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High Fiber Diet: Health Benefits And Whole-Day Recipes

High Fiber Diet: Health Benefits And Whole-Day Recipes

Fiber is probably the least exciting word in the field of health and nutrition. Wouldn’t you agree? It reminds us all of those chalky powders we see advertised on television, and it seems like such a boring way to add nutrition to our plates. We all know we need fiber, but what in the world does that look like on a day-to-day plate, and what are the benefits of eating a high-fiber diet?

The average woman needs anywhere from 30–35 grams a day of fiber each day and men need anywhere from 30–45 grams per day for optimal digestive, weight, and heart health. The dietary requirements for fiber set by the national government have changed over the years but have tended to range between 20 and 35 grams per day. Normally, fiber intake is usually best anywhere between 30 and 35 grams at a minimum. What does fiber actually do, though, and why is it really that important?

Fiber is one of the most crucial parts of an optimal nutrition plan because it does much more than regulate our digestive tracts. A high-fiber diet can keep you from getting sick, overweight, regulate your blood sugar, and even help you drop unwanted pounds without cutting calories!

Here’s why fiber is a nutrient you should be excited about.

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    1. It eliminates harmful cholesterol from your body via bowels and arteries so you can feel energized and healthy!
    2. It keeps you feeling squeaky clean inside so you don’t get sluggish from poor digestion. Hey, we all love that, right?
    3. It balances your blood sugar levels so you don’t get the “hangry” (hungry-angry) feeling after a meal when your blood sugar shoots up and down and then goes all over the place due to you consuming too much sugar and refined carbs.
    4. It feeds the good bacteria in your digestive tract so bad bacteria doesn’t take over. Fiber is your good gut flora’s favorite food!
    5. When it comes from whole foods (versus pills), you also take in more nutrients with the fiber that help your body absorb more nutrients from your food because fiber slows down the release of food through your system so you get the most benefits.

    What about fiber and weight loss?

    You may have heard that fiber can help you lose weight, and yes, that’s very true. Here’s why: fiber is only found in plants, and therefore, in carbs. When you consume fiber-rich carbs, you benefit your blood sugar levels, stay fuller longer, and you also optimize gut flora. Low-fiber foods like processed carbs, sugar, meat, and excessive animal products can lead to digestive sluggishness and weight gain because of the lack of fiber. So, fill your plate up with plants and go for at least 2 cups at each meal if you can.

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    If you want to know more about weight loss, you can’t miss the following article that provides all useful tips you need:

    Weight Loss Plan And Program: Create Your Own One

    What types of fiber exist?

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      There are two main types of fiber: insoluble and soluble fiber. You need both insoluble and soluble fiber to function optimally. But before we talk about why, let’s see what soluble and insoluble fiber actually are and what they do.

      Soluble fiber is like a gel: it soaks up with water in your digestive tract and moves food slowly out of the body in a gentle way. It’s very important to consume enough water when you consume soluble fiber to optimize the way this fiber works. Soluble fiber is excellent for the heart and is very gentle on the body. Common sources of soluble fiber include puréed pumpkin, applesauce, berries, banana, avocado, artichoke hearts, winter squash, potatoes, apples, pears, chia seeds, oatmeal, and other similar foods.

      Insoluble fiber is like a broom; it sweeps food quickly through the digestive tract more quickly and comes from foods like broccoli, leafy greens, corn, flax, wheat bran, coconut, most nuts, cucumbers, celery, cauliflower, and other similar fibrous foods. Insoluble fiber is the most well-known for fighting constipation and can be helpful if you are suffering from sluggishness. However, soluble fiber can do the same depending on how your body works and digests fiber. Insoluble fiber can cause a bit of discomfort for people sensitive to it, but there’s no need to fear it. Start consuming insoluble sources of fiber slowly and be sure to pair them with soluble foods every time you consume them.

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      What does a day of enough fiber look like?

      Here’s an idea of what a day full of fiber looks like that won’t leave you in pain from fiber overload or leave you chugging fiber powders.

      Breakfast

      Raspberry-Multigrain-Super-Porridge-by-Heather-McClees-Vegan-plantbased-noaddedsugar

        Image Source: The Soulful Spoon

        1. Morning Green Protein Smoothie

        2 cups spinach, 1 cup frozen berries, a plain cup of Greek yogurt for protein or protein powder, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds of flax seeds, and 1/2 a frozen banana or 1/2 an apple.

        2. Creamy Fiber Oatmeal Bowl

        1/2 cup rolled oats cooked with non-dairy milk or water and served with 1/2 cup berries and 1 tablespoon chia or flax seeds. Add a plain cup of yogurt on the side with more berries if you desire extra protein.

        Lunch

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        salmon-518032_1920

          3. Fiber-Rich Protein Salad

          2 cups greens of choice, 4 ounces lean protein of choice, 1/2 a chopped cucumber, 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, 1 cup chopped and roasted squash or sweet potatoes, 2 tablespoons avocado and a lemon/vinaigrette style dressing.

          4. Protein and Veggie Plate

          4 ounces your choice protein, 1/4 cup cooked quinoa or wild rice, 1 cup steamed broccoli, 1 cup roasted squash or sweet potato and your choice healthy fat (2 tablespoons avocado, 1/4 cup nuts seeds, 1 whole egg, or 1/4 cup olives).

          Dinner

          30-minute-CHICKPEA-Sweet-Potato-BUDDHA-Bowls-A-complete-meal-packed-with-protein-fiber-and-healthy-fats-with-a-STELLAR-Tahini-Lemon-Maple-Sauce-vegan-glutenfree-healthy

            Image Source: Minimalist Baker

            5. Nutrient-Dense Soup

            1/2 cup no-salt-added black beans or lentils, 1 cup chopped veggies (onions, peppers, zucchini, etc.), 1 cup low sodium veggie broth, 1 can no-salt-added tomatoes, and a little oregano and black pepper. Add 2 cups of water and cook in a slow cooker for 2 hours on high.

            6. Buddha Bowl

            1/2 cup chopped wild rice or quinoa, 4 ounces protein of choice (salmon, tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils, 2 eggs, etc)., chopped cucumber or celery, and 2 cups mixed veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots are great). Top with your favorite condiments (hot sauce, salsa, mustard, etc.), and enjoy!

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            Don’t Forget

            water

              1. Drink at least 8 cups of water per day and water-rich drinks such as herbal tea. Even coffee counts, but too much (more than 2 cups) can dehydrate you, so make up for this by consuming more plain water if you consume excessive caffeine.

              2. Be sure you get some movement each day. Movement helps move fiber through your body so it can do its job. I’ve found a daily walk is perfect and does wonders!

              3. Mix up the different sources of fiber you consume so your body learns to use different types on a regular basis. This will help keep you healthy long-term and optimize gut flora function.

              4. If you have discomfort, cut back on beans, legumes, and excessive grains. Go for more fruits, vegetables, and implement 5 grams of fiber less per day to help your body adjust.

              5. Think of fiber every single time you go to make a meal. Remember, whole foods are best and real food is always better than processed sources of fiber or high-fat sources.

              For more fiber tips and ideas to include more into your day, check out these fiber-rich foods into your day. 

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              Last Updated on October 5, 2020

              Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

              Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

              Intermittent fasting weight loss is a type of diet that’s rapidly growing in popularity and becoming the way to lose weight. Scientists and nutrition experts like it, too. New books and articles on the topic are being published daily. Intermittent fasting is also popular with followers of the Paleo diet since our ancestors appear to have eaten this way for thousands of years.

              I’ve been following this type of diet myself for 2 years. Doing so helped me lose and keep off 70 pounds without ever having to count calories, limit carbohydrates, or eat 6 to 7 meals a day.

              This article teaches you all about intermittent fasting weight loss and details why it is one of the best weight loss diet hacks around. Once you finish, you will be able to implement into your diet and experience the benefits it offers almost immediately.

              What Is Intermittent Fasting?

              As you may have figured from its name, intermittent fasting weight loss is a diet plan where you set fasting periods during the day. This is usually between 16-20 consecutive hours, but it can be as little as 12 hours or as much as 24 hours (or even 36 hours).

              While fasting you can eat and drink low calorie or calorie-free foods. Think coffee, tea, water, and vegetables.

              The more time you spend fasting every day, the better your results. You can do these fasts as often as you like. Again, the more often you do so, the better[1].

              Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting

              Following this diet plan is super simple. All you have to do is choose a period of time during the day that you will fast. This should be between 16-20 hours.

              The longer you fast each day, the better. Don’t worry about calorie restriction or measuring carbohydrates. Just focus on going about your day until it’s time to eat.

              It’s best to choose a set period of time to conduct your fast. I like to fast from 8 PM to 4 PM the following afternoon. I’ll then have my first meal of the day and a snack or two a few hours later. Once 8 o’clock rolls around, it’s back to fasting.

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              My experience with intermittent fasting is that it’s best to start with a 16 hour fast (i.e. 8PM one evening to 12PM the next day) for the first 1-2 weeks. Once you are comfortable with this schedule, you can increase the amount of time you spend fasting. Do this by adding 30 minutes to each fast until you get to where you are fasting for 20 hours at a time.

              You don’t have to fast every day in the beginning either. You may be more comfortable breaking in slowly with 2 or 3 days per week, or trying alternate day fasting. Add additional days of intermittent fasting as you become more comfortable with this style of eating.

              Tips To Make Intermittent Fasting Easier

              1. Drink Plenty of Water

              Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice into your water to help get rid of any cravings you experience. You can also drink coffee, tea, or other calorie-free beverages. After a few weeks, you will find that intermittent fasting keeps you from craving sugar entirely.

              2. Take in Caffeine in the Morning and Early Afternoon

              The caffeine in coffee and tea may actually make intermittent fasting weight loss a little easier since it’s good for curbing your appetite. Be careful not to overindulge as this may lead to you feeling a little too wired. I also recommend these natural energy boosting tips to keep you going during the day.

              3. Avoid Artificially Flavored Drinks

              One type of calorie-free drink that should be avoided are diet sodas and other beverages that use artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Sweet & Low. Studies show that the can actually stimulate your appetite[2] like a drink that contains sugar and cause you to overeat.

              4. Don’t Gorge at Your First Meal

              The first meal after your fast should be the amount of food you typically eat. Binging will only make you feel awful and diminish the benefits you get from the fast.

              To avoid this, try creating meal plans, at least for the first few weeks. This will help you get into the rhythm of eating regularly portioned meals during your eating window.

              5. Minimize Processed Carbohydrates and Sugars

              While intermittent fasting does make it possible to eat a little looser than normal, you should still eat as little bread, pasta, rice, etc. as possible.

              Focus instead on eating protein from beef, fish, or pork, carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, and sweet potatoes, and healthy fats from foods like almonds, avocados, fish, and olive oil.

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              You can find some carb sources that will aid your weight loss journey here.

              How Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight

              Eating this way has many benefits with regard to weight loss. The first is that when you’re fasting, your body will be forced to use its stored body fat for energy. Burning calories this way, instead of from the food you’re eating throughout the day, will help you experience significant weight loss, but specifically lose weight from any excess body fat you’re carrying.

              This means that you won’t just be thinner, but you will also look better and be much healthier than if you lose weight the old-fashioned way[3].

              Intermittent fasting can help optimize the release of the key fat-burning hormones in your body. This is especially true for the two most important hormones: human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin.

              Human growth hormone plays a key role in turning on your body’s fat-burning furnace so that it gets the calories you need to work and play from stored body fat. Studies show that fasting can significantly increase the production of HGH[4].

              The influence intermittent fasting weight loss has on insulin is just as impressive and possibly more important. Keeping your insulin levels low and steady is key to losing excess fat and keeping it off.

              Diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, cookies, and soda) have the opposite effect. They cause your insulin levels to rapidly spike and then crash every time you eat one of these foods. The net result of this phenomenon is that your body will store more of what you eat as excess body fat instead of burning it off as energy.

              Chronically elevating your insulin levels like this can also lead to the development of type II diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems. Intermittent fasting easily solves this problem.

              One study found that men who participated in intermittent fasting had “dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity”[5].

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              This happens because you’re not giving your body food, so it will not produce insulin, allowing insulin levels to balance out until you eat again. This helps your body stay in a calorie and fa-burning state. You’ll also find that it gives you more energy throughout the day.

              Another great weight loss benefit of intermittent fasting is that hunger pangs and cravings that may normally plague you throughout the day will be reduced, if not altogether eliminated. This is probably due to its ability to balance your insulin and blood sugar levels and, in turn, help correct other hormonal imbalances.

              Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss FAQs

              Now that you know what intermittent fasting is and how to get started, it’s time to answer your other questions.

              Below are answers to the questions frequently asked about intermittent fasting. These answers should help you and make getting started a lot easier.

              How Much Weight Will I Lose?

              The amount of weight you lose with fasting is determined by how often and long your fasts are, what you eat afterward, and other factors. Fasting for 16-20 hours a day can help you safely lose 2-3 pounds of fat every week.

              While losing this much weight every week is great, it’s how it makes it happen that’s really cool. Losing weight with intermittent fasting means that you will never have to count calories or plan and prepare several meals a day.

              Can I Work out While Fasting?

              Yes, you can. In fact, doing the right type of workout while fasting will help you lose weight faster and even build muscle.

              The best workouts to do while fasting for weight loss are 3-4 intense strength training workouts weekly. This means anything from standard strength training to kettlebell or body weight workouts.

              Focus on doing 3-4 total body exercises per workout with as little rest as possible between sets. Doing this will help you burn more calories during and after your workout. You’ll also build muscle, which will help you look and feel better as the weight comes off.

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              Won’t I Lose Muscle When I Fast?

              First of all, you aren’t fasting long enough for your body to start breaking down muscle for energy. You have, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of calories from your stored body fat to use before that will begin to happen. Studies actually show that even after fasting for 3 days, no muscle is lost.

              Is Fasting Safe?

              As long as you are healthy, not pregnant, and aren’t taking medications, fasting is safe. Like all diets, you should discuss it with your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting style of dieting.

              I also feel that it may not be smart to follow this type of diet when you’re especially stressed. Since this diet can be a little stress-inducing at first, doing so when your ability to be relatively stress-free and rested probably isn’t a good idea.

              Are There Any Supplements I Can Take to Make Fasting Easier?

              As with any other weight loss plan, it’s a good idea to take a few nutritional supplements to ensure that your daily requirements are met. This includes a once or twice daily multi-vitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D.

              I’ve also found taking 10 grams of branch chain amino acids before and after my workouts really helps, too. They’re great for giving you more energy during your workout and decreasing post-workout muscle soreness.

              For supplements to specifically help with digestion, check out this article.

              Conclusion

              Now you know what intermittent fasting is and how it can help you lose weight quickly, safely, and pretty much effortlessly.

              If you want to give it a try, find a fasting schedule that fits with you lifestyle and give it a go.

              More About Intermittent Fasting

              Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

              Reference

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