27 April 2022

Why Fiber is crucial for balancing Hormones.

Many people know fiber is a great friend to have if you’re trying to lose weight, and this is true, but many people don’t know fiber is crucial for hormonal health as well.

Here’s how it works: fiber binds to excess hormones in the body and works to remove them through the colon. If you’re not consuming enough fiber, then instead of being eliminated, excess hormones can be reabsorbed back into your body leading to imbalanced levels.

Fiber has also been shown to play a critical role in stabilizing blood sugar and insulin levels, both of which are immensely important for overall hormone health. Both insoluble and soluble fiber help Hormones and are hugely beneficial for Menopause! 

Think of fiber as having a bit of a split personality, in a good way! There’s insoluble fiber, which is fiber that doesn’t dissolve in water, and soluble fiber, fiber that does dissolve in water. Insoluble fiber works to bulk up the stool, making it softer and easier to pass. It helps to promote bowel health and regularity, assisting in eliminating solid wastes. 

Of most interest though is that insoluble fiber helps balance hormones by improving insulin sensitivity.  Soluble fiber dissolves in water and works to reduce blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels, keeping our hearts healthy, improving glucose control, and also reduces the risk for diabetes.

Many women don’t get enough fiber. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the CDC reports that only one in ten adults meets the minimum daily federal recommendations for fruits and vegetables. This is really shocking and not at all a good thing!

Generally, a lack of fiber in the diet has been linked with these symptoms:

• Weight gain
• Blood sugar fluctuations
• Fatigue
• Constipation

Fiber helps more than just Hormonal Balance,  fiber intake does so much for your overall health.

The proper amount of fiber (about 30g/day for adult women, more or less depending on weight) helps the body:
• Control body weight
• Balance cholesterol levels
• Regulate blood sugar levels
• Control high blood pressure
• Regulate bowel movements
• Prevent hemorrhoids
• Lower risk of colon and breast cancers
• Encourage healthy gut flora

The last point alone, “encourage healthy gut flora,” can have incredibly positive repercussions on overall health including mood, energy levels, immunity and more.

What you need to know when increasing fiber in your diet?
One crucial thing to know before you start increasing fiber in your diet is that you must start slow and be sure to increase your water intake as well. This will ensure things keep moving and help to prevent constipation. If you’re not used to eating a fiber rich diet and suddenly start to incorporate more fiber rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, this can lead to bloating and gas. If you do run into problems with elimination after increasing fiber, it usually means you’re not drinking enough water. Proper elimination is critical for health so if the problem persists for longer than a few days, try a gentle laxative herbal tea to ensure things get moving!

Increase fiber by following my R.E.A.L Diet guidelines

I am not an advocate of fad diets and highly CAUTION all my patients to steer clear of them. In actuality, we don’t need a “diet”, instead we just need to adopt a way of eating that nourishes our bodies that we can comfortably stick to throughout our lives.

Personally, I call it “keeping it R.E.A.L – real eating for real life!” .. It’s super simple and can be achieved by following these guidelines:

• R – Resembles something found in nature
• E – Eliminate processed and problematic foods
• A – Achieves optimal nutritional requirements
• L – Lots of leafy greens!

By eating a REAL diet you ensure optimal fiber intake. If you need more tips try the following:
• Start your day off with a high fiber food like steel-cut oats topped with a handful of fruits you like, chia, flax, hemp or sesame seeds and a non-GMO soy milk.
• Make a daily nutrient-dense smoothie that consists of greens such as spinach or Brussels sprouts, ½ cup of berries, chia, flax, hemp or sesame seeds and water
• Snack on fruit instead of potato chips or other packaged foods
• Try and consume hearty whole grains like wild rice, millet, barley, etc.