What is fiber?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that we can’t digest for caloric fuel. It is a plant-based product that can’t be broken down. Fiber plays more of a role in your body than just helping with constipation. It is a prebiotic that feeds your gut microbiome or good bacteria.
What does fiber do?
Fiber can grab a hold of bad fats (cholesterol) to be removed, and clean your intestinal tract of old debris or mucous. These fibers can help with lowering your blood sugar as well as lowering your risk for serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. Another great benefit is that it will keep you feeling fuller as it pulls in water and takes time to digest in comparison to simple carbs. It is primarily found in vegetables delivering a punch of vitamins and minerals as a bonus too.
What is the best form of fiber?
There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble.
1-Soluble is dissolvable in water which turns it into a gel that can grab a hold of bad fats and excessive sugar. This gel can help to clear debris and old mucous on the sides of the intestine. I’ll often recommend this to be used in cases of diarrhea to remove the “slip and slide” mucosal coating, absorb the excess water, and improve nutrient absorption. It is found in psyllium, beans, oats, apples, carrots, and many citrus fruits.
2-Insoluble doesn’t break down but stays intact to be “digested” by good gut bacteria and to bulk stool. Sources to increase this form are sweet potatoes, nuts, legumes, vegetables, and low-carb cauliflower.
How much fiber do you need a day?
The Institute of Medicine recommends the following:
38 grams for men 50 or under, 30 grams for men over 50
25 grams for women 50 or under, 21 grams for women over 50
I often recommend more and have many clients supplementing when they can’t eat enough volume of fiber-rich foods. Learn more here for sources of different forms, foods, and what they do for you.
Why is drinking plenty of water important?
Being hydrated is key to flushing toxins but it also plumps up fiber making it more soluble. If you are hydrated your body won’t be pulling your internal water from tissues or organs into your intestine to facilitate a bowel movement.
Drinking pure spring water void of toxic fluoride will deliver additional minerals. Fluoridated water has been linked to cancer and other toxins from runoff or ground contamination. In addition to drinking recycled medications that are not cleansed at water treatment facilities, you may be drinking chemicals or heavy metals as was the case in Flint, Michigan from 2014-2015.
Can I eat too much fiber?
If you take a high-fiber supplement or overeat in a short period of time, yes! You might experience gas, abdominal cramping, belly pain, bloating, or constipation from a bowel obstruction or blockage. The insoluble can help to bulk up your poop and lead to more mass whereas the soluble helps more with cleaning.
Can fiber help with weight loss?
Eating enough and supplementing may help you lose weight by assisting in blood sugar regulation, building your immunity, hypertension, fatty liver disease, and absorbing cholesterol. One study showed a 3.7% decrease in Visceral (belly) fat with each 10g of increased soluble fiber. Moderately active participants experienced a 7.4% decrease in accumulation so you can see how diet and exercise can be significant in weight loss.
When your gut bacteria makes nutrients such as short-chain fatty acids they are feeding the cells in your colon. These cells can now effectively communicate and digest better. Another benefit is the decrease in chronic inflammation and inflammatory disorders. This not only affects your gut but also your whole body because cellular inflammation is at the root of all diseases.
You can see there are so many benefits to eating enough fiber. I encourage my clients to have specific balances of minerals, foods, and supplements according to their metabolism as found in their Hair Analysis. Your energy will naturally return while you detox.
Are you ready to feel better from the cell out? LET’S CHAT about your health goals!
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