Fiber and Energy Are Connected—Here’s How | Well+Good

There he is tired and then he is completely fatigued. Tiredness is knowing that you really needed an extra hour or two of sleep. But fatigue is more than that. Sophia Tolliver, MD, family medicine physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, describes fatigue as an “overwhelming feeling of feeling tired, not like oneself, or feeling really exhausted”.

If fatigue is something you’ve been experiencing for an extended period of time, it’s definitely worth setting aside some time with your doctor, who can run tests to see if you’re deficient in a specific nutrient. Being low in iron, for example, can lead to fatigue. registered dietitian Lindsey Klein, RDsays there’s another nutrient that plays an important role in preventing fatigue: fiber. “Although fiber doesn’t provide energy, it does help in energy regulation,” she says. Here, she explains more about what that means and gives her best tips for eating and avoiding fatigue.

The fiber-fatigue connection

When it comes to eating to ward off fatigue, the first nutrients most people think of are protein Y healthy fats. That’s not bad—both of these nutrients are hugely important in providing the body with energy—but Klein says it would be wrong to say that fiber isn’t also a piece of the puzzle. She explains that although fiber is considered calorie-free (or energy-free), there is a specific type of fiber, soluble fiber, that provides energy for gut bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids. “Your body can use those short-chain fatty acids for energy for the large intestine,” she says.

A Quick Fiber 101 Lesson: There are two types of fiber., soluble and insoluble. The main sources of insoluble fiber are fiber from fruits and vegetables and help increase stool bulk. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, can be found in foods such as oatmeal, beans, lentils, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Kelin explains that soluble fiber absorbs water, swells, and creates a gel-like substance that aids the digestive system. “When soluble fiber is present, it slows down the rate at which sugar enters cells,” says Klein. This helps keep blood sugar levels stable.

Without soluble fiber, Klein says blood sugar levels tend to go up and down, which can lead to similar tumultuous fluctuations in your energy levels. (By the way, Klein emphasizes that he needs insoluble fiber, too; both are key to good digestion.)

“Fiber is also filling and has a satiating effect,” says Klein. “This means less hunger and more ability to focus on other tasks. When you provide your body with enough calories and fiber, your brain won’t think ‘when is my next meal’. It will allow you to focus on the present moment.”

Now that we’ve gotten to the bottom of why fiber is important to stave off fatigue, it begs the question of what to eat to make sure you’re getting enough.

What to eat to avoid fatigue

In general, it is recommended to aim to eat 25 grams of fiber per day. But remember, protein and healthy fats are also very important to stave off fatigue, so Klein recommends actually eating to stave off fatigue, making sure your meals and snacks cover all three bases. Need some examples of what exactly it looks like? Here are three snack ideas Klein recommends:

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1. Pears with ricotta cheese, honey and cinnamon

Pears are a great source of both types of fiber, with 29 percent of their total fiber content coming from soluble fiber. Ricotta cheese it’s packed with protein, as well as selenium, calcium, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The cinnamon sprinkled on top not only adds sweetness—helps keep blood sugar levels stablewhich, as you know, is key to avoiding fatigue.

2. Dried dates with peanut butter

These two simple ingredients pack a lot of energy-boosting goodness. Both are high in fiber while the peanut butter It is high in protein and healthy fats.

3. Avocado on whole wheat bread, apple slices, feta cheese, honey and arugula

Klein says this is one of her favorites to combat fatigue. Avocado, wholemeal bread, apple slices and arugula everything have fiber Creamy avocado and feta cheese have protein and healthy fats. Clearly, there’s a legitimate reason avocados are so beloved by healthy eaters.

Watch the video below to see why avocados are so packed with nutrients:

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Getting to the bottom of what makes you feel utterly drained can feel like a detective game and is worth talking to your doctor about. But fiber intake is also worth thinking about. After all, the vast majority of people in the US don’t get enough. And hey, any problem where eating more avocado toast is the solution can’t be that bad, right?

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