Getting a healthy fiber intake is critical for your overall health in so many ways! Not only does it stop your body from absorbing cholesterol, sugar, fats, and toxins, but fiber is critical for healthy digestive function. And, as science has proven over and over, the health of all your organs and internal functions are inextricably linked to your gut health. Read on to find out everything you need to know about healthy fiber intake in your diet:
How Much is Enough?
There have been a number of studies done into the recommended amount of fiber per day, and every new study confirms: more is better! According to the World Health Organization, the recommended amount of fiber is between 25 and 29 grams. That number was pulled from more than 250 studies conducted over the course of 40 years, so you know there is A LOT of scientific evidence to back them up. With this amount of fiber, you have the best chance of “optimal health outcomes”.
What are “Optimal Health Outcomes”?
In this case, the term refers to the basics of your everyday health. First off, higher fiber intake (in the 25 to 29 gram range) led to a drastic decrease in all-cause mortality. Cardiovascular-related deaths were also visibly decreased with a higher consumption of daily fiber. High healthy fiber intake also decreased the risk of chronic disease, coronary heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and strokes. There has even been a noticeable reduction in colon and breast cancers thanks to a high-fiber diet. Fiber can also manage your body weight and keep cholesterol in check.
Why Does Fiber Keep Us Healthy?
Fiber operates on a number of internal bodily functions to keep us healthy. Primarily, it provides nourishment to the beneficial bacteria growing in your intestines. However, it can also act as a scouring pad to get rid of built-up food deposits in your intestinal tract, aiding in healthy elimination of waste. Thanks to its ability to bond with fat, sugar, cholesterol, and toxins, fiber prevents your body from absorbing these undesirable particles. And, because the fiber can’t be broken down like the rest of the food we eat, it moves through our digestive tracts more slowly and keeps us feeling full for longer. Longer periods of fullness and satiety prevent us from snacking and overeating—particularly carb-heavy foods.
Are Carbs Bad?
While carbs have gotten a pretty bad reputation in the last few years, the truth is that carbs are actually good for your health. They provide the energy your body needs. Without them, your muscles and internal functions wouldn’t function as well. However, too much carbs with no fiber to slow down their absorption rate can lead to high blood sugar levels, and that’s where you start to see internal problems. By consuming foods that have fiber mixed in with the carbs, you get the energy you need, but without the excessive blood sugar levels.
Which Foods Should I Eat for a Healthy Fiber Intake?
The best foods are those that combine carbohydrates with fiber: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, barley, and millet are also rich in fiber, and they contain far fewer “net carbs” (grams of carbs minus grams of fiber) that will be absorbed and turned into blood sugar. The more fiber a carb-based food has, the better it is for you. You need a balance of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which means pairing fruits and veggies with whole grains. The result: a healthier you overall!