Blog Post

5 Ways to Eat More Fiber for Better Digestive Health

A healthy diet is essential for optimal health, which often starts in the gut. Your gut health controls a lot of the rest of your body, and eating plenty of fiber can help you keep your digestive system healthy.

It can be hard to know where to start when dealing with your gut health, but the team at Gateway Gastroenterology is here to help at our offices in Ballwin, St. Louis, and Chesterfield, Missouri.

Our team comprises six gastroenterologists who provide the information you need to get plenty of fiber in your diet for optimal gut health.

Why is fiber important?

Fiber is crucial to any diet because it’s vital for your digestive health. Fiber is the primary fuel for colon cells and keeps bowel movements bulky and moving to prevent constipation.

The bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract break down fiber, yielding short-chain fatty acids, which aid in colon health. Fiber also helps prevent diarrhea and other chronic digestive issues, in addition to constipation.

You can add various forms of fiber to your diet. Soluble fiber dissipates in water and is in oats, legumes, and fruits. Insoluble fiber doesn't dissipate  in water and is in vegetables, seeds, and wheat.

Although fiber is an essential part of your diet, it's possible to get too much. Excessive fiber may lead to bloating and, yes, diarrhea, or constipation, so choose your options wisely.

The many benefits of fiber

Fiber has many benefits to your health, not just your digestive tract. For example, fiber helps you feel full and promotes regular bowel movements for good digestive health. Other benefits of a high-fiber diet include:

Maintaining bowel health

Eating a lot of fiber helps you keep your digestive health intact by preventing diverticular disease and hemorrhoids. It can also prevent colon and rectal cancer later on in life.

Stabilizing blood sugar levels

Fiber is essential to people with diabetes because soluble fiber helps slow the absorption of sugar in the blood. Insoluble fiber may also help prevent type 2 diabetes in people at risk for the condition.

Helping you maintain a healthy weight

Foods that are high in fiber usually fill you up for longer than those that aren’t, which helps you eat less and feel fuller longer. They also typically have fewer calories than foods that don’t contain a lot of fiber.

Lowering cholesterol levels

Soluble fiber helps you reduce “bad” cholesterol levels, which is excellent for overall health. High-fiber foods may also contribute to your overall heart health by lowering blood pressure and helping to control inflammation.

Keeping bowels regular

Regular dietary fiber helps you keep your bowel movements stable and prevents diarrhea and constipation. Fiber makes your stools bulkier and allows them to pass more easily.

Five ways to get more fiber in your diet

Eating more fiber is essential to your gut health, but knowing where to start can be challenging. The team at Gateway Gastroenterology offers the following five tips to get more fiber in your diet, including:

1. Eat more veggies

Vegetables are an essential component of your overall diet but are also essential for a large amount of fiber. High-fiber foods help you feel fuller for longer.

2. Include whole grain carbs

Whole grain carbohydrates are less processed than refined carbs and offer more health benefits, including increased fiber. To increase fiber and improve your digestive health, you must replace most of the refined carbs in your diet with whole grains.

3. Choose fruits for a snack

Pears, apples, and berries are all high-fiber fruits that are great options for a snack. Eating fruits for a snack helps you not only increase your fiber intake but also allows you to control your weight.

4. Eat seeds and nuts

Nuts and seeds offer many nutrients and a lot of fiber to your diet. They're a great snack that punches you with fiber, healthy fats, and protein.

5. Leave the skin on fruits and veggies

The peels or skins of various fruits and vegetables are a good source of insoluble fiber. Instead of peeling fruits or vegetables like apples and potatoes, leave the skins on for an added dose of fiber.

To find out how else fiber can benefit you, call for an appointment with one of our offices in Chesterfield, Missouri, at 314-529-4900 or request a consultation with one of our specialists using our online booking tool.