Informational Articles

5 Signs Your Body Wants You To Eat More Fiber

fiber

PHOTOGRAPH BY GARICK PROST/SHUTTERSTOCK

You know that constipation is the classic consequence of not eating enough fiber. But even if you’re not totally backed up, your body might be begging for more roughage in some more surprising ways. And yes, some of them are kind of gross.

But they’re also important, since adequate fiber intake plays a role in everything from helping you manage your weight to lowering your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers. Here, 5 signs to watch for. (Want to balance out your hormones and lose weight? Then check out The Hormone Reset Diet to start feeling and looking better.

Rabbit poop
1/6
PHOTOGRAPH BY ATOVOT/SHUTTERSTOCK
Your poop is the wrong shape.

Just because you’re not backed up doesn’t actually mean you’re getting all the fiber you need. If your bowel movements are small or hard, like pebbles, that’s a sure sign you’re falling short, says Robynne Chutkan, MD, founder of The Digestive Center for Women and author of The Bloat Cure. “A C-shape or a straight log is ideal,” she says.

hungry after eating
2/6
PHOTOGRAPH BY NYGRAPHIC/SHUTTERSTOCK
You’re hungry after a meal.

Fiber takes up lots of space in your digestive tract, which is one of the reasons why it helps you stay satisfied longer. So if your stomach starts rumbling within an hour or two after eating, that’s a sign that you probably didn’t get enough fiber in your meal, says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, author of Eating in Color. Next time, try starting off with a small side salad or a small bowl of vegetable-bean soup. (Or if you’re having a salad for your meal, add in ¼ to ½ cup of cooked beans.) All are easy ways to up your meal’s fiber content and help you feel fuller, she says.

bloated
3/6
PHOTOGRAPH BY IMAGE POINT FR/SHUTTERSTOCK
You’re bloated.

It’s no secret that overdoing it on the roughage—especially if you aren’t used to it—can leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable. But eat too little fiber, and you’re stuck with the same problem. That’s because fiber keeps everything in your pipes moving at a smooth, steady pace. “Without enough fiber, the products of digestion often get stuck along the digestive superhighway, leading to backups and bloat,” Chutkan says.

post meal nap
4/6
PHOTOGRAPH BY FPG/GETTY IMAGES
You need a postmeal nap.

You already know that eating a ginormous meal can make you sleepy. But if you regularly find yourself crashing after you eat, a lack of fiber could be to blame, too. Fiber plays an essential role in helping your blood sugar levels stay stable. But when you eat a low- or no-fiber meal, your blood sugar will spike more quickly—and soon come tumbling down. And that crash can leave you feeling sluggish or fatigued, Largeman-Roth says.

corn kernel
5/6
PHOTOGRAPH BY SCHANKZ/SHUTTERSTOCK
You fail this icky test.

Try swallowing a forkful of corn kernels without chewing them and seeing how long it takes for them to come out the, uh, other side, recommends Chutkan. That will give you a good idea of whether food is passing through your digestive system at a healthy rate—and whether you’re getting enough fiber. If you spot the kernels in your stool within 18 hours, you’re good. If it takes longer than that, you probably need more fiber.

high fiber diet
6/6
PHOTOGRAPH BY MONTICELLO/SHUTTERSTOCK
This sounds like me. What should I do?

Women need 25 to 30 g of fiber daily. If you suspect that you aren’t getting enough, try gradually adding more fiber-rich foods into your diet—like whole grains, nuts, beans, fruit, and vegetables. Just keep in mind that if you go full throttle out of the gate, you may have to deal with gas, pains, and bloating, says Largeman-Roth.

And try to skip the fiber supplements. Unlike a pill or drink, fiber-containing foods deliver an entire package of beneficial nutrients. Plus, some people find that supplements make them extra gassy, says Largeman-Roth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s