If you read my last blog A Dietitian’s #1 Secret to a Healthy Weight… (link blog) then welcome back! If not, head on over there to catch up before we dive in.
When you look at a nutrition label, you will see ‘total fiber’ underneath the carbohydrate content. Fiber is found naturally in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts & seeds, but it also can be an added ingredient to some processed foods like cereals, breads, bars, and yogurt.
Research has moved past defining fiber as simply insoluble versus soluble and created more specific categories based on the functions of fibers: viscous fibers, fermentable fibers and bulking fibers. So, which kind of fiber do you need?
Viscous fibers form a gel which can reduce LDL cholesterol, control blood sugar and increase fullness. This is a great fiber for you if you have chronically high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and/or want weight loss.
Fermentable fibers, commonly known as prebiotics, are used as food for the healthy bacteria in our gut and can suppress inflammation in a wide variety of chronic diseases. While everyone needs some fermentable fibers, these foods can cause stomach discomfort and gas in some individuals, especially with underlying gut issues. Be mindful of slow eating and thorough chewing when increasing these foods in the diet.
Bulking fibers can firm up loose stools and help stabilize motility. Don’t need to say much here ☺ If dealing with chronic loose stools I would also recommend checking out our MRT food sensitivity testing.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a few tips for increasing fiber:
#1: Check and compare food labels. If you’re considering two different brands of whole wheat tortillas, check the label for which has more fiber.
#2: Get creative – look up ways to use specific foods like adding seeds to smoothies, salads, oatmeal.
#3: Stay stocked with non-perishable foods on hand that you know have high fiber content: oatmeal, quinoa, go-go squeeze happy tummies applesauce pouches, canned beans, bars, nuts, seeds, etc.
Now… I’ll leave you to it. Happy fiber hunting!
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