Why You Need Fiber for a Happy Gut
Here I have for you all the deets on fiber, what it is, why it’s so important, where to get it, and why it makes your gut THRIVE.
Fiber is essential for good digestive health and is often a nutrient that is overlooked. You know you need to need it, and you know it helps keep you regular, but what else about it is so important?!
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body doesn’t digest. Unlike other carbohydrates, fiber doesn’t break down into simple sugars in your body. This undigested fiber passes through the digestive tract providing many benefits on its way out. There are two types of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble, and they both provide different benefits.
Soluble fiber dissolves and turns into a gel-like substance in your body. This gel-like material helps stabilize blood sugars and increases the regularity of your stools. Plant foods typically contain a mixture of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Although, foods will be higher in either one. Foods that are high in soluble fiber include but are not limited to, legumes, oats, barley, apples, and seeds.
Unlike soluble fiber, Insoluble Fiber does not dissolve, but maintains its shape while passing through your body. This type of fiber will add bulk to your stool. Both soluble and soluble fiber work together to maintain a happy gut. Foods that are high in insoluble fiber include, Whole Grains, nuts and seeds, fruits with skin, and vegetables such as cauliflower, green peas, and dark green leafy vegetables!
The recommended amount of dietary fiber is 14 grams for every 1,000 calories per day or 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men each day. Most people are only getting half of that, so how can you increase your fiber intake?
Mix oats and flaxseed into different breads and breadcrumbs
Add or blend vegetables to sauces and gravies
When making a fruit smoothie add in frozen cauliflower rice or spinach
Add beans to soups and stews
Sprinkle chia seeds on your yogurt or add them into your smoothie
Fiber and Prebiotics
Aside from improved digestion, fiber also helps improve, increase, and balance the good bacteria in your gut. Have you ever heard the term prebiotics? Well, prebiotics are actually just plant fibers, and these specific plant fibers feed the good bacteria in your gut (also known as probiotics). Gut bacteria love two types of fiber in particular called Fructans and Cellulose. Prebiotics are found in foods such as onions, garlic, leeks, soybeans, chicory root, honey, banana, and Jerusalem artichoke.
It’s important to note that if you’re trying to increase your fiber intake it’s essential you do this slowly to avoid any GI distress and to make sure you are getting adequate fluid.