Are You Really Eating Enough Fiber?

Fiber causes fermentation in your intestines that improves your microbiota content. But, do you know if you're eating enough fiber? Find out in this article!
Are You Really Eating Enough Fiber?

Last update: 26 May, 2020

Fiber is an essential nutrient when we’re talking about your intestinal health. It’s closely related to your microbiota’s diversity and to the prevention of complex long and short term illnesses.

In fact, getting enough of this nutrient can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, as indicated in a study published in Nature Reviews Endocrinology. Likewise, scientific literature associates fiber consumption with feeling more full.

For these reasons, optimal fiber intake can keep you from constantly snacking between meals, and at the same time reduce the risk of obesity. So, are you eating enough fiber? Keep reading to find out!

Fiber-rich foods

Whole grains, fruit, and vegetables contain a lot of this nutrient. In fact, doctors often recommend eating them for intestinal conditions.

However, nowadays many people eat foods made with refined flour. During the processing of the grain, it loses a large part of its fiber and, therefore, its beneficial properties.

Additionally, many people drink vegetable or fruit smoothies instead of eating them in pieces. Blending fruits and vegetables can reduce the fiber in them, which affects their nutritional value.

For this reason, we recommend you regularly eat raw fruits and vegetables, between meals or with your meals, for example as a salad.

A doctor holding a plate of fruits and vegetables.
Foods with whole grains, and raw fruits and vegetables provide a good amount of dietary fiber.

Fiber and constipation

Fiber is very useful for improving your intestinal transit. It helps increase the size of the fecal ball and stimulate its mobility. Therefore, we recommend that anyone that suffers constipation should eat whole grains.

On the other hand, this nutrient often causes fermentation in your intestines. This causes changes in your microbiota that improve your health. Currently, the organisms in your intestinal flora are related to many organic processes.

In fact, these organisms are even linked to mental health and risk of depression. Aside from this, they’re related to the absorption of nutrients and digestive tract diseases, like diarrhea, constipation, and flatulence.

It’s essential to reduce your consumption of processed foods

Ultra-processed foods, in addition to containing high quantities of simple sugars and trans fats, lack fiber. A diet with high sugar and fat can contribute to unfavorable changes in your microbiota. Therefore, it could increase your risk of suffering complex illnesses in the medium and long term.

Although carbohydrates can be necessary and good for your body’s functions, it’s important to choose fresh foods. Therefore, potatoes, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and other food, can give you a good amount of quality carbohydrates (with a low glycemic index) along with vitamins and fiber.

However, other foods, like pasta and bread, are made with refined flour which almost completely removes their fiber and vitamin content. These foods, additionally, can cause an uncontrolled glucose curve and pancreatic stress due to their rapid absorption.

Breads and pastas made with refined flour don't provide enough fiber.
It’s important to limit your consumption of refined foods, since they’re made with processed ingredients that lose a large part of their fiber.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends you consume between 25 and 30 grams of fiber per day. People who suffer from certain intestinal conditions or constipation might need more.

Additionally, sometimes it can help to take prebiotic supplements that help to stimulate intestinal fermentation. This can help you make positive changes in your microbiota. Of course, regularly eating yogurt and high fiber foods are great ways to maintain your intestinal health over the long term.

Do you eat enough fiber?

It’s possible that, due to the large amount of processed food that you’re exposed to, your fiber intake will be less than the recommended amount. Therefore, we advise you to increase your consumption of whole grains, fruit, and vegetables in order to improve your intestinal health.

However, we have to highlight that it’s important to maintain a varied and balanced diet, which contains all the nutrient groups you need. Regular exercise and staying hydrated are also fundamental to your health.

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  • Leong I., High fibre diet beneficial for T2DM. Nat Rev Endocrinol, 2018. 14 (6): 324.
  • Rebello CJ., O’Neil CE., Greenway FL., Dietary fiber and satiety: the effects of oats on satiety. Nutr Rev, 2016. 74 (2): 131-47.
  • Simpson HL., Campbell BJ., Review article: dietary fibre microbiota interactions. Aliment Pharmacol Ther, 2015. 42 (2): 158-79.