Fiber is one of those nutrients that are almost always overlooked and yet is one of the best-supporting factors in weight loss and body figure management. Fiber is also a magic ingredient that has numerous other health benefits. This article will explain exactly how important fiber is for weight loss, how to have it, where to get it from, and more.
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What is fiber?
Fiber, in simple words, is a type of carbohydrate that our body can’t digest. Unlike other carbohydrates, fiber does not break down into sugar particles and passes through the body undigested. It then feeds friendly gut bacteria which leads to various health benefits.
Why is it important to have fiber?
There is a lot of strong evidence that proves that a high fiber diet can help lower the risk of heart diseases, bowel cancer, type 2 diabetes, and even stroke. High fiber nutrition can also help you feel full thereby reducing cravings. Most importantly, Fiber helps improve digestive health and bowel movement.
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Health benefits of a high fiber nutrition
The top health benefits of having fiber in your daily nutrition are:
- Weight management
- Improve healthy gut bacteria
- Proved to increase the life span
- Helps relieve constipation and improves bowel movement
- All-natural detox
- Strengthens bones
- Reduces cholesterol
- Promotes blood sugar control
- Lowers risk of type 2 diabetes
- Lowers risk of heart diseases and stroke
- Lowers risk of certain cancers
What are the different types of fiber?
Fiber is mainly classified into two
Dietary fiber: Naturally found fiber in foods
Functional fiber: Extracted and isolated fiber from whole foods which is added to processed foods
To understand the health benefits of it, we shall consider it as Soluble fiber and Insoluble fiber
Soluble fiber easily mixes with water, turning into a gel during digestion. This process slows down digestion, feeds healthy gut bacteria, and promotes good gut health. Soluble fiber is mostly found in oats, seeds, nuts, peas, beans, some fruits, and vegetables.
Insoluble fiber helps add bulk and softness to the stool, thereby promoting food to pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines. This process thereby promotes bowel health and regularity. Insoluble fiber is mostly found in whole grains, vegetables, and wheat bran.
How does fiber aid in weight loss?
To reduce weight, the golden rule is to put your body in a calorie deficit. This simply means eating lesser calories than required. As you might have guessed, anything that helps you feel full enough to not eat more can aid in weight loss. Fiber can help you feel full thereby preventing you from eating too much. Fiber may also prevent you from eating more due to its effects on blood sugar.
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How much fiber should I eat a day?
The optimal fiber requirement for women is 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day, while for men it is 30 to 38 grams a day.
High fiber foods for weight loss
Some of the most fiber-rich food items that can help in your weight loss journey are apples, broccoli, carrots, beetroots, cucumbers, grapes, pineapples, onions, tomatoes, beans, brown rice, spinach, avocados, dried fruits, potatoes, nuts, and berries. This does not mean other food items do not have fiber that can help you, it just means these are the top choices.
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What nuts and seeds have the most fiber?
Nuts and seeds are a very known source of protein, healthy fats, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Adding them to your daily nutrition has a lot of different benefits. In terms of fiber, the best nuts and seeds you can choose to add, are:
Chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried coconut, sesame seeds, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, peanuts, chestnuts, and brazil nuts.
To know the fiber contents of each nut and seed, click here
Should you eat high-fiber foods every day?
Having high fiber nutrition is optimal for weight loss and overall health management. Apart from the health benefits mentioned before, fiber is a source you can find in your favorite food item as long as it is natural. That being said, having too much fiber (more than the recommended amount mentioned before) can have some side effects which we shall discuss in the last section.
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How can I eat fiber every day and when?
The best way to do this is to spread your fiber intake throughout the day. Split it in the form of your meals and snacks. Simply put, have vegetables, seeds, nuts, and fruits throughout the day. If you do not have time to track it throughout the day, you can have your average fiber intake with your breakfast meal by following the RAINBOW BREAKFAST RECIPE.
When can fiber be bad for you?
Having too much fiber in a short amount of time can cause bloating, cramping, gas or constipation. If in case you fall into this, increasing their fluid intake, exercising, and making dietary changes can help relieve it. Always remember to increase fiber in your diet gradually and also to not exceed the recommended dosage. Having more than recommended for a few days might not cause many issues, but continuous intake could result in the before said complications.
Weight loss is achieved when you allow your body to eat fewer calories. Fiber helps you in this as it keeps you full and reduces your cravings. Fiber also has various health benefits which will reflect on your overall health in a long term. To move to a high fiber diet, include the recommended fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds in your daily nutrition in the recommended dosage.
Weight loss is a long and tiring process, keeping consistency is what offers us the best result. Fiber-rich food items are not only healthy, but they are also absolutely delicious. Therefore they are the best-known sources that can help you keep consistent healthy nutrition.
Harvard – Fiber – https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/fiber/
NHS – how to get more fiber in your diet – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/how-to-get-more-fibre-into-your-diet/
Eating well – 10 Amazing Health Benefits of Eating More Fiber – https://www.eatingwell.com/article/287742/10-amazing-health-benefits-of-eating-more-fiber/
Mediline plus – Soluble vs. insoluble fiber – https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002136.htm
May clinic – high fiber foods – https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/high-fiber-foods/art-20050948#:~:text=Women%20should%20try%20to%20eat,It%20can%20vary%20among%20brands.
My food data – Top 10 Nuts and Seeds Highest in Fiber – https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/nuts-seeds-high-in-fiber.php