There are so many benefits of fiber and it’s something we all need a bit more of in our daily diets. Our nutritionist Jess is big believer in the benefits of dietary fiber, especially when it's combined with protein. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of and some of Jess’ favorite sources of fiber and protein!
You are what you eat! What you eat and how you eat it are critical to your ability to absorb nutrients and get energy from your food. If your body isn’t able to properly digest and absorb nutrients from food, it will not only affect your health but also how you feel.
Fiber is a cornerstone for health, especially when it comes to digestion. First you should know there are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
_soluble: _ Soluble fibers include foods like fruits, legumes, oats, rye, and barley. These fibers dissolve in water and slows the rate that food passes through the small intestine. This is good because it increases the rate your body can absorb the nutrients from the food.
_insoluble: _Insoluble fibers are also called cellulose which are found in plants so naturally this group of fibers includes foods like wheat bran and vegetables! Cellulose provides several important benefits like the ability to absorb and remove toxins! This contributes to the healthy functions of the digestive tract which tends to absorb water in bulk which is key to a healthy bowel!
So what are the health benefits associated with eating enough fiber in your daily diet?
- lower blood sugar & cholesterol levels
- healthy bowel movements
- possible decreased risk of cardiovascular disease
The first recommendations for how much fiber we should be eating was reported in 2002 by the Food and Nutrition Board. According to their report, men and women 50 years and younger should ingest at least 38 and 25 grams of total fiber each day. And for men and women older than 50 they can lower their intake to at least 30 and 21 grams per day.
Proteins are the major structural components of all cells of the body and has many essential roles in the body. Protein helps keep all of the following aspects of your body healthy:
- immune system
- blood circulation
- muscle tissue
- structural hormones
- skin, hair and nails
Protein also provides a source of fuel when your muscle glycogen levels are low (from prolonged, intense exercise!) so it’s important to select foods that are a source of protein before and after workouts.5 protein myths debunked
Looking for foods that fit the “slow burning” criteria for an energy boost? Below are a few of Jess’ favorite foods that are high in fiber and a source of protein!
- brown rice
- sweet potato
- beans and lentils
- butternut squash
- pumpkin seeds
- nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans)
*Trumbo P, Schlicker S, Yates AA, Poos M; Food and Nutrition Board of the Instituteof Medicine, The National Academies. Dietary reference intakes for energy, carbo-hydrate, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein and amino acids. J Am Diet Assoc2002; 102(11): 1621-1630.
Anderson JW, Tietyen-Clark J. Dietary fiber: hyperlipidemia, hypertension, andcoronary heart disease. Am J Gastroenterol1986;81(10):907-919.*