Eat Fiber for Better Digestion and Brain Function

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body can’t digest. It passes through your digestive system relatively intact, providing numerous benefits along the way.

  • fiber slows down digestion and helps keep you full
  • aids in weight management
  • helps regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream
  • promotes healthy cholesterol levels
  • nourishes your microbiome, serving as fuel for the beneficial bacteria in your gut, helping to maintain a healthy balance of microorganisms
  • adds bulk to your stool, making it easier to pass through the digestive tract and reducing constipation and the risk of conditions like diverticulitis

By eating fiber-rich foods regularly, you are providing essential nutrients for the growth and diversity of your gut microbiota. This diverse community of bacteria aids in digestion, nutrient absorption, and influences aspects of your immune system.

How fiber improves brain function

A healthy gut microbiome is linked to better cognitive function, mood regulation, and reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

Because fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels – which is essential for maintaining steady energy levels throughout the day – this stable energy supply to your brain supports optimal cognitive performance, concentration, and memory retention.

Because fiber reduces inflammation in the body, it has a protective effect. Chronic inflammation is associated with cognitive decline and various neurological disorders. By consuming fiber regularly, you can help protect your brain from inflammatory damage.

Fiber-rich Foods

Incorporating more fiber into your daily diet is a fantastic way to boost your overall health and well-being.

Fiber rich foods are nutrient dense foods and include:

  • Leafy greens: arugula, kale, lettuces, collard greens, mustard greens
  • Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage
  • Root vegetables: beets (tops too!), carrots, potatoes, sweet potato, rutabaga, turnips
  • Beans and legumes: chickpeas(garbanzo, black bean, red bean, all beans, lentils, peas
  • Whole grains: barley, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, brown rice

What to do

  • 🌿 Start Your Day with Fiber: Kickstart your morning with a high-fiber breakfast such as chia pudding or protein oatmeal, topped nuts and fruits. This will set a healthy tone for the rest of the day.
  • 🌿 Bulk Up Your Meals: Add beans, lentils, chickpeas, or quinoa to soups, salads, and stir-fries to increase the fiber content of your meals without compromising on taste.
  • 🌿 Choose Whole Grains: Swap refined grains (pasta and white rice) for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, , and barley to increase your fiber intake while enjoying delicious meals.
  • 🌿 Get Creative with Vegetables: Experiment with different vegetables in your dishes – spiralize zucchini for “zoodles,” roast cauliflower as a tasty side dish, or blend spinach into smoothies for an added nutrient boost.
  • 🌿 Snack Smart: Instead of reaching for processed snacks, opt for fiber-rich options like raw veggies with hummus, apple and cheese, celery and almond butter

By incorporating these practical tips into your daily routine  you can easily elevate the fiber and nutrient density of your meals while tantalizing your taste buds at the same time!

A well-balanced lifestyle rich in fiber is key to supporting optimal digestive function and overall wellness.

Note: If you are not currently practicing a high fiber lifestyle, it’s important to gradually increase your fiber intake and drink plenty of water throughout the day to help prevent any discomfort or bloating that may occur when increasing fiber consumption.

Delicious, Nutritious Fiber Rich Recipes and Resources

High Protein Overnight Oats – Haute and Healthy Living

Chia Pudding Meal Prep – Downshiftology

4 Nutrient Dense Coleslaws

10 Ways to Boost Your Mood and Immune System with Leafy Greens

One Pot of Black Beans for Four Meals

Flavored Hummus – Love Eat Learn

Avocado Hummus Snack Jars – The Girl on Bloor


Boost Your Mood with Fermented Food

Did you know that around the world the role of fermentation as medicine was practiced widely? Fermented foods are good mood foods. They feed the good bacteria in your gut (gastrointestinal tract). Maintaining healthy bacteria in your gut supports brain health.

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”full” source_author=”Drew Ramsey, MD” source_title=”Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety” full_quote=”Throughout history, fermented foods have provided bacteria in the diet. All traditional cultures fermented their foods, live in and with nature, and ate from it in a way that promoted a now endangered diversity of gut microbes. Food fermentation dates back more than seven thousand years to wine making in the Middle East. The Chinese were fermenting cage six thousand years ago. Although for centuries civilizations didn’t understand the mechanisms behind the fermentation process, the health benefits associated with fermented foods were intuited” short_quote=”Throughout history, fermented foods have provided bacteria in the diet”]

We are re-learning the importance of eating fermented foods because they are

  • are rich in enzymes, and vitamins
  • “predigest” nutrients so they are more easily digested
  • serve as natural antibiotics, antivirals, and antifungals
  • regulate immunity
  • control inflammation
  • suppress the growth of harmful bacteria
  • enhance good bacteria and minerals in your gut
  • help maintain the integrity of the intestinal lining (prevent leaky gut/Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

Fermented foods seem especially important for people with anxiety.

What foods are fermented?
  • Sauerkraut
  • Natural (no sugar) yogurt and kefir (like yogurt, but more liquid)
  • Pickles and other fermented vegetables – look for unpasteurized foods picked in brine, not vinegar
  • Kombucha – originated in China, it’s a fermented tea, effervescent and sour. It is very beneficial for the health of the microbiome
  • Kimchi – the Korean cousin to sauerkraut. It is fermented vegetable dish that usually includes Chinese (Napa) cabbage, chili peppers, garlic, radish, green onions, ginger, and salt. The cabbage and vegetables are soaked in salty brine, then rinsed prior to fermenting
  • Miso –made from fermented soybeans or grains. It is a smooth paste made from cooked soybeans, salt, a fermenting agent, and water. It adds beneficial bacteria oto the diet and a high dose of protein and B vitamins. Also, calcium, zinc, iron, copper and magnesium
  • Sourdough

These foods are rich in beneficial bacteria. This bacteria is exceptionally bioavailable, in other words, easily accepted by your body. This bacteria also produces B vitamins so important for your brain.

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”right” source_author=”Kelly Brogan, MD” source_title=”A Mind of Your Own” full_quote=”Kefir is a natural tranquilizer with a rich supply of tryptophan, calcium, magnesium. Kefir is rich in B vitamins. Eat only full-fat yogurt without additives and artificial sweeteners.” ” short_quote=”Kefir is a natural tranquilizer with a rich supply of tryptophan, calcium, magnesium”]

“Kefir is a natural tranquilizer with a rich supply of tryptophan, calcium, magnesium. Kefir is rich in B vitamins. Eat only full-fat yogurt without additives and artificial sweeteners.” Kelly Brogan, A Mind of Your Own

These foods also “feed” the beneficial bacteria in your gut

  • Onions and garlic, raw and cooked
  • Leeks
  • Asparagus
  • Beans
  • Bananas
  • Dandelion
  • Chia
What to Do?
  • Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with water and sip throughout the day to boost energy and balance the pH of the body
  • Add yogurt and/or kefir to breakfast smoothies, granola, overnight oats and salad dressings
  • Eat a variety of fermented foods
  • Start by eating cultured vegetables like sauerkraut and pickles
  • Have you own pickling adventure!

Fermenting foods is new for me. Here are a couple I found easy to do. Give it try! Let me know how it goes.

Easy Pickled Vegetables – Paleo Hacks

Pickled Beets – Simply Recipes

Perfect Pickled Peppers – Frugal Mom