake SLOWLY. Adding too much will cause more problems than it solves. You need to allow your body to develop adequate good bacteria as the fiber ferments naturally in your body. You can aide this by taking probiotics, eating yogurt or adding fermented nutrition through drinks like Kombucha or Water Kefir.
2. Hydration Hydration Hydration! Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day, and if your hydration needs a boost consider adding a hydrator to your water. Not only will it give you a better taste but one high in minerals and vitamins including magnesium will help reduce any risk of constipation. My Favorite Hydration Mix.
3. Choose food high in dietary fiber. The PDF above has a fairly comprehensive list to use as a starting point. Even if currently on a diet, you will benefit greatly from adding fruit, raw vegetables and other anti-inflammatory foods high in fiber as they will help you feel full and more satisfied after every meal or snack.
4. Fiber Supplements – are good if you find you are falling short on the recommended 21-25 grams needed each day. Listed below are a few of the different options. All made from natural ingredients. Inulin Fiber Supplements
Not sure where to start? Follow along with our Happy Tummy Challenge… you can start anytime!