When I moved to Australia few years ago, something in my diet changed. I got digestive problems: I was bloated every day and I felt very uncomfortable most of the time. That started affecting my moods and I wasn’t very happy… After seeing a doctor, I realised I didn’t drink enough water and I didn’t get enough fiber in my diet. Since then, I always make sure I get fiber with every meal and drink plenty of water throughout the day. If more people focused on fiber, overall health would improve dramatically.
Do you get enough fiber in your diet?
Fiber is an indigestible nutrient unlike other food components such as; fats, proteins and carbohydrates. The two main types of fiber are soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber is beneficial as it dissolves in and absorbs water. Once you eat it, your body turns it into a kind of thick gel, which moves very slowly through your body. This is a good thing as soluble fiber fills you up and keeps you fuller longer, providing a sensation of fullness. Soluble fiber also slows the absorption of glucose into the body and it can help lower cholesterol. Insoluble fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk.
Benefits of high-fiber diet
A high-fiber diet has many benefits, such as:
- helps maintain bowel health
- normalizes bowl movements
- lowers cholesterol levels
- helps control blood sugar levels
- helps achieving healthy weight.
Women should get about 25 grams of fiber a day and men at least 35 to 40 grams, but the average person gets just 15 grams a day. To get enough fiber in your diet, look for foods that contain at least 5 to 10 grams fiber/100 grams.
To receive the greatest health benefits, eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods. Some of the best foods for fiber are:
- Whole-wheat pasta
- Oat meal
High-fiber foods are good for your health but increase fiber in your diet gradually over a few weeks. It allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change.
Adding too much fiber too quickly can promote abdominal bloating, cramping and intestinal gas. Also, drink plenty of water! Fiber works best when it absorbs water.
Love, Jonna x
Jonna Haataja is a wellness coach and personal trainer from Finland. She currently lives in Perth, Australia. She is passionate about healthy active lifestyle, nutritious food, exercise, yoga and helping others. Follow her on Instagram: @jonnahaataja.