Focus on Nutrition: Fiber

Today we are going to focus on the “F” word – FIBER!!

I hear many folks say they are worried about getting enough protein. That should be the least of your worries – if you eat real food and get enough calories, it is IMPOSSIBLE to be protein deficient. We will dive deep into protein in another post, so stay tuned.

It may surprise you to know that over 95% of Americans are fiber deficient!

Many people get less than 5g of fiber per day while the RDA is 25g for women and 35g for men. In reality, that is not enough! Our ancestors ate over 100g of fiber per day. Yes, even type O’s, even the hunter gatherers, ate lots of fiber as they were often more successful at gathering than at hunting. Fortunately, we do not have to shoot for 100g, but should aim for at least 40g per day.

Can you name some benefits of eating more fiber? 

The list is almost endless. 

  • Reduced risk of cancers, particularly colon cancer
  • Reduction in heart disease
  • Lower rates of type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Improved bowel function (aka rarely if ever experiencing constipation)
  • And of course, a smaller waistline

Fiber makes you feel full and keeps the bacteria in your colon (your gut microbiome) happy and working for you as they churn out short chain fatty acids.

What is your favorite way to eat more fiber? Personally, I love beans and oats! I use oats as a topping for apple crumble and dark chocolate oat bites chocolate at least once a week. Whole grains like oats and quinoa provide fiber and support a healthy gut. Legumes such as black beans, lentils, and hummus are other great sources of fiber.

Since the gut is a major center of immune activity, it’s also important to keep it balanced and fiber helps with that! Whole grains and legumes (beans) also contain B vitamins and zinc for added immune support. The fiber in oats activates natural killer cells due to their high Beta-glucan content. 

Not ready for tons of beans yet? Try sweet potatoes, carrots, and broccoli. They are all great sources of fiber and antioxidants! If you are new to eating more fiber, go low and slow by increasing your intake by a serving per week – your stomach will thank you for it.

Here are some easy ways to get more fiber in your diet.

  • Include steel cut oats mixed with a tablespoon of ground flaxseed as part of a healthy breakfast.
  • Choose whole grain breads such as Ezekiel.
  • Try a bean burrito instead of a taco the next time you go out for Mexican food.

Here are a few additional recipes for inspiration. Notice that they are all vegetarian. That is because animal protein contains no fiber. Feel free to add your favorite Blood Type meat to the Black Bean Chili  and have the Four Bean Salad as a side with your protein if desired.

Remember, for a healthy digestive system, reduced chronic and acute disease risk as well as a strong immune system, eat more fiber everyday!

If you need help adding fiber to your diet or losing weight, check out our health coaching and nutrition services, as well as our new medical weight loss program! We are here for you! 

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Jane Bowser, Ed.D

Jane Bowser, Ed.D

Dr. Jane Bowser is a certified health coach, nutritionist, and personal trainer, blending academic expertise with a passion for holistic wellness.