„The first wealth is health.“ ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
So, sometimes we tend to overdo it.
When we get our diet on track and form good habits it’s only natural to start thinking of all the little details and how to perfect every aspect of our healthy food routine.
This is how the human brain works. We want it all and then some more.
So after the protein craze, we started worrying about fiber. Do we get enough? And what if we get more than enough?
Let’s take a step back and understand what dietary fiber is.
FIBER IS ACTUALLY A CARBOHYDRATE.
Which comes as shock to most of us.
So, breathe and repeat after me: ‘Carbs are not bad’.
It’s a type of carb that cannot be digested by our bodies' enzymes.
We get soluble and insoluble kinds of dietary fiber, the first kind dissolves in water, the second one doesn’t, and they are both good for you, let’s not discriminate.
Fiber contributes to health in different ways:
It makes your digestion system work like a boss
And like an awesome boss, it creates a healthy environment for everyone. So by keeping the bacteria in our intestine happy it promotes regular movement and prevents constipation.
It helps controlling blood sugar
Soluble fiber might help slowing down the breakdown of carbs in your body, hence the absorption of sugars which is very helpful when it comes to controlling your blood sugar.
Weight loss management
You know that feeling of satisfaction you get after a filling meal? That's probably the fiber talk. Fiber-rich meals tend to keep you fuller for longer by slowing down digestion, so you keep unhealthy snacks and temptations at bay. And by making you feel fuller, faster you also tend to decrease your portion size. There’s a good reason why all happy diets are full of fiber-rich foods!
The bad kind of cholesterol, also known as LDL, has finally found its match. A diet high in fiber can lower the absorption of cholesterol in your bloodstream. Research has shown that those eating a high-fiber diet have a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease.
Promotes skin health
Beauty in a jar? How about beauty in a piece of fruit? Fiber may help kick those acne-triggering yeasts and fungus out of your body (otherwise excreted through the skin) so that your skin gets all the rewards and you get all the compliments when you are out and about!
So, how much fiber do we actually need, and is it possible to overdose on fiber?
The American Heart Association recommends 25 grams per day on a 2,000-calorie diet for adults. The final value, of course, is best calculated if you take your sex and age into consideration:
Women under 50: 21 to 25 grams per day
Men under 50: 30 to 38 grams per day
The World Health Organization (WHO) reckons that eating at least 25 to 29 grams of dietary fiber per day is ideal for optimal health outcomes.
But overdosing on fiber is closer to science fiction than a real hazard or something that you actually need to worry about.
Worst case scenario, you eat more than 70 grams of fiber per day and you experience an uncomfortable bloating which can be relieved by increasing your fluid intake and getting some exercise.
Having said that, it’s true that the human body may react to all sorts of dietary changes. So, if you rapidly increase your fiber intake you may experience a temporary bloating. It has happened to nearly every vegan we have ever met. But the human body also quickly adjusts to the changes especially when they come with all those wonderful results, so eat your fibers!
Sources of dietary fiber
Think of a rainbow of fresh produce! This is where the fibers are at.
So, fruit, vegetables, legumes, and whole grain products as well as nuts and seeds are the best sources of fiber, and very wallet-friendly as well!
Instead of counting calories and reading food labels try focusing on what’s local and seasonal. So, head to the farmers market or the fresh produce aisle at your grocery store and pick up some fruit and veggies to cook a meal from scratch.
Luckily you got Nutrient to help you with that!
Let’s head to the kitchen, shall we?