In the fitness and bodybuilding world, there’s a great deal of talk about getting sufficient protein, vitamins, minerals, carbs and calories, but fiber seems to take a backseat to dietary needs. However, fiber plays just as an important a role in good health, preventing many illnesses and greatly aiding in weight loss. Most Americans fall short of the recommended doses of fiber to maintain good health. Figures released by the Harvard School of Public Health reveal that the average American only consumes 15 grams of daily dietary fiber. The recommended amount is at least 20 grams with 30 or more grams being ideal.
A high-fiber diet is a big player in weight loss and weight maintenance. Because foods high in fiber are more dense, they take longer to chew and longer to digest which means they give our brains time to register that we’re full and, therefore, we eat less.
Fiber rich foods also have a tendency to contain lower levels of calories. Combined with a higher volume of density, this means you get more food with less fat storage potential.
Fiber is more than just filling. It also acts like a sponge when it travels through the intestines. Dietary fiber absorbs fats and other particles that can cause plaque formation in the arteries before they have a chance to enter the bloodstream.
A direct result of eating fiber is a healthier cardiovascular system and a stronger heart. The better your heart beats and the cleaner your circulatory system is the more exercise you can do and the more oxygen and nutrients can arrive to your growing muscles.
The bulk of dietary fiber actually moves more smoothly through your bowels, easing pressure, gas, bloating and constipation. It also works to relieve such intestinal problems as irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis and hemorrhoids.
Weight lifters and bodybuilders consume a great deal of food throughout the day in order to increase muscle mass, not to mention consume a large amount of dietary supplements. Fiber is therefore an important addition to the diet to ensure the digestive tract is kept running smoothly.
The Best Fiber Foods
When it comes to adding fiber to a nutritious diet, look to the following high-fiber foods to complete the task:
Fruits and Vegetables – Staples in a healthy diet, fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients, easy to prepare, many are portable and they provide a good supply of fiber to your fitness diet.
Legumes – There are a large variety of legumes so planning delicious meals that vary in texture and taste isn’t a problem. It’s well known in fitness circles that beans, peas and other legumes pack a protein punch, but they are also great sources of dietary fiber.
Whole Grains – Whole grain foods such as pastas, breads and cereals are not only more delicious than their refined counterparts, but they are also chocked full of fiber.
Berries – Berries are not only sweet and delicious, but the happen to offer a nice kick of fiber per cup full. Elderberries give a whopping 10 g per cup while raspberries and blackberries provide 8 g each per cup.
Nuts – Nuts are another good fiber source and make a wonderful snack or a good addition to a salad or vegetable dish.
When preparing your healthy dietary plan, be sure to think about and include good doses of fiber rich foods. They will help to keep you healthy and in tip-top shape as you progress towards your total fitness goals.