Are you getting enough high quality fiber?
What many fail to realize is that grain-based fiber is far from ideal as the grains that accompany it can actually promote insulin and leptin resistance. Processed foods are also a poor source of beneficial fiber. So what is fiber and where do you find the good stuff? There are basically two types:
- Soluble fiber, found in cucumbers, blueberries, beans, and nuts. Soluble fiber dissolves into a gel-like texture, helping to slow down your digestion. This helps you to feel full longer, which can help with weight control
- Insoluble fiber, found in foods like dark green leafy vegetables, green beans, celery, and carrots, does not dissolve and helps add bulk to your stool. This makes food to move through your digestive tract more quickly for healthy elimination
The same cannot be said for grains (including whole grains) and processed foods, as the carbohydrates found in both can serve as fodder for microorganisms that tend to be detrimental to health. Gliadin and lectins in grains may also increase intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome.
Leaky gut can cause digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas, and abdominal cramps, as well as cause or contriande to many others symptoms such as fatigue, skin rashes, joint pain, allergies, psychological symptoms, and more.
So, to maximize your health benefits, focus on eating more vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Following is a small sampling of foods that contain high levels of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Organic whole husk psyllium is another effective option. Taking it three times a day could add as much as 18 grams of dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble) to your diet. Opting for an organic version of psyllium will prevent exposure to pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers, as conventional psyllium is a very heavily sprayed crop. I also recommend choosing one that does not contain additives or sweeteners, as these tend to have a detrimental effect on your microbiome.
Boost your health and efforts by eating more fiber
There's little doubt that fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. According to a report by the Council for Responsible Nutrition Foundation (CRNF), when American adults over the age of 55 with heart disease took psyllium dietary fiber daily, it could reduce health care costs by nearly $4.4 billion a year. These savings would primarily be related to reductions in heart disease-related medical events. The report estimated that it costs a mere 30 cents per day to take psyllium fiber at "preventive intake levels," noting that it also helps support healthy cholesterol levels by inhibiting its absorption in your intestine.
Just keep in mind that all sources of fiber are not created equal. Fresh whole vegetables are among the best. And while many recommend whole grains, I caution against whole grains if you're already struggling with insulin and leptin resistance and half of all Americans are as whole grains will raise your insulin and leptin levels, thereby exacerbating your condition.
Moreover, processed grains and processed foods boasting added fiber are more or less worthless, and will not provide you with the health benefits you're looking for. If you still fall short of the recommended 30-32 grams per day (20 grams being a bare minimum), consider adding organic psyllium husk and/or sprouted sunflower seeds to your diet, both of which can help bring you closer to this ideal amount, along with plenty of high-fiber vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.