If you feel tired or sluggish more often than not, you could be suffering from a lack of fiber in your diet. Fiber helps your body feel satisfied for longer periods of time — so you won’t feel hungry as often — and also gives you sustained energy and helps keep your metabolism humming along.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans. The body cannot digest or absorb fiber; rather, it moves through your digestive tract intact. Fiber helps regulate bowel movements, improves heart health and can help stave off conditions such as diabetes and colon cancer.
Many people don’t get enough fiber in their diets, and this can cause fatigue. Fiber helps the body feel fuller for longer, helping you avoid snacking between meals. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels, which can prevent you from feeling drained. The best way to increase your fiber intake is by eating more whole grains and vegetables. You could also try adding flaxseed or chia seeds to smoothies for an extra boost.
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are good sources of fiber.
Here’s how to get more fiber in your daily diet:
- Eat more fruit. Apples, bananas, oranges and other fruits are full of fiber. A medium-sized apple has 4 grams of fiber. Eat the skin on fruits such as apples, pears and berries.
- Choose whole grains. Whole-grain breads and cereals contain more fiber than refined grain products. For example, 1 slice of whole-wheat bread has about 2 grams of fiber, while a slice of white bread has only about 1 gram. Try brown rice and whole-grain pasta.
- Add beans to your meals. Beans are a good source of protein — and they’re high in fiber, too. Try adding them to salads or soups or eating them as a side dish instead of meat once or twice a week.
- Moderation is key! You may have to adjust your eating habits gradually if you’ve never eaten much fiber before. Too much at one time may cause bloating and gas until you get used to it. Start with small amounts of high-fiber foods, and drink plenty of water every day to help avoid constipation.