Gut health is extremely important for your overall health and well-being and increasing your fiber intake is one of the best ways to achieve that. Known to improve your digestion, enhance your nutrient absorption, regulate your blood sugar levels, and help keep inflammation at bay, fiber brings on a plethora of health benefits.Fine-tuning your nutrition to best address your health and fitness needs has become the ultimate bio-hacking, and it doesn’t require spending plenty of money or using any special tools or treatments. It’s all about knowing what works for your gut microbiome and how to best support your gut health.
Most people aren’t getting enough fiber in their diets, increasing their risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other cardiovascular conditions. That’s why it’s important to implement good eating habits and find ways to add more fiber to your daily meals.
What is Fiber?
Increase Your Intake of Fiber-Rich Vegetables and Fruit
Leave the skin on!
Choose Whole Grains Over Refined Versions
Use High-Fiber Flours or Nut Flours in Baking
Make Chia Seeds a Staple
Take a Fiber Supplement
What is Fiber?Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be broken down by your body and turned into sugars. It passes through your digestive system undigested and helps lower the overall effect of sugars on your body while helping push food down your digestive tract.
The usual daily amount of fiber children and adults should take is 25-35 grams and most Americans fail to even reach 15. It comes in two main varieties which are both beneficial for our health:
- Soluble fiber – easily dissolved in water, soluble fiber helps lower blood glucose levels as well as helps reduce bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Insoluble fiber – can’t dissolve in water and helps push food down your digestive tract, promoting regularity and preventing digestive discomfort, bloating, and constipation.
Another important role of fiber is its prebiotic characteristic. Prebiotics help feed the good bacteria in your gut microbiome, balancing out your gut flora and strengthening your immune system.
Increase your fiber intake with ease.
Increase Your Intake of Fiber-Rich Vegetables and FruitIncreasing your intake of fresh and seasonal vegetables and fruit is the best way to up your fiber intake. Many plant-based foods naturally contain high amounts of fiber and it’s just about adding the right ones to your plate.
Load up your meals with sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beets, collard greens, bananas, raspberries, mango, and more. Additionally, legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds all have higher levels of fiber than you think, so next time you’re making chili con carne or your favorite cake, add some beans or nuts to the mix.
Leave the skin on!
An extra tip to including more vegetables and fruit into your diet is to stop peeling their skin. It’s the part of plant-based foods that contains the highest amount of nutrients and fiber. Wash it thoroughly and peel it if it’s really dirty or sprayed with wax, but choose organic and non-toxic varieties that will ensure all the nutrients are still retained within the skin.
Mesh bags for fruit and vegetables
Keep your fruit and vegetables fresh for longer.
Choose Whole Grains Over Refined VersionsWhole grains leave the entire grain intact, with their micronutrient-rich germ and fiber-rich bran. This makes them longer to digest and have a lower effect on your blood sugar levels, preventing sugar spikes.
Refined grains are processed and stripped off of these nutrient-rich parts, leaving only fast-absorbing carbohydrates. By replacing refined grains in your diet with their whole-grain version, you’re not only increasing your fiber intake, but also nourishing your body with vitamins, minerals, and other plant compounds these grains provide.
Whole grain wheat flour
Swap up your refined flours with whole grain versions.
Use High-Fiber Flours or Nut Flours in BakingAnother great tip for adding extra fiber into your diet is swapping out your regular white flour for whole grain and other grain flours as well as nut flours when you’re making desserts, bread, or pastry. Other flours like quinoa, buckwheat, millet, or brown rice contain higher amounts of fiber, making your usual birthday cake more nutritious.
Additionally, these flours add a variety of other micronutrients and healthy fats while delivering on the taste and rich flavor. Nut flours have become especially popular in recent years when raw vegan desserts started showing up in restaurants and all over social media. Easy to manipulate and even easier to process, nut flours have become the crowd’s favorite. If you’re allergic to tree nuts, choose grain flours that are minimally processed and leave the whole grain intact.
Grain-free flour alternative.
Make Chia Seeds a StapleChia seeds are little powerful superfoods that contain high levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, improving your digestion and supplementing you with healthy fats. They are especially popular when mixed with water or milk as they absorb liquids and turn into a gel-like consistency which is 93% insoluble fiber.
Most commonly used in chia seed puddings and jams, these little black seeds really pack a punch and they’re a great addition to your diet that helps feed your gut microbiome, stimulate your digestion, and help decrease inflammation.
Great quality chia seeds for your next chia seed pudding.
Take a Fiber SupplementIf you’re unable to get all the fiber from food, taking a fiber supplement may be beneficial. There are a few fiber supplements that are usually considered the best and easiest to absorb. These include:
- β-glucans – found in oats and barley, this type of fiber ferments in the gut and has a strong prebiotic role, feeding the beneficial bacteria, promoting gut health, and supporting your immune system.
- Glucomannan – known in Asian cuisine and their popular shirataki noodles, glucomannan helps curb your appetite and increase the feeling of fullness.
- Guar fiber – is usually used to improve the taste of foods and act as a thickening agent, guar fiber helps increase the feeling of fullness and aids in weight loss.
- Psyllium husk – popular supplement to help with constipation, psyllium husk also feeds the gut microbiome, curbs your appetite, and leaves you feeling fuller for longer.
Keep in mind, before starting a new dietary supplement, you should always consult your doctor or naturopath.
Increase your fiber intake with this high-quality supplement.
Increasing fiber intake is important for your overall health, but so is knowing how to pair it with other aspects of a healthy diet. Here’s all you need to know about healthy fats and how to include them in your daily meals.