Why Fiber is Fabulous for Women's Health

Chia Pudding

Fiber is a filament substance found in plants that the human body cannot break down. The two types of fiber are soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber can dissolve in water and is found mainly in oats, beans, tubers and fruit. Soluble fiber helps to control blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Soluble fiber can be broken down by bacteria in your gut. For healthy flora in the large intestine, this is a good thing. For unhealthy bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (SIBO), this can be a problem. Soluble fiber can be helpful in slowing down bowel transit time.

Insoluble fiber cannot dissolve in water and is found in whole grain products and vegetables. Insoluble fiber aids in stool formation and release. It is helpful for constipation and removing toxins from the body. It can be irritating for those with IBS.

Both types of fiber are beneficial to health so it is important to eat a variety of high fiber foods; 35 -45 gms a day are recommended. They make you feel fuller, so are helpful in weight management.

Fiber is fabulous for fertility as fiber:

1.  Helps remove toxins from the body through the intestines.  Toxins are processed by the liver and deposited in the intestines to be removed.  If your bowels are backed up, those toxins will recirculate in the body.

These toxins can include things like pesticides and plastic compounds, which will disrupt your delicate endocrine system, leading to hormone imbalance.

These toxins can also be the metabolites of hormones your body no longer needs at this time of the cycle.  If these metabolites are not removed through the colon, they will re-enter the system and create incorrect feedback to the master glands of the endocrine system, resulting in hormone imbalance.

2.  Soluble fiber, as we discussed, feeds your friendly bacteria.  And a healthy gut is what allows you to absorb nutrients (for healthy eggs and sperm) and it helps prevent autoimmune diseases that can steal your fertility.

Here are some sources of fiber:

1/2 cup boiled lentil 8 gm fiber

1 T chia seed 4 gm fiber (mix of soluble and insoluble)

2 T ground flax seed 6 gm fiber (more insoluble than soluble)

1 cup raspberries 8 gm

1 medium baked potato with skin 3.8 gm

1/2 cup broccoli, boiled (boiling not recommended!) 2.6 gm

1 cup shredded lettuce 1 gm

1 medium carrot 1.7 gm

1 cup boiled chick peas 12 gm

1 cup raw green beans 2.7 gm

1 medium apple 4.4 gm

One my favorite fiber sources is chia seed.  I toss it in my smoothies and in the winter make hot chia cereal.  Besides being high in fiber, it is high in omega 3 and  protein.  It is a source for calcium, magnesium, iron and trace minerals.

To get started with chia, simply add 1 - 2 tablespoons to your smoothie.  Note that it will become gelatinous over about 10 minutes.  So drink sooner or slower depending on if you like this or not!

You can also make your own hot cereal with chia.  I do like the pre-made version by Qi'a, but it certainly could be easy to make your own.  Most recipes involve chia seed, hemp seed, dried berries and nut milk.  Add in cinnamon to help balance your blood sugar for the day.

How do you use chia?  Any recipes to share?