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Roughing Up Your Gut with Fiber

Roughing Up Your Gut with Fiber

Bird’s Nest Soup. Sounds like it’s high in good-for-you fiber (twigs and leaves), right? Think again. This Asian delicacy, said to aid digestion, strengthen the immune system and even increase libido, is actually made from the saliva of the swiftlet bird. It’s packed with calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium, but not gut-pleasing roughage. Closer to home, veggie chips (made with vegetable powder) and frozen veggie burgers (often made with textured vegetable protein, not vegetables) are also surprisingly low in fiber!

Fiber, whether mostly soluble like oats (add water and they get mushy) or mostly insoluble (add water to celery and nothing happens), is essential for a happy digestive system. It keeps you regular, promotes a healthy circulatory system and feeds gut bacteria that contribute to a healthy immune system. Eating high fiber food also helps nurture the gut bacteria (bifidobacteria) that both make you less insulin resistant and lower glucose levels. Conversely, a diet that is low in fiber allows three types of bacteria that promote aging, insulin resistance and high glucose levels to thrive.

So whether you want to avoid developing type 2 diabetes (and we know you do), reverse pre-diabetes (moderately raised glucose levels) or control your type 2, get on the high-fiber bandwagon. It’s loaded with fresh produce and 100 percent whole grains, no processed foods or gut-stressing red meat. And consider taking a probiotic to help reinforce the heathy bacteria in your gut. We suggest you try a spore form that contains bifidobacteria, bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 and/or lactobacillus GG.

Medically reviewed in June 2019.

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