Fiber is one of those words that’s thrown around a lot, especially when it comes to dieting and healthy eating. Anyone who’s ever tried to lose weight might be frequently told of the importance of fiber in their diet. Fiber’s what you get from fruit and veggies, right? Too many people are confused about where to get fiber, and might not even fully understand how important it is.
Unfortunately, most of us aren’t getting enough fiber. Since the side effects of low fiber intake can often be ignored or even attributed to something else, we might end up not addressing the root problem.
No pun intended, but root vegetables are incidentally a good source of fiber.
Let’s discuss why fiber is so important for a healthy diet and weight loss, and how delicious fiber-rich foods can be.
What is Fiber, and Why Do We Need It?
Fiber is sometimes known as roughage. Fruit, vegetables, and starchy foods such as potatoes are a rich source of fiber. Grains and wholegrain options (for example, wholegrain bread) also contain fiber. Lots of dietary fiber is connected with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, bowel cancer, diabetes, and more.
On the other hand, not getting enough fiber will have a noticeable impact on your daily life and health. Here are a few signs that might indicate you need to up your fiber intake:
- Constipation or irregular bowel movements
Fiber is great for our gut. It promotes digestion, aids healthy weight loss, and makes sure our bowel movements are healthy and regular. Not getting enough fiber can lead to some serious bathroom problems! Fiber actually helps to eliminate toxins from our bodies.
- Digestion problems, such as bloating and gas
Toxins from processed foods, carbonated drinks, and even healthier options like dairy can cause bloating and gas. The fiber in our diet helps to move these toxins along. Of course, if you aren’t getting enough fiber, these toxins will build up.
- Weight gain
Yes, you heard it right. Not eating enough fiber can actually lead to you gaining weight more quickly. Fiber helps to break down carbs and regulate your blood sugar, so without enough fiber in your diet, your metabolism works more slowly. This leads to excess fat over time.
- Low energy
Fiber actually fills us up and cuts cravings (more about that later). Not eating enough fiber means that we’re probably filling up, at best, on protein, fats, and sugars. These are fine in moderation, but they don’t provide the kind of energy our body needs. So we might end up eating more, or craving junk food.
- Bad skin
Skin is an organ, and it’s one that we often overlook. Chances are, our skin will be the first thing to tell us when something’s wrong with our body. Low fiber intake means that toxins aren’t getting flushed from our bodies. This has an impact on our skin, resulting in dull, dry skin. It may even lead to acne problems.
Fiber and Weight Loss
Fiber has plenty of health benefits, not least of all for your gut. We know that fiber bulks out stools and keeps us regular, but it also nourishes good bacteria. This keeps the digestive system healthy and our bowel movements regular. While this doesn’t aid weight loss in itself, it does keep everything in our bodies moving. We’re more likely to lose weight when our bodies are healthy, happy, and working properly.
Most modern diets - especially fad diets - don’t leave us feeling healthy or happy. Many people are beginning to realize that strict, misery-bound eating plans don’t work. Even if they provide some short-term results, they aren’t sustainable. Sooner or later, we’ll cave and go on a food binge.
Losing weight is more about understanding what you eat - and understanding yourself. Food cravings are one of the number-one weight loss obstacles. These cravings can be caused by not eating enough fiber.
Fiber is filling. Foods high in fiber tend to be heavier, taking longer for our bodies to digest. There are also plenty of nutrients in fiber-rich food, and it contains enough energy to keep us going. Simply put, fiber makes us feel fuller for longer. Eating a meal rich in fiber leaves you less likely to feel hungry later on.
So, if you’re trying to lose weight, eating plenty of fiber is a must!
How to Get More Fiber Into Your Diet
First, let’s take a look at a few high-fiber foods.
- Fruit (pears, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, apples, and more are all great for high fiber)
- Vegetables (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, kale, spinach, and more)
- Peas and legumes
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and more)
- Chia seeds
- Dark chocolate
Fiber is definitely not limited to fruits and veggies. There are plenty of foods, including others not listed here, which you can add to your meals for an extra fiber kick. Meal plans are a good idea. Left to our own devices at the last minute, chances are, we’ll opt for the easier, unhealthy option. Planning your meals in advance can ensure that you eat well that week.
Of course, revamping your diet can be a little intimidating. What should you eat? How can you make yourself try new things? What if you don’t have time to create meal plans?
A food programme could be the best option for you. Food programmes are pre-prepared meals delivered to your door, ready to eat. These meal plans can take the stress out of cooking healthy meals every day - and they’ll save you time, too. You can pick a food programme that’s best for you.
Understanding Your Body
The first step to weight loss is understanding yourself, your body, and your habits. Taking the time to learn more about yourself and your eating plans could be as simple as an online masterclass.
Our understanding of how healthy eating and weight loss works has been changing over recent years. Let’s be clear: losing weight for one’s health is an admirable goal. All too often, however, it’s drenched in shame and self-denial. Rather than adopting the self-punishing mentality, healthy weight loss comes from a good place.