Your Guide to Fiber & its Importance for Overall Health:
Happy New Year, everyone! Thank you all for your support in 2022 & I’m so excited to get back to sending out blog posts more often this upcoming year. For the first post of 2023, I wanted to talk about “FIBER”.
What is fiber & why am I dedicating a whole blog post to talk about it? Let’s get into it:
Fiber is a carbohydrate compound in plant-based foods that the body cannot digest — but fiber being indigestible is actually a good thing for our overall health! Here are some of the benefits fiber has:
Regulates bowel movements by making stool easier to pass while also helping with stool formation to help prevent loose stools.
Decreases risk of hemorrhoids, diverticular (colon) disease, and colorectal cancer.
Helps to lower cholesterol.
Improves blood glucose + insulin sensitivity and assists with weight management to help lower body & visceral fat.
Reduces risk of various other cancers and chronic disease (type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke).
How much fiber do we need to yield these health benefits? Studies suggest adults between the ages of 19-50 years old should be consuming about 25-30 grams daily, however, most US adults only consume about 10-15 grams daily. Many forms of dietary fiber exist but the 2 easiest ways to categorize it are: soluble versus insoluble fiber. *Note that many foods contain both soluble & insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber is water-soluble and forms a viscous jelly-like substance in our gut. Soluble fiber serves as food for our gut microbiome and this helps to alter blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Some examples of soluble fibers include fruits, oat, barley, legumes, beans, broccoli, carrots, and root veggies.
Insoluble fiber comes from the outer skin of plants and these do not undergo fermentation by bacteria in the gut. They help to “bulk” up the stool & assist with regulating bowel movements. Sources of insoluble fibers include cellulose (fruit skin, corn bran, green leafy veggies), hemicellulose (whole grains), and lignin (nuts, seeds).
Now, while I may have convinced you to get on the fiber bandwagon, it’s really important to not overdo it and to work your way up to the recommended daily amount of 25-30 grams to prevent any sort of discomfort like gas, bloating, feel uncomfortably full after meals, diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, or abdominal pain.
If you are interested in incorporating more fiber into your diet or a supplement into your daily regimen, book your telehealth call below to work with me 1on1 so we can find what works best for you!
Disclaimer: This is purely educational and does not serve as medical advice. Please speak with your HCP/PCP before making any changes to your current healthcare plan.
Akbar A, Shreenath AP. High Fiber Diet. [Updated 2022 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; Jan 2022.
Barber TM, et al. The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre. Nutrients. 2020;12(10):3209. Published 2020 Oct 21. doi:10.3390/nu12103209