A fiber-poor diet is associated with a higher risk of developing life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and even bowel cancer.
Meanwhile, a diet rich in fiber makes us feel fuller during the day and promote healthy digestion.
But still, many of us aren’t getting enough fiber into our diets. We should be taking in around 30g of fiber a day, from foods including wholegrain cereals, oats, potatoes, pulses, fruits, and vegetables.
But when do we know if our diet lacks fiber? Let’s find out!
Symptoms Of A Fiber-Poor Diet
Here are some of the signs to look out for when you’re not getting as much fiber in your diet as you need:
Processed foods, dairy, and alcohol are just some of the things that can cause bloating.
Fiber helps to offset these by eliminating them from your body, so without enough fiber, they’ll stick around for longer.
Constipation is when you’re having fewer than three bowel movements a week, and your stools are hard and dry.
Fiber helps things move through your body, keeping your colon working efficiently.
Low fiber foods take longer to digest and therefore can lead to irregular bowel movements.
3. Weight Gain
When you’re taking in optimum levels of fiber, it limits weight gain because carbohydrates are broken down more easily.
Fiber also helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and therefore avoid diseases like diabetes.
A fiber-poor diet is also an indicator of a highly-processed diet, which leads to weight gain and requires attention.
4. Lack Of Energy
If your diet is high in protein but low in carbohydrates – that is it largely consists of meat, eggs, and cheese – you’ll be left feeling tired and weak.
Fiber gives you energy throughout the day and eliminates waste from your body.
5. Bad Skin
Skin is often a strong indicator of what’s going on in the body. Fiber gets rid of toxins, so if this isn’t happening, the skin will look dull.
Diet and acne are also closely linked – fiber soaks up toxins in the blood and gets rid of them through the digestive tract, instead of your skin’s pores.
How Can You Easily Increase Fiber In Your Diet?
Here are a few quick tricks to up your fiber levels:
1. Make It Part Of Your Every Meal
Try including a little bit of fiber as part of every meal. Add fruit to your breakfast, choose a salad for lunch, and cook legumes or vegetables as a side for dinner.
There are countless ways to eat vegetables and fruits with every meal, so take advantage of that.
2. Eat Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are packed with fiber (11 grams per ounce), protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
Sprinkle them on your cereal, yogurt, or even kale to up your fiber levels and promote healthy digestion.
Also, all other seeds and nuts are a good booster for your fiber levels.
3. Opt For Healthy Snacks
Snack smart – choose fruit if you get peckish. Even popcorn is awesome when it comes to a healthy fiber-packed snack.
You can always add interest by eating your apple with peanut butter or freezing mashed fruit with yogurt for a tasty but healthy lolly.
4. Go For Berries
One of the most fiber-rich fruits you can eat is berries with seeds.
To make sure that you choose the ones that are packed with fiber, eat blackberries or raspberries. They have 8 grams of fiber per cup.
Other good fiber options are blueberries with 4 grams of fiber per cup, or strawberries with 3 grams.
Berries are also great because they contain less sugar than other fruits. You can add berries to your morning cereals, salads, and even yogurts to transform them into a sweet and healthy snack.
One more thing you need to know about berries is that they have the same health benefits, fresh or frozen.
5. Don’t Miss Avocados
Another nutritious fruit you need on your plate is avocado. They are filled with healthy fatty acids and lots of fiber.
Just by eating half an avocado, you will get 5 grams of fiber. So ditch the butter and use avocado instead. They are also great for making salad toppings.
6. Fiber Supplements Might Help
When it comes to getting all your nutrients, and here you can include fiber, the best way to do it is by eating healthy foods.
However, if you have low fiber intake, you have other methods to increase your levels: fiber supplements.
Here are a few safe-to-take fiber supplements:
- Glucomannan – helps reduce your appetite and makes you feel fuller.
- Psyllium – great for constipation and reduces hunger between meals.
- Guar fiber – improves the feeling of fullness and reduces the overall calorie intake.
In some cases, fiber supplements can cause stomach discomfort such as bloating. To avoid this, hydrate properly during the day.
Also, fiber supplements can block the absorption of some medications. To make sure this will not happen, take your medication an hour before taking the supplement, or 4 hours after you took the supplement.
As you can see, there are multiple ways to combat the symptoms of a fiber-poor diet. Just pack your meals with vegetables and fruits, and you don’t even need to go for fiber supplements.