5 Signs You're Not Getting Enough Fiber
We’ve all heard about the importance of getting enough protein to help build muscles, the importance of carbs to help fuel our bodies and the importance of fat for pretty much every other bodily function - but one thing that definitely needs to hold an equal amount of importance on your plate is: fiber.
5 Signs You're Not Getting Enough Fiber:
1. You’re often constipated or bloated
While there are definitely a number of factors that cause constipation and bloating, often these signs can point to a lack of fiber in your diet. Fiber adds bulk to your stool which gives your colon something to process and pass. On the other hand, if you’re going from little to no fiber to a ton of fiber, this can also cause constipation and bloating. To avoid this, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to help loosen up all that fiber.
2. Your meals aren’t filling you up
Like fat, fiber plays a role in how full we feel after eating a meal. Unlike carbs, fats and protein, fiber isn’t broken down and used in our bodies so it takes longer for our bodies to digest it. This is why you’ll often overeat on foods that are low in fiber and high in refined sugar and saturated fats. Fiber also helps to steady and balance your blood sugar levels so if those are out of wack due to a lack of fiber, you’ll find yourself hungry for more soon after a meal.
3. Weight gain
Of course the list is endless when it comes to factors that can contribute to weight gain but often it’s a lack of fiber that’s to blame. While fiber can help reduce weight gain by keeping you feeling full after a meal (as mentioned above) and by balancing your blood sugar levels - it means the opposite is also true. Lacking fiber in your diet can result in you eating more due to never being satiated which will inevitably lead to weight gain.
4. High blood pressure or cholesterol
Fiber plays so many important roles and one of them is helping to decrease triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol (what we often refer to as ‘good’ cholesterol). A diet high in healthy sources of dietary fiber like fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds can have positive effects on your blood pressure.
5. Poor gut health
Fun Fact: Did you know that fiber also plays an important role in promoting the growth of good bacteria in our guts?!
While probiotics are definitely something that our guts need to thrive, fiber also plays an important role in supporting gut health. While carbs, fats and proteins are absorbed into the bloodstream before entering the large intestine, we as humans don’t have the proper enzymes to break down and digest fiber. So rather than getting absorbed into the bloodstream, fiber makes its way to the large intestine where it is then able to be digested. During this process, fiber is able to feed the large intestine ‘good’ bacteria, acting as a PREbiotic! Ever heard us talk about how yacon syrup (our go-to healthy sweetener) passes through the bloodstream without causing a spike in blood sugar levels? It’s because it’s packed with FOS aka fructooligosaccharides - a type of PREbiotic fiber that helps to feed the gut all that good bacteria!
Soluble VS Insoluble:
There’s different kinds of fiber? Yes! While both soluble and insoluble fiber are important, there’s a slight difference between the two.
Soluble fiber dissolves and creates a gel that can help improve digestion and let’s say, move things along. If you’ve ever added it to your smoothies, you’ll know that it can thicken it up pretty quickly. Soluble fiber has the same effect once it’s in your body, helping to bulk up everything else you’ve consumed. Soluble fiber is also metabolized by the good bacteria in your gut, acting as a PREbiotic (yes, just like our yacon syrup!)
On the other hand, insoluble fiber attracts water into your stool, helping to soften it up and making it easier to pass. This type of fiber helps to promote healthy bowel movements and regularity. You’ll find insoluble fiber in nuts, beans, potatoes and even cauliflower.
Which one's best? Both!
It’s important to get enough soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet since they can work together to keep you feeling full, promote regularity and a healthy digestive tract all while helping to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Benefits of a Fiber Rich Diet:
- Regular bowel movements
- Optimal bowel health
- Healthy cholesterol levels
- Healthy blood sugar levels
- Regulated weight
- Promotes gut health
Fiber At Every Meal:
There’s an opportunity to incorporate fiber at every single meal - here’s how:
If you’re making smoothies for breakfast, spinach or kale can be a good source of fiber (and you’re getting a serving of veg!) or you could try adding a serving of our sprouted chia flax. You’ll be getting 16% of your RDI of fiber in one serving alone! You can also sprinkle it on top of your oatmeal, chia pudding and smoothie bowls or even on top of a salad. We also like to opt for fresh fruit first thing in the morning, so whether you’re blending it up in your smoothie or eating it whole, you’re getting fiber + water + micronutrients. What a way to start the day!
If you’re having a salad for lunch you’re already getting fiber from your leafy greens of choice (the darker, the better!) but to take it one step further try adding some beans like chickpeas or even lentils for a boost of fiber. Not into salads? Whole grains contain good amounts of fiber too! Try having a sprouted quinoa bowl with some roasted veggies or even a sandwich made with sprouted whole grains.
If you’re eating a balanced meal at dinner, it’ll hopefully include some sort of vegetable. All vegetables contain fiber, but some more than others. Vegetables that are high in fiber include artichokes, brussels sprouts, cooked carrots and broccoli - but don’t focus too much on these as it’s important that you also get your fiber from a good variety of foods! It’s also good to keep in mind that steamed/cooked vegetables contain more fiber than raw vegetables and cooked veggies are often easier to digest as a whole.
There’s always room for fiber in your snacks!! When it comes to snacking, the amount of fiber in your snack of choice has plays a huge role in how full you actually get from it. High fiber snacks will carry you between meals and will ensure you’re not overeating at the same time. Our favourite high fiber snacks are dried fruit (and fresh of course!), seeds (think chia, flax, pumpkin and baru seeds), nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts) and popcorn (homemade is the best!).