Fiber is an essential part of a healthy eating plan. There are many foods that contain fiber. Despite this, many people don’t get enough fiber on a daily basis and can suffer health problems related to the lack of fiber. Our bodies need about 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day and most people in the U.S. do not even get half that amount.
What exactly is fiber anyway?
Fiber is a carbohydrate that your body does not break down. It passes through your system virtually unchanged. But while it is in your digestive system it performs many beneficial functions.
So then…why do I need it?
Fiber helps you to feel full, helps you to lower cholesterol, keeps your digestive system regular, and can help keep your insulin levels from spiking since food enters your bloodstream more slowly. Keeping insulin levels normalized is important since insulin tells your body to store fat.
How do I get more fiber?
There are two types of fiber. Your body needs both types. Soluble fiber is like a sponge and soaks up water, it helps to lower your cholesterol, and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. It slows digestion helping you feel more satisfied after meals. Insoluble fiber doesn’t disolve in water and helps clean your digestive tract, adding bulk to bowel movements and feeds the good intestinal bacteria. Vegtables and some high fiber fruits are great sources of fiber. You can also get fiber from whole grains, but you can end up with more carbohydrates than you need by trying to get you fiber from grains. Some high fiber/low sugar fruits are apples, berries, cherries, pears. You can also get fiber from non-starchy veggies. High fiber starch foods are beans, sweet potatoes, yams, pumpkin, and winter squash.
What if I am still not getting enough fiber?
Sometimes people need a supplement to boost fiber intake. My preference is a Team Beachbody product called The Fiber. I put it in my daily Shakeology smoothie. If you are taking a fiber supplement it can be helpful to start with a small dose and then increase over time as your body gets used to it. Taking it slowly helps your body to adjust. Too much fiber at once can cause digestive upset and bloating.
What makes The Fiber better than other fiber products?
- Contains no additives, colors, or preservatives.
- The unique formula is derived from 5 different sources of fiber. Together they not only promote better digestion but have other health benefits, such as prebiotic properties, aiding in weight management, and lowering cholesterol levels.
- It also contains L-glutamine, an amino acid important for preventing muscle loss and boosting immunity from overtraining. Those who work out regularly can actually use an extra dose of it every day.