Nutrition Fiber and Fitness

fiber benefits

As fitness professionals, you’ve probably encouraged clients to choose more whole grains. You’ve helped them add protein for recovery and satiety. You’ve pushed fluids before, during and after workouts for hydration. But have you spent enough time touting everyday wellness? Fiber should be something we all strive to include in our diet. Why do we need fiber? Fiber is a type of food the body cannot digest. Unlike most carbohydrates, it isn’t broken down into sugar. Therefore, it doesn’t provide us with energy but what it does provide us with is so much more:

  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Manages cholesterol (soluble fiber helps lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol)
  • Regulation of blood sugars (energy maintenance and balance)
  • Regularity (colon health)
  • Prevents diverticular disease (risks rise as we age)

Even more, foods high in fiber like fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and flax provide us with multiple other benefits:

  • Antioxidants (repairing damage done from intense or long workouts)
  • Phytonutrients (preventing cancer and disease)
  • Vitamins (helping meet the high demands of an athlete)
  • Healthy fats (providing anti-inflammatory properties)

Whether it’s for you or your clients, to increase the fiber in your everyday:

  1. Add beans to a salad, pasta, or rice dish or blend into your own veggie burger
  2. Add nuts or flax seed to oatmeal, yogurt, or cottage cheese
  3. Scoop nut butters onto fresh fruit as snack
  4. Add lentils or beans to a soup. Smashing some with a potato masher or immersion blender makes the soup thick and creamy without adding extra fat.
  5. Blend beans into your own hummus or bean
  6. Add spinach or kale to smoothies, sandwiches, and salads
  7. Use ground oats or whole grain cereal in place of bread crumbs
  8. Add an extra vegetable or salad to lunch and dinner. Lean on steam-in-a-bag veggies if nothing else.
  9. Grab single serve carrot sticks or munch on mini sweet peppers or cherry tomatoes
  10. Make homemade sweet potato fries in less than 20 minutes for a side dish with a lean burger or sandwich instead of chips
  11. Buy pre-chopped squash and roast at the beginning of the week to add to salads and pastas or for a quick side dish
  12. Have baked or refried beans as side dish at dinner
  13. Add sauteed veggies (mushrooms, carrots, onion, pepper, shredded zucchini) to tacos or chopped veggies to a meatloaf

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