Fiber is a particularly important part of a balanced diet and should be part of a healthy menu every day. Athletes * also benefit from the health benefits of a high-fiber diet. In this article we answer the following questions about it:
1. What is fiber?
Dietary fiber is indigestible food components that can be found almost exclusively in plant-based, unprocessed foods. A distinction is made between soluble and insoluble fiber.(1) They perform important functions in digestion and metabolism.
What is soluble fiber?
Soluble dietary fibers are so-called swelling substances. They bind large amounts of water in the large intestine and swell up as a result – a kind of gel is created. Soluble fiber ensures regular bowel movements. Because of their prebiotic effect they feed the intestinal bacteria, protect the intestinal mucosa and ensure a healthy intestinal flora.
These foods provide you with soluble fiber:
- Fruit (e.g. apples and pears)
- Vegetables (e.g. carrots, artichokes, and onions)
What is insoluble fiber?
Insoluble fiber can bind significantly less water and is hardly broken down by intestinal bacteria. As a result, they keep you full for a long time and stimulate bowel activity. Insoluble fiber is particularly effective against constipation.
These foods provide you with insoluble fiber:
- Whole grain cereals and products
- Fruit and vegetable bowls
Good to know:
High fiber foods usually contain both soluble and insoluble fiber in different proportions. So if you eat varied and colorful, you are well supplied with both.
2. Why is a high fiber diet so healthy?
A diet high in fiber has numerous health benefits.
A high-fiber diet supports your intestinal health and digestion. It ensures regular bowel movements and long periods of satiety. High fiber consumption is also associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer in Verbond.(2) It is it is also important a lot to drink.
If you eat enough fiber, you are also doing something good for your heart. A high-fiber diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, has a positive effect on high blood pressure and lowers the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood.(3,4th)
Our gut health and a strong immune system are closely linked. So dietary fiber can strengthen the immune system. And how? They serve as food for the healthy microorganisms that live in our intestines and thus ensure a healthy intestinal flora.(5)
Did you know that?
Just like regular exercise, a healthy intestinal flora also has a positive influence on your mental health. A high-fiber diet is said to reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.(6)
A high consumption of fiber from plant foods is associated with a lower risk of obesityht.(7th)These foods are digested slowly. The result: You are full longer, the risk of overeating decreases. Eating a high fiber diet is also an important part of treating type diabetes mellitus 2.(8th) Since BAllastic substances are digested slowly, they stabilize blood sugar and do not allow it to rise as high as white flour products do, for example.
3. How Much Fiber Should I Eat Each Day?
Healthy adults should consume between 25 g and 38 g of fiber per dayhmen.(9) An upper limit currently does not exist, many adults still have problems reaching the recommended amount per day at all.
Up until now you haven’t paid attention to a high-fiber diet, but now you want to change that? Make sure you increase your daily fiber intake slowly, otherwise gas and gas may occur. It is also particularly important to drink enough fluids throughout the day. If you don’t, you can become constipated.
4. What should athletes look out for when eating a high-fiber diet?
The above benefits of a high fiber diet speak for themselves. Athletes also benefit from it. The goal should always be to meet your daily fiber needs with natural foods instead to dietary supplements to grab.
The classic food for runners, such as whole wheat pasta, oatmeal or broccoli, are high in fiber and therefore almost always a good choice. Why almost always? Correct meal timing is important in sports nutrition. A high-fiber diet has many advantages for athletes, but it can also lead to digestive problems (feeling of fullness due to slow digestion, gas, etc.). How much fiber can be tolerated varies from person to person.
So if you as an athlete eat a high-fiber meal shortly before your workout, this can have negative effects and make you slower. Carbohydrates are extremely important before a workout to replenish your glycogen stores and provide you with energy supply.(10) Right in front of it however, easily digestible sources of carbohydrates should be used.
On competition days, it can even make sense to reduce your fiber intake to a minimum in order to avoid discomfort. Above all, it is important that you do not do any experiments on such days, but stick to the foods that are good for you.
What could a high-fiber meal plan look like on a training day?
Here we have an example for you of how you could incorporate high fiber foods into a workout day. Before training, a rather low-fiber snack should be chosen:
- Breakfast: Porridge with apple, flaxseed and nut butter
- Snack: Natural or soy yogurt with berries
- Having lunch: Whole grain toast sandwich with hummus or cheese, baby spinach, tomatoes and cucumber
- Pre-workout snack: Banana or a slice of white bread with honey
- Post-workout snack: Protein smoothie
- Dinner: Colorful rice pan (with brown rice) with vegetables, kidney beans and chicken or tofu