Regular exercise helps your gut health, but fiber plays a big roll in this as well. For more information schedule a fitness consultation at Hatha Yoga and Fitness.
Get in about 30 g of Fiber per day. You need about 14 g of fiber per 1000 calories you eat each day. So somewhere between 25-35 g per day, depending on your actual weight and calorie consumption.
Processed foods may have been fiber stripped. Fiber is from plants, but processing may be removing some fiber from foods we regularly eat. So brown rice has more than white rice.
We do NOT digest fiber, our gut bacteria do. Fiber is from plants, and the food form cannot be digested by our GI tract. Many people are confused as to why fiber is so good for us when we do not digest it. But, fiber is actually digested in the GI track, because bacteria digest it for us! Thus fiber does not always go through your entire digestive system intact. Many types of fiber are used as food by microorganisms in our intestines. In fact, one benefit of fiber is that it promotes healthy growth of desirable microorganisms which helps keep away the undesirable ones.
Fiber fights heart disease, and lowers your rate of heart disease by about 50%. There are two types of fibers: soluble and insoluble, and both have health benefits.
Soluble fiber helps lower blood cholesterol levels and helps diabetics control their blood sugar levels. The soluble fiber forms a gel in the intestines that blocks absorption of cholesterol and slows absorption of sugar. This type of fiber is found in large amounts in legumes (peas and beans) and in varying amounts in oat bran, rice, bran, barley, and all fruits and vegetables.
Insoluble fiber helps prevent constipation and diarrhea by improving the water-holding capacity of stools as they move through the colon.
Healthy bowel function, in turn, helps prevent diverticulosis and colon cancer. Insoluble fiber is the type we usually think of as roughage and is found in all whole grains and unpeeled fruits and vegetables.
Transition sensibly from low fiber diet to higher fiber diet. When increasing the fiber in your diet, do it gradually over the course of 2 to 3 weeks. A sudden increase in dietary fiber can lead to uncomfortable bloating and gas (produced by all those newly consuming fiber happy microorganisms).
Labels won’t tell you all the fiber facts you may want to know. Most nutrition facts labels list only the total fiber and do not indicate soluble and insoluble fiber separately, you may have to google for information that specific or work with a nutritionist. If you are getting six or more servings of whole grain products and 5 to 7 servings of fruits and vegetables, you are probably getting enough fiber in your diet.
Fiber increase in your diet promotes weight loss. Another good thing about fiber is that it can actually help with weight loss. High fiber foods are also generally low in fat. Nuts and seeds, high in natural oils, are an exception, they are great for fiber, but actually fairly high in fat, so caloric.
Dried fruits are high in fiber, may be high in calories due to the natural sugars, thus have to be eaten in moderation on a diet. In general, a high fiber diet ends up being low in fat and calories. The fiber gives you a full feeling even though it provides no calories. High fiber foods take longer for our bodies to digest and metabolize so we spend more calories just in the process of digestion. You can thus eat large volumes of low calorie, high fiber foods and feel very satisfied.