Let’s talk about bowel movements – A topic that isn’t so sexy to discuss but is very necessary for the quality of our lives. What many people do not realize is that our stool actually gives us indication into the state of our health. Bowel movements are one of the main ways in which waste gets eliminated from the body, specifically through the colon. When it comes to a “normal” frequency for bowel movements, a number doesn’t quite exist because everyone’s normal can look different. One thing is for certain though, constipation is far too common in the United States. While there are multiple reasons as to why a person may be struggling with constipation, one of the most common is that they’re lacking enough fiber in their diet.
Men and women require 25 to 38 grams of fiber daily, but most Americans are only getting about 16 to 17 grams on average!
This didn’t used to be as much of an issue as it is now since our ancestors would snack on a lot more fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, and seeds. In present day, many of these fiborous foods have been replaced with an ultra-process diet instead.
This is a definite health concern since a low fiber diet can be linked to different ailments such as IBS, heart disease, and even some cancers. The good news is that there are a variety of ways to improve the amount of fiber you intake! Not only will you start to feel better but it can even improve the health of your skin and help you to lose weight.
If you want to know about some of the best ways you can get more fiber in your diet and benefit your overall health, keep on reading!
1. Eat more fruits!
Starting off the list strong we had to mention the importance of eating enough fruits. Many fruits contain plenty of fiber among other beneficial compounds our bodies need such as minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Also known as nature’s candy, there are such a wide variety of fruits that help keep things going in the digestive system. Although all fruits are a good source of fiber, there are some that have even more than the others.
A few examples include:
- Avocado: 9 grams per fruit
- Raspberries: 8 grams per cup
- Blackberries: 8 grams per cup
- Pomegranate: 7 grams per cup of seeds
- Kiwi: 5 grams per cup
A great way to ensure you’re getting a solid combination of fruits in a delicious way is by making a fruit salad! Just cut up some of your favorite fiber rich fruits and eat them all together. One of the best ways to start the day is with a nice bowl of some fresh fruit. You’ll feel hydrated, refreshed, and nourished after a good night’s sleep. Just make sure to have a protein source shortly afterwards for balance and to stay full!
Did you know that one of the ultimate movie night snacks actually happens to be high in fiber too? Just one serving of air popped popcorn contains 15 percent of the amount of fiber that people need per day. The great thing about popcorn is that it’s also a low calorie food, especially when you make your own homemade without the use of fats or oils. Eating popcorn can keep the bowel movements regular and can even prevent constipation from occurring.
One tip is to make sure that you drink enough water with high fiber sources like popcorn. Without the adequate amount of water alongside fiber it can turn it to gel and make it a lot harder to digest. This can make stool become too bulky and harder to pass.
Coming in at our third option for high fiber foods are lentils! This small but mighty plant-based legume is low in fat and packs a fibrous punch! Just one cup of lentils contains 15.6 grams of fiber! Another notable mention is that lentils are extremely nutritious and contain B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and potassium.
There are different types of lentils that vary in size, color, and texture. Some of the varieties available include brown lentils, French lentils, Green, Yellow, Red, and beluga! Each of these varieties have distinct characteristics and keep you feeling satiated and full!
There are many great ways to enjoy lentils, you can add them into curries, soups, stews, salads, and bowls!
Here is a great resource for you to browse through if you want some interesting ways to use lentils: PickupLimes.
4. Sweet potato
Rich in orange and prominent in the antioxidant, beta carotene, sweet potatoes are an amazing option when it comes to getting enough fiber. They’re so versatile and can be eaten boiled, steamed, baked, and even fried. One cup of baked sweet potato with the skin provides 6.6 grams of fiber!
Sweet potatoes contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, both play an important role in a healthy digestive system as they’re necessary for different purposes. Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material, this can help to lower cholesterol and glucose levels. On the other hand, insoluble fiber works to speed the passage of stool through the intestines and adds bulk to it.
Not only are sweet potatoes this excellent source of fiber but they also contain many helpful vitamins and minerals which have been shown to directly benefit our vision, brain function, and the immune system!
5. Whole grains
Did you know that grains such as Bulgur, Quinoa, Whole Wheat, Brown Rice, Buckwheat, and Couscous are rich in nutrients and contain high levels of bran? Bran is the outer coating and shell of a grain which is very high in fiber! Whole grains also contain the endosperm and the germ which are the other two parts that make up the kernel alongside bran. All of these parts have their own unique benefits and provide important health benefits!
Not only will eating enough whole grains provide you with fantastic dietary fiber, but they also supply B vitamins, protein, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and Vitamin E!
6. Chia seeds
Who would have thought that a seed so small could pack such a mighty punch? Chia seeds are an incredible option for supporting constipation as they contain insoluble fiber which helps to create bulky and soft stool. Around 2 1/2 tablespoons of chia seeds comes in at just around 10 grams of fiber!
Chia seeds contain the antioxidants quercetin and caffeic acid which support heart health and even inflammation in the body. Chia seeds are filling and can also be made into chia pudding and topped with nuts, seeds, berries, or any other topping of choice. This is amazing as a quick breakfast on the go and even a snack!
To make the base of a delicious chia pudding it really only takes three simple ingredients: a milk of choice, maple syrup or sweetener of choice, and the chia seeds themselves!
Flax has been cultivated and grown for thousands of years. In Asia, it even had a role in Ayurvedic medicine! The nutrients in flaxseed are phenomenal! This plant-based crop provides healthy fats, antioxidants, and of course, fiber.
Ground flaxseed is an easy way to add onto your fiber needs since it’s versatile and can be sprinkled onto oatmeal, salads, or even added in smoothies.
A great alternative to marine products, flax is one of the richest sources of plant-based omega 3. There are multiple benefits of omega 3’s including skin health and blood pressure control.
As recommended earlier, it’s always important to drink enough water when consuming flaxseed!
Getting enough fiber in your everyday diet doesn’t have to be complicated as there are so many readily available whole food options at our local grocery store! In order for our bodies and mind to thrive and feel best, what we consume is very important. By starting to slowly add more fruits, fiber packed vegetables, seeds, and whole grains into your diet you can start to see an improvement in your digestion and bowel movements!
If you’ve made it this far, we would love to know your feedback and which fiber source is your favortite! Let us know below!