Fiber... Our bodies don’t even digest or absorb it, yet it is very important to our overall health. Not only does it help regulate our digestion, it also helps manage our blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The best part of all, it helps you feel fuller, longer!
What is it? It’s Fiber.
Where is fiber found?
Fiber is found in many fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, peas, lentils, and most vegetables.
Fiber comes in two forms and both can be found in fruits and grains.
- Soluble: This type of fiber is responsible for controlling your blood sugar and also reducing cholesterol.
- Insoluble: Benefits from insoluble fiber include the cleansing of your colon and the efficient passage of food through your digestive tract. Not to mention, the prevention of constipation from the proper working digestive system.
Most plant-based foods, such as oatmeal and beans, contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The amount of each type varies. However, if you want to receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods.
How much fiber do you need per day?
According to the American heart Association, it is recommended that a well-balanced diet should include 25-38g of fiber per day. Many times people only receive half of the recommended levels of fiber. This can be due to the lack of nutrient rich food, an increased consumption of convenience foods, or even from a restricted, low calorie diet.
When you do not receive a full day's supply of fiber, you are inevitably depleting your body of essential nutrients and vitamins your body needs to function properly. Here are some suggestions to help add fiber back into your diet and to ensure your digestive system is on the right path (literally)!
First and foremost, READ THE LABEL!
All packaged foods are required to have macronutrient and ingredient labels on them. Dietary fiber is a macronutrient that is listed, along with other helpful information such as the carbs, fats, protein, etc.
When looking at the labels, a good amount of fiber would be around 10% of the “percent daily value”. Many “whole grain” and “whole wheat” products are great sources of high fiber foods.
Tips to help add more fiber to your diet.
- Eat your fruits and veggies! High fiber fruits and veggies include avocado, spinach, apples, and even raspberries!
- Introduce whole grains into your diet. You can find many sources of whole grains in oats, cereal, tortillas, crackers, and even breads!
- Limit your processed food intake. Processed food is okay in moderation, but your entire diet should not be filed with it.
When you begin to add fiber into your diet, do it slowly. Adding fiber to quickly at a high amount can cause you to feel bloated and even have gas pains.
What does fiber have to do with flexible nutrition?
Many and most people who “clean eat” or are on restricted diets, think of flexible nutrition as “how many Pop Tarts and Oreo’s can you fit into your daily macros.” Well let me tell you, it is probably only about two. Probably not what you were thinking, huh?
Fiber is a key component when counting your macronutrients. I recommend to have 25-40g of fiber a day, depending on the level of your macros. About 15g per 1000 calories. However, for somebody to PROPERLY follow our E.P.A.T. methodology of flexible nutrition, you MUST meet your fiber goal. And last time I checked, fiber is not in Pop Tarts and Oreo’s.