In the discussion of men's health and wellness, there tends to be a lot of talk about protein intake. This often relates to crafting an optimal diet, building muscle, or reaching fitness training goals. In reality, however, protein is something that most people are already consuming a substantial amount of.
So with protein pushed to the side, another component in diet that men should be paying close attention to is fiber. Let’s break down the importance of fiber and discuss some of the best high fiber foods for men that can improve both their short and long-term health.
What is dietary fiber?
Dietary fiber describes the non-digestible carbs and lignin that are found in plants. Because the body can’t directly digest or absorb fiber, it passes through the body intact. Dietary fiber comes in two forms, insoluble and soluble, both of which have unique ways of benefiting the body. Even though dietary fiber is non-digestible, it plays a crucial role in sustaining a healthy lifestyle.
But, before you start implementing fiber in your diet, it may be useful to understand why you should be consuming more of it and the best practice for increasing your fiber intake.
Why should you be eating more fiber
Dietary fiber intake is important as it is closely linked to your metabolic health, cardiovascular health, colonic health, gut health, and so much more. Recent studies have also started linking the intake of fiber to mental health. For instance, it is believed that inflammation is known to mediate the link between fiber and depression.
Fiber, which can elicit anti-inflammatory properties to the body, could reduce the risk of depression development. While it may be common to hear fiber linked directly to your digestive health, it is important to keep in mind that your fiber intake can impact your physical and mental health. Luckily, there are many foods out there that offer a solid amount of fiber for men so that they can sustain both a healthy diet and lifestyle.
5 High fiber foods for men
You’re probably no stranger to hearing doctors or other adults in your life telling you to eat more fiber, but if you don’t know which foods offer a substantial amount, you may not best understand where to start to fulfill those needs. While there are many high fiber foods out there, below are some top recommendations of high fiber foods for men:
Oats are particularly high in a dietary fiber called β-glucan. Studies show that β-glucan offers cholesterol-lowering effects for the body as well as the ability to lower the body’s glycemic response. Oats are considered a soluble dietary fiber, which can help promote a healthy gut.
Nuts are a great source of dietary fiber, essential vitamins, and nutrients. They can offer around 4 to 11 grams of fiber per 100 grams consumed, and also have a high amount of vegetable protein in them to give your body the dense amount of nutrients it needs to perform and function at its best.
Another prime example of a source of soluble fiber is potatoes. In a study done to evaluate the effects of potato fibers on healthy men, results showed that there was an increased level of satiety in appetite. Potatoes are commonly discussed through the lens of carbs, but their source of dietary fiber can be beneficial to the body as well.
Flaxseed is known to be an incredible source of dietary fiber with its ability to offer around 22 grams/per 100 grams in an edible portion. Aside from its surprising amount of fiber in a food source, you’ll find flaxseed also being used for medicinal purposes due to its health benefits, too.
Similar to oats, Barley is rich in soluble, dietary fiber and consists of β-glucan as well. It is known for reducing blood levels and decreasing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, one of the leading causes of death in men.
Implement more fiber in your diet
Given the properties, benefits, and foods that contain fiber, there’s a lot that it can do for your health. We’ve discussed how important gut health is to your health and wellbeing, and fiber is something that can help support your gut so that your mind and body can operate at their best.
While eating fiber-rich foods is one way to ramp up your fiber intake, there are some best practices to keep in mind. Be sure to start slow and don’t add too much fiber into your diet at one time. Too much fiber can cause issues with bloating, cramping, constipation, IBS, and more.
You can start by adding a larger portion of one of the food items above, and wait a few days or up to a week to add more. As you increase your fiber intake, be sure to drink more fluids as fluids can help your body digest the fiber.
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