By now we should all be aware of how important fiber is in our diets. There are literally hundreds of scientific studies proving the benefits of fiber are nothing short of miraculous, from bowel elimination and weight loss to decreased bad cholesterol and more. Bowel elimination is very important as many health experts and doctors agree that the immune system is very much dependent on gut health. That is why probiotics, enzymes, and fiber have become so important in any healthy meal plan.
What Are the Different Types of Fiber?
There are two types of fiber that come from our foods, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers are found in berries, oranges, nuts, and vegetables like cucumbers and Brussels sprouts. This type of fiber dissolves into a gel-like substance and slows down digestion, helping you to feel full for a longer period of time. Soluble fiber will also help you assimilate nutrients.
Insoluble fiber, found in foods like green leafy vegetables, celery, and carrots, does not dissolve at all and helps add bulk to your stool. This helps food move through your digestive tract for quick and healthy elimination.
Supplements like flax seeds, chia seeds, and psyllium husks are loaded with fiber and can enhance the effects of bulking and elimination. Think of the bulking and elimination process of insoluble fiber as a method to literally scrub your intestines clean. As you probably have figured out many foods, especially fruits and vegetables, naturally contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
How Much Fiber Do I Need?
A generally accepted guide for fiber amounts is 25g per day for women and 38g for men. I believe body weight will play a role in this as well. If you are a 120-pound man, you might want to be on the lower side and likewise for a heavier woman. Also try and get equal amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet.
Everyone has a different metabolism and tolerance for digesting fiber. I know people who literally double the recommended intake and love it. Start slow and see what works best for you. I love to add a couple tablespoons of psyllium and flax seeds to my shake to make sure I get plenty of fiber every morning.
Be sure to drink plenty of water when you're focusing on fiber in your diet. This will aid in the elimination process, plus it is always healthy to stay hydrated. Stop by your local Max Muscle Nutrition store for more information from our Certified Fitness Nutrition Coaches. MS&F