Are You Getting Enough Fiber?
For years, dietitians have been promoting the importance of getting enough fiber in the diet. However, one of the challenges with the low FODMAP diet is the lack of choices for high fiber foods. This is a common concern as people begin this type of therapeutic diet. Since so many fruits and vegetables are restricted because of the high FODMAP content, how can you get enough fiber each day?
How Much Fiber?
Exactly how much fiber should we be getting in our diet each day? Take a look at this chart to see where you fall. This might seem like a big number, but you will learn here how easy it is to get enough, even if you are on a low FODMAP diet.
How To Add Fiber To Your Diet
Once you figure out how much fiber you should be getting each day, it’s important that you don’t go from zero to, let’s say 30 grams, overnight. You gut will not thank you. This is something that should be done slowly over time. A good start is to increase by a few grams of fiber. This might look like a serving of raspberries on your lactose-free yogurt for lunch. After a couple of days, add a few more grams of fiber. Eventually over a period of a couple weeks, you should be at your target fiber range. As you increase your intake of fiber, keep in mind that you should also be drinking more water.
Now that you have a better idea of how to add more fiber, let’s look at fiber in more detail. Fiber is only found naturally in plant foods. It’s the part of the plant that our bodies can’t absorb. So, it basically just passes through the digestive tract. There are two main types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and helps to lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Foods that are higher in soluble fiber include: oatmeal, peanuts, sesame and sunflower seeds.
On the other hand, insoluble fiber helps to bulk things up and move material through the digestive system. Eating foods such as whole grains, kale, eggplant and raspberries will help ensure you are getting enough insoluble fiber. It’s important to have both kinds of fiber in our diet, and fortunately, most plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes contain a mix of these fibers.
Why Fiber Is Important
We often hear that we should be getting enough fiber in our diet, but why is it so important? For people suffering from constipation, fiber can help your bowels become more regular. Fiber can make it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Eating foods like fruits and vegetables that contain fiber make us feel more satisfied and less likely to overeat. Fiber can also help lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
For those suffering from a digestive condition such as irritable bowel syndrome, fiber can make a difference in the type and variety of bacteria found in your gut. Each of us has over 100 trillion bacteria living in our gut. And the average American adult has over 1,200 different species of bacteria, which is pretty incredible. In order to keep a balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut, it’s important to eat a wide variety of foods that have fiber.
My Top 5 High Fiber Low FODMAP Foods:
Quinoa (1 cup cooked (155 g), 5 grams fiber)
Quinoa makes a great replacement for oatmeal as a hot breakfast. Add some fruit and cinnamon for extra flavor. You can also use quinoa as a stuffing for vegetables such as peppers, zucchini, or squash.
Chia seeds (2 tablespoons (24 g), 10 grams fiber)
Chia seeds are not only a great source of fiber, but also contain omega-3 fatty acids and some minerals like magnesium and calcium. One of my favorite ways to use chia seeds is to add them to a low FODMAP smoothie. They also taste great added to a salad. Try making a quick chia pudding for breakfast by mixing them with coconut or lactose-free milk the night before. If you are looking for a substitute for eggs in baking, 1 tablespoons of chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water works well.
Kiwi fruit (2 small, 5 grams fiber)
The easiest way to enjoy kiwi fruit is simply to eat it as-is. In fact, if you want even more fiber, eat the skin, too. Kiwi fruit tastes great in a low FODMAP smoothie and pairs well with bananas. If you are looking for something a little different, try using it to make a tropical salsa that can be used over grilled chicken or fish.
Raspberries (1/2 cup (about 10), 3.5 grams fiber)
Raspberries pack in plenty of antioxidants and phytonutrients along with fiber. Sprinkle them over a bowl of oatmeal or a lactose-free yogurt for breakfast. Raspberries can be used to make flavored ice cubes to jazz up your water. You can also blend them with lactose-free yogurt and freeze into popsicles for a quick summer treat.
Canned lentils (1/2 cup (46 g), 5.2 grams fiber)
Canned lentils are a great convenience food to keep in your pantry. They can be added to chili or soup for extra fiber, protein, and iron. Lentils can be used as a substitute for meat in burgers or tacos.
One of the easiest ways to get more fiber in your low FODMAP diet is to add Low FODMAP Monash Certified REGULAR GIRL. Read all about this insoluble fiber supplement you can add to almost any meal in our interview with Molly Lawson from Regular Girl.
You Don’t Have to Go Without Fiber!
As you can see, following a low FODMAP diet doesn’t have to mean that you skimp on fiber. There are plenty of high fiber choices that are also low in FODMAPS. With so many benefits for eating fiber, why not get started today and see how your digestion changes over time. You might be surprised by how good you feel.
Department of Gastroenterology, Central Clinical School, Monash University and the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The Monash University Low FODMAP Diet. 2010. Print.
Kuo, Shiu-Ming. “The Interplay Between Fiber and the Intestinal Microbiome in the Inflammatory Response.” Advances in Nutrition (2013): 16-28. Web. 4 May 2017.
Sonnenburg, Justin PhD, and Erica Sonnenburg PhD. The Good Gut. New York: Penguin Books, 2015. Print.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. Web. 6 May 2017. (note: this reference used for table above)