How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you eat every day?
The answer could leave a lot of room for improvement for your overall health.
1 in 10 adults don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables…. NINETY PERCENT of U.S. adults! We hope you aren’t in that group, but if you are, we want to help you join the ten percent.
The USDA’s MyPlate program recommends about 1.5-2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables each day. It’s really not as intense as you might think: one solid smoothie at breakfast, soup instead of chips at lunch, and a big salad at dinner would just about cover you.
We know these plant-based foods provide our body with essential nutrients, including fiber, and do a lot to stave off chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. But until recently, scientists could’t exactly pinpoint the deeper value of that fiber. When you know better, do better, as Maya Angelou said, and armed with some fresh studies on the subject, we should all aim to do better here!
These studies have found that dietary fiber feeds the billions of bacteria living in our guts, our microbiome. They actually eat the fiber before our bodies absorb what’s left. This keeps the bacteria, our intestines, and our immune systems happy, and when they’re happy our whole mind and body is happy. (After all, some 95% of serotonin, the happiness chemical, is produced in the stomach.)
When the mouse subjects in these studies followed a low-fiber/high-fat diet, that bacteria population crashed and shrunk. When fiber was introduced to this high-fat diet, they showed weight loss and a healthier bacteria population.
What scientists have discovered is that our bodies need a variety of dietary fiber to feed the many types of gut bacteria. And when we do that, the ecosystem in our stomachs remains balanced, our immune systems are stronger and our bodies have less inflammation and disease, and more energy!
Best Dietary Fiber Sources
You won’t need supplements if you can just add these naturally fibrous foods to your diet. Reach your fiber goals and fruit and vegetable goals all in one bite!
- Brussels sprouts
- Walnuts, Almonds, Pecans
- Apples (with skin)
- Pears (with skin)
- Brown Rice
- Pearled Barley
- Whole grain pasta and bread
What's your favorite source of fiber?