We promote leafy greens and fiber in our protocol, but why? Is all fiber the same?
Eating fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and legumes is considered the optimal approach for individuals to obtain their recommended daily fiber intake.
The average American eats only 10 to 15 g of fiber per day. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the American Dietetic Association, the recommended daily amount of fiber is 25 g for women and 38 g for men.
There are other sources of fiber apart from vegetables, fruits and legumes, such as grains (bread for example) . Now, why don't we recommend bread you may ask? Let's dig deeper into fiber!
Health Benefits of Fiber
First, there are two main types of fiber:
- Insoluble fiber - Helps food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines (laxative effect). It also helps balance the pH in your intestine, and may prevent diverticulitis, an inflammation of the intestine, as well as colon cancer.
- Soluble fiber attracts water and forms a gel-like substance with food as it’s digested. This in turn slows down digestion and helps you feel full faster, which is important in weight management.
Some other benefits of fiber intake according to studies are :
- normalization of blood lipid levels
- decrease in blood pressure
- decrease in serum cholesterol levels
- attenuation of the blood glucose response.
- lower risk for developing congestive heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal disorders
- improvement in glycemia (the presence of glucose in the blood ) and insulin sensitivity in nondiabetic and diabetic individuals.
- enhances weight loss and can help improve gastrointestinal disorders (such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, duodenal ulcer, diverticulitis, constipation, and hemorrhoids).
Too much Fiber?
While it appears most people fall short of their recommended fiber intake, it’s actually possible to have too much fiber, especially if you increase your fiber intake very quickly. Too much fiber can cause:
- abdominal pain
- loose stools or diarrhea
- temporary weight gain
- intestinal blockage in people with Crohn’s disease
- reduced blood sugar levels
It's important if you are not used to eating too much fiber, to increase your intake slowly at first.
Best way to get Fiber
In general, it’s better to get fiber from the food you eat than from supplements. This is because high-fiber foods also have other important vitamins and minerals.
- brussels sprouts
- flax and other seeds
- vegetables like green beans and dark leafy greens
- root vegetables like carrots, beets, and radish
- fruit skins
- intact whole grains