Fiber is used as food for the good bacteria in our gut, and reduces the absorption of glucose. Fiber fuels a healthy gut, by helping to increase the number of regulatory T cells – specialized immune cells that help regulate the immune response. There are two kinds of fiber, insoluble and soluble, both of which are important to consume.
Insoluble fiber passes through our gut undigested, stabilizes pH, softens stools to draw in water and helps with regular bowel movements. It also plays the important role of binding to toxins to aid in elimination. Insoluble fiber also helps to clean the lining of the colon. Picture it traveling down, grabbing toxins along the way and cleaning out anything that is sticking to the colon. Some sources of insoluble fiber are greens, green beans, celery, nuts, beans, cauliflower, whole wheat flour, and bran. An easy switch to make is to use whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour to up your fiber content in any baked goods.
Soluble fiber is converted to short chain fatty acids that nourish the the good gut bacteria. As it dissolves, soluble fiber forms a gel like mass which helps slow digestion. It also plugs the holes in the gut by doing so. Soluble fiber is thought to reduce blood cholesterol and improves the control of glucose. Some sources of soluble fiber are apples, oatmeal, peas, beans, cucumbers, berries, carrots, and barley.
DAILY FIBER GOAL
At minimum, you should be getting 35 grams of fiber daily, but ideally over 50 grams daily.
When you do not eat enough fiber, the beneficial bacteria in the gut starve, and then the immune system is down, and your health is negatively affected. Constipation is a symptom of low fiber intake as well. When you aren’t eliminating properly, toxins also build up in the body, decreasing immune function.
Adequate dietary fiber intake has been linked to:
- better gut health and digestion
- weight control
- reduced risk of hypertension
- better cholesterol numbers
- regular bowel movements
- balanced blood sugar levels
- decreased risk of cancer (colon and breast)
HOW TO increase YOUR FIBER intake
Adding psyllium seeds, chia seeds and soaked flax seeds are three ways to up the fiber content in your diet, and also focus on fruits, vegetables and legumes. You can also supplement with fiber as needed.
Supplement recommendation: Tino Fiber by Silver Fern.
Do you eat enough fiber?
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