Humans are funny. We’ll do just about anything to ‘get an edge (as long as its obscure and only gives us a .1% advantage in my observations). When it comes to ‘low-hanging fruit (pun intended) that’ll give us a 10,20 or even 30% improvement, we tend to walk past that writing it off as boring coz you know, it just ain’t sexy!
But there’s this one crazy health hack that’ll improve your outcomes more than nearly anything else you may try.
Lower fat absorption and help with weight management.
Stabilize blood sugar (glucose) levels.
Help with feeling satisfied after meals.
Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease: By lowering cholesterol levels, stabilizing blood sugars, and decreasing fat absorption.
Feed healthy gut bacteria, improving gut health which then has a follow on effect of positive health improvements in other parts of the body (brain, circulatory and cardiovascular)
Ok, enough already Dan, what is it?
Yep, that mystical compound that your crazy uncle was trying to un-earth in his daily double dose of Metamucil.
Turns out this stuff really matters.
It matters so much that in a recent research paper released by Harvard….
Two observational studies showed that dietary fiber intake is also associated with a decreased risk of death from any cause. Those eating the highest amount of fiber reduced their risk of dying by 23% compared to those eating the least amount of fiber.
And whilst the daily recommended dose is approximately 20-30g per day, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that 50-60g per day is optimal (although 20g per 1000 calories consumed is probably a better way to work it out).
But what does that look like?
Well, check out the image below to get an idea of how much fiber there is in these often-consumed items.
And what’s the difference between soluble and insoluble?
Soluble and insoluble are the two main types of fiber. Many fiber-rich foods contain some of both.
Both forms of fiber have health benefits with insoluble fiber being devoid of absorbable calories and serving as an assistant in detoxifying your system (by moving byproducts through the system).
Humans have been using fiber as a dietary aid since ancient times.
In a society built on refined carbohydrates, or white bread, pasta, and sugar sweeteners, getting enough fiber can take effort.
But with some mindfulness and planning it’s pretty easy to get your numbers up there (more on that below).
Follow your gut for better health
If you’ve been living on planet earth this past decade and have taken any notice of popular mainstream reporting on health, you’ll have noticed a bit of buzz around gut health.
It’s not just empty rhetoric either (as most media tends to be).
Nope, gut health is seriously important stuff.
The ‘guts’ of it is that your gut is an ecosystem where we need to maintain a balance of more ‘good’ bacteria than ‘bad’.
By doing this we set our body up for better digestion, better cardiovascular health, energy, and weight management (as bad bacteria dominance can make you tired, hungry, and generally unhappy). There are all obviously important things.
And the things we can do that have the biggest impact on gut health?
Exercise (Recent studies suggest that exercise can enhance the number of beneficial microbial species, enrich the microflora diversity, and improve the development of commensal bacteria. All these effects are beneficial for the host, improving its health status.)
Fiber intake. Think of fiber as the prebiotic that the good bacteria will feed on and multiply from. Not enough fiber and the good guys just don’t have the energy to grow their family from.
Cultured foods. Sourkraut, kefir and other cultured foods are packed with good bacteria that when eaten in conjunction with enough fiber can really improve the internal environment.
Strategies for increasing fiber intake
So we’ve established now that focusing on increased fiber intake is a good thing, but how do we achieve that? Well, here’s a simple dot-point list for doing just that.
Aim to have veggies at each meal.
Consume fruit for your snacks.
Have a protein shake with some fruit (I like bananas, strawberries and blueberries) for breakfast, I also add psyllium husk or slippery elm powder. These are fiber supplements that are inexpensive and easy to buy from the supermarket.
When at work I also have a simple snack of all bran with Whey protein powder. This helps me up my fiber and hit my protein target with ease.
Focus on working the foods on these images into your diet as a matter of frequency.
Author - Dan Lowry
Dan Lowry is the owner of GTT Performance Centre and a Fitness Professional of nearly 20 years. He is an absolute expert in the art of healing his client's drop body fat, while getting stronger and fitter at the same time. He is on a mission to help as many people as possible discover the life-changing benefits of living a fitter and healthier lifestyle. He does this in conjunction with his team of personal trainers from Hobart's premier fitness location.
Want Help? Book a time below.