We may hear a lot about the benefits of a low-carb diet, or a high-protein diet, but we don’t always focus on fiber. Maybe we should. Though you may not be counting fiber intake, it is one of the healthiest macronutrients there is. Plus, a quest to get more fiber can lead you towards eating a healthier diet.
These are some reasons why you may need more fiber, plus some benefits of fiber in your diet. Then, we have tips on how to get more of it. Netrition has plenty of great-tasting, high-fiber foods to enjoy, even if you are on a gluten-free diet.
Why You May Need More Fiber
The average American gets less than half the recommended amount of fiber in their diet. Most people should get 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories they eat. That works out to 28 grams of fiber on the standard 2,000-calorie diet, or 21 grams if you are on, say, a 1,500-calorie diet for weight loss.
Benefits of Fiber
Fiber is nothing more than a type of carbohydrates that your body cannot fully digest, but it has a lot of effects on your body. These are some benefits of dietary fiber.
Fiber takes a while to digest, especially in comparison to other nutrients, such as sugars and starches. When you eat a meal that has a lot of fiber, you can feel full for longer than you would if you had not had a lot of fiber. This can help you eat less at the next meal, which can make it easier to lose weight or prevent weight gain.
Fiber is a group of carbohydrates that your body cannot digest, but bacteria in your gut can. The good news is that fiber feeds the healthy types of bacteria that are in your gut, leading to a more favorably balanced gut microbiome. This may be linked to lower rates of obesity and improved immune function, according to some studies.
Some types of fiber, especially soluble fiber, are able to bind to extra cholesterol and bile. Instead of staying in your bloodstream, these extra compounds can be eliminated as waste, along with the fiber that trapped them. This means that eating a diet high in soluble fiber could be a good strategy for improving cholesterol levels, which in turn could lower risk for heart disease. Oats are a well-known source of soluble fiber, and they are gluten-free.
When you eat a meal with carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into sugar, which goes into your bloodstream as blood glucose. Dietary fiber slows down digestion, which means that sugar enters your blood more slowly. The result is that the blood sugar spike after a meal with a lot of fiber is less pronounced and more delayed than it would be in a meal without much fiber. Also, the blood sugar dip that follows a spike is smaller. Overall, blood sugar is more stable, which is good news for diabetes risk, plus you may have fewer sugar and carb cravings, since rapid blood sugar dips can lead to hunger and cravings.
Dietary fiber can help prevent or relieve constipation. Funnily enough, it can do the same for diarrhea. A high-fiber diet can help improve bowel regularity. It increases bulk and can make it more comfortable for you to pass stools.
Ways to Boost Fiber Intake
The types of foods that are high in fiber tend to be wholesome, unprocessed foods. These are some examples of naturally high-fiber foods.
- Vegetables, such as greens, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, asparagus, artichokes, carrots, tomatoes, onions, green beans, and eggplant.
- Fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, pears, bananas, oranges, tangerines, nectarines, peaches, and cantaloupe.
- Beans, such as garbanzo, pinto, black, white, navy, and kidney beans.
- Split peas and lentils.
- Whole grains, such as oats, whole-wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, barley, popcorn, and quinoa.
- Nuts, peanuts, and seeds, such as hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.
Sometimes, it can be hard to get enough fiber from the diet. There are many possible reasons for this, such as not having time to prepare fresh fruits and vegetables, or not liking typical sources of fiber. Or, if you are on a gluten-free diet, you may have trouble getting fiber from whole grains, since whole-wheat bread, pasta, and cereals are off limits. Keep in mind, though, that gluten-free oats, as well as grains such as popcorn, brown rice, and quinoa, are gluten-free and sources of fiber.
Netrition has a variety of high-fiber, gluten-free products that can help you incorporate more fiber into your diet. Many of them are low-carb, too, so they can be part of a low-carb or keto lifestyle.
These are some examples of Netrition products that are gluten-free and have fiber.
- Carbonaut Low-Carb Gluten-Free Bread, with 14 grams of fiber per slice
- Unbagel Gluten-Free Bagels, with 10 grams of fiber per bagel
- Built Bar Protein Bars, with 5 grams of fiber
- Second Nature Immunity Defense Smart Mix, with 3 grams of fiber
- Polaner Sugar-Free Preserves, with 3 grams of fiber
These are just a few examples, so be sure to check out the rest of our Gluten-Free Products!
Fiber has an impact on your digestive system, so it is important to be cautious when you add more to your diet. It is best to increase fiber consumption gradually to avoid an upset stomach. Also, you might want to drink plenty of water when you are adding fiber. This can help prevent bloating and constipation.
Fiber is an unsung hero of dieting and health, but you can change that, now that you know the possible benefits of fiber for weight control, gut health, and other health indicators, such as blood sugar and cholesterol. Eating naturally high-fiber foods, such as vegetables and beans, can help you boost intake. Netrition has a wide variety of additional options, many of them gluten-free, to help you get more fiber as well.