Ask Dr. Julie / Diet and Weight Loss / Health & Wellness / Healthy Eating

Fiber For Your Health!

"Fiber For Your Health!"Even though most of us know that fiber should be an important part of our daily diet, why is it that so many of us shun the idea of too much fiber?

Isn’t it possible that fiber can be a sexy concept in our life instead of an un-sexy thing we all avoid talking about?

Sure the initiation of fiber can be tricky because too much all at once causes bloating and gas, but its overall health benefits far surpass the trickiness of it being incorporated into our diet, doesn’t it?

The answer to that question should be a resounding yes…and here’s why.

Imagine fiber like the maid you like to hire to clean out your house or apartment regularly. If you could have the maid there to keep all the dirt and debris away, you would right? Fiber helps to keep our digestive tract “clean” per se. It helps to keep our intestinal flora more balanced. It also helps to slow down digestion and keeps us regular in our bowel movements. It is overall like the best maid you could ever have for your digestive tract. So, why wouldn’t you want that on a daily basis?

When your intestinal tract is regularly ‘cleaned out’ and ‘balanced’ because of regular doses of fiber, you absorb better (which leads to glowing skin and hair), are less bloated, and feel fuller longer with less blood sugar dips so that you are not craving foods that will make you bloat and make your skin break out.

In regards to the concern about bloating and gas, here’s how you can avoid it…introduce fiber in a slow and steady manner such that you are increasing your fiber slowly every few days or week. This way, your intestinal tract isn’t shocked with a large amount of fiber one day, then minimal exposure on another day, then another large bolus of fiber again a few days later. Our intestinal tract likes regularity, so you should provide a similar level of fiber into your diet on a daily basis and as you slowly increase the dosage to 25-35 grams per day, you will allow your intestinal tract time to get used to it. By slowly titrating up your dosage of fiber intake, your gut will be much happier with you and you will be much happier with your gut as well!

The types of fiber that were seen to be most beneficial for blood sugar control, cholesterol, healthy skin and hair, and healthy intestinal functioning are mostly from, but are not limited to, foods that fall under the vegetable, fruit, and nut categories. So, since I usually highly recommend a mostly plant-based diet to my patients for its anti-inflammatory health effects, those people who eat in this way, usually are getting enough fiber in their diet.

A simple way to incorporate fiber in your diet is to make sure that you eat vegetables at every meal and that there is a variety of vegetables throughout each day and every week. Many people like to stick to the same vegetables every day but by doing this, you miss out on a gamut of other vitamins and nutrients that you would otherwise get if you have a habit of eating the colors of the rainbow.

Now that we’ve gone over some health benefits of fiber that can keep us feeling healthy and sexy…and how to avoid the un-sexy symptoms of bloating and gas…here are the top three tips you can take away from this topic:

  1. Eating a mostly plant-based diet will help to take the guess work out of getting enough fiber into your daily diet.
  2. Increase fiber intake slowly and regularly so that you can avoid the un-sexy intestinal side effects of irregular fiber intake.
  3. Knowing that fiber intake is not an excuse for you to eat processed carbohydrates and if you eat the right vegetables to get your fiber, your skin, hair, and waist-line will be way ‘sexier’ in the long run!
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