No matter what station you watch, you’ll probably hear at least one commercial attesting to the importance of fiber in your diet. Comedians often include fiber as part of a punchline about mood and constipation. Lack of fiber is no laughing matter. It’s important for many bodily functions. It can help maintain a healthy gut microbiome and keep blood glucose levels from spiking. If you want to lose weight, increase the fiber in your diet to improve your efforts.
Exactly what is fiber?
Fiber is a carbohydrate that your body can’t digest. There are two types, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber turns into a gel when mixed with water during digestion. It provides food for beneficial bacteria. While your body can’t digest it, the microbes do. Soluble fiber also helps stabilize blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, and by doing that, reduces the risk of heart disease. Insoluble fiber isn’t digested at all. It does provide bulk to the stools to make defecating easier and lowers the risk of colon disease.
Why is feeding the gut microbes so important?
There are trillions of gut microbes, some are beneficial, some aren’t. The soluble fiber feeds beneficial gut microbes. The gut microbes perform many tasks. They help your body digest food and absorb nutrients. About 80% of your immune cells are in your gut and your microbiome helped develop it when you were an infant. Your gut microbiome also takes part in metabolism and inflammation. They play a role in heart, nervous system, and brain health, A healthy gut microbiome reduces the risk of obesity and diabetes.
Fiber fills you up faster and keeps you feeling full.
If you eat an orange, you’ll get more health benefits than if you drank orange juice. You’ll also feel fuller even though you consumed the same number of calories. That’s because of the fiber in the orange. Food high in fiber is normally low in calories. Foods high in soluble fiber include apples, peas, strawberries, and other fruit and vegetables. Foods high in insoluble fiber include nuts, beans, and whole grains. Only food from plants contains fiber. It’s not in animal products.
- If you want to lose weight, improve the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut by consuming food high in fiber. It’s a prebiotic.
- Highly processed food, such as those made with white flour, have very little fiber. Refined flour is just an endosperm. Processing removes the germ and bran. The bran provides fiber, and the germ offers nutrients.
- Some things can destroy the balance of gut microbes besides lack of fiber. Antibiotics can do it. So can a diet high in sugar. Not only does processed food provide no fiber, but the sugar in the processed food also harms the gut microbiome.
- If you want to increase the fiber in your diet, take it slowly. Your gut needs time to build a colony of beneficial bacteria to digest it. It can lead to gas and other digestive issues.
For more information, contact us today at Revolution Training