What was the actual “paleo” diet? Research has found that hunter-gathers ate a large quantity of fiber compared to modern humans! Hunter-gatherers ate around a 100g of fiber per day. While the average American has around 10-20g per day, and the US Dietary Reference Intake is around 25-38g of dietary fiber per day. (1)
Fiber has some amazing benefits! It scrubs the gut of excess mucus and toxins. It attaches to toxin-carrying bile and sends it out of your body. Fiber also provides food for the good microbiota that proliferate your intestines.
A recent NPR repot stated that, if you do not get enough fiber in your diet, the beneficial bacteria in your gut will starve. This can impact your protective mucus lining in the intestinal tract, which supports up to 80% of our immunity.
Research has shown that eating 50 grams of fiber a day can make a difference in your health! Fiber not only helps our digestive system, but it makes us feel great and it tastes good too!
Here our ways you can increase your fiber intake:
1. Eat Greens with Every Meal
Leafy greens are an easy way to consume more fiber because there are so many types. Kale, swiss chard, collard greens, spinach, arugula, and cabbage are also good options. Think about each meal you eat during the day and how you can add greens into it. You can out cook greens on the side with kitchari, you can make a healthy smoothie, or you can add them into your soups for fall!
2. Snack on Fruits and Veggies
In Ayurveda, we suggest to make your snacks fruits and vegetables as they are a natural high-fiber food! This is a simple and straightforward way to consume fiber throughout the day. Here is a list of foods that make great snacks and serve as a great source of fiber:
· Carrot sticks with hummus
· Celery with almond butter
· Broccoli with dairy-free ranch dip
· Cauliflower with hot sauce
· Apple with sunflower seed butter
· Dates with cashews
· Handful of berries
· Pear with cinnamon
· Avocado with sea salt
3. Swap Your Carbohydrates
Have you heard of simple vs. complex carbohydrates? Simple carbohydrates digest quickly as a sugar spike into the bloodstream. Complex carbohydrates digest slowly and the sugars absorb slowly to avoid the spike. This has to do with the fiber in your carbohydrates. If you swap out your simple carbohydrates for complex carbohydrates you increase your fiber intake. These are some simple carb swaps you can do to increase your intake of foods high in fiber.
· Swap white pasta for lentil pasta or zucchini noodles.
· Swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes.
· Swap white bread for whole-grain bread.
· Swap white pizza crust for cauliflower pizza crust.
4. Reduce Your Meat Consumption
This one is a big shift that will produce big results in your fiber intake. When you reduce your meat consumption, you will naturally increase your fiber consumption.
Overall, fiber is a great thing for your digestive tract! Increasing vegetables can lead to feeling fuller for longer, which can lead to weight loss and less cravings. They also provide more micronutrients and help support the break down of our macronutrients and a healthy microbiome. What’s your favorite way to eat fiber?
1. Lieberman D. The Story of the Human Body, Pantheon. 2NY, 2013. P2242. NPR.ord. Can We Eat Our Way To A Healthier Microbiome? It’s Complicated. MAANVI SINGH. November 08, 2013 4:17pm