The health of your gut affects everything from your immune system to your moods. More and more studies connect poor gut health to inflammation, and pretty much every chronic disease including obesity. Studies show those who get more fiber in their diets have a healthier body weight, less fat, and a better body mass index (BMI), even after adjusting for other factors.
You may be wondering what fiber has to do with your gut health. Well, the good bacteria in your gut has a favorite food and it’s fiber. Our digestive enzymes don’t break down the fiber we eat from vegetables and other sources. The fiber remains intact as it moves through the digestive tract, and the healthy gut microbes feed off the fiber’s vitamins, nutrients, and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).
When these good bugs don’t get enough fiber some will starve and die off but others can begin eating away at the gut’s mucous lining, which leads to leaky gut syndrome and compromised immunity.
Fiber-rich foods not only fill you up faster and keep you satisfied longer, they also prevent your body from absorbing some of the calories in the foods you eat. Simply by including 30 grams a day, study participants were able to drop between 90 and 130 calories from their daily intake, equivalent to a 9- to 13-pound weight loss over the course of a year. I talked in more detail about the benefits of fiber in this past newsletter.
So what is “adequate” fiber intake? In general, women should get at least 25-30 grams of fiber daily, while men should get at least 30-38. Sadly most people get far less, especially if their diets are composed of packaged, processed foods.
In Today is Still the Day and the companion 7 week coaching plan you limit starchy carbs and grains, which many suggest are among the best sources of fiber. However, grains contain phytic acid which interferes with the absorption of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc. So I recommend focusing instead on non-starchy veggies, fruit in moderation, nuts and seeds as well as some excellent fiber supplements I mention in the newsletter above.
Just be sure you get adequate fiber daily, because researchers have found that the balance of bacteria in the gut can quickly change for the worse as soon you stop getting enough fiber.
Do you make sure you get adequate fiber daily?
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“The health of your gut affects everything from your immune system to your moods…researchers have found that the balance of bacteria in the gut can quickly change for the worse as soon you stop getting enough fiber.” Compelling reasons to eat good sources of fiber. Thanks so much for this.
You’re welcome Debbie and thank you for reading and commenting.
What?! I had no idea that fiber actually absorbs calories. Woot, woot cause I love fiber!
This article really makes me wonder what’s happening to all the people hopping on the keto, or worse – the carnivore, diet bandwagon. That’s got to be wiping out all of their gut bacteria. And I also wonder if there are safe ways for those people to bring their guts back to balance.
Wonderful post as ALWAYS!
I agree Holly. Balance is critical and if your gut isn’t happy, you won’t really be healthy. I think those diets may have a place in specific scenarios, but they’re too extreme for most people in my opinion.
I absolutely agree, Ann! Keto can do some amazing things for specific situations. My concern is how it’s become the latest fad. It’s all over Pinterest and I just cringe at some of the recipes. That’s why it’s so important that people like you continue to spread the truth about diet and nutrition!
Thank you Holly. I definitely agree. I know a lady that started keto last summer wanting to lose weight and ended up having her gallbladder
removed! And didn’t actually lose much weight and felt awful the whole time. i tried to suggest perhaps it didn’t fit with her makeup but it’s hard to change someone’s opinion when everyone is singing the praises.