When your digestive system is overloaded and imbalanced, the rest of your body will begin to suffer. This can manifest as:
>increased joint pain >skin break-outs and irritations >sinus congestion >digestive upset, fatigue >weight gain >irritability >depression >craving only comfort food
To avoid these issues, keep your digestion running smoothly and regularly with fiber and hydration.
Soluble and Insoluble Fiber
It took me a while to keep these two straight, so let’s go over these real quick.
This fiber absorbs water and turns into a gel to smoothly move through your intestines. It also absorbs toxins and things like excess hormones and cholesterol that are floating around in your blood stream. For example, soluble fiber is what makes oatmeal so heart healthy. It also helps keep your blood sugar levels even (important for steady mood and energy levels). Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, bran, beans, psyllium, chia seeds and hemp seeds contain soluble fiber.
This fiber doesn’t dissolve in water like soluble fiber. Our bodies can’t digest this kind of fiber, so it adds bulk and helps move the waste through your system more quickly. This is like a scrub brush that keeps our insides nice and clean. Bran, fruit and vegetable skin, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains contain insoluble fiber.
Tips for Getting More Fiber
>Don’t skip the crudités. Eat the carrots, celery, and other vegetables that are often an overlooked part of the holiday spread. >Add 1-2 tablespoons of chia or ground flax seeds to oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothies. >Adding more soluble fiber into your diet means you need to drink more water, as well. It needs to absorb the water and not get stuck. >Eat seasonal fruits like apples and pears. >Make some roasted vegetables to eat throughout the week. Try to pick at least two. I like to make a pan of brussel sprouts or broccoli and a pan of sweet potatoes or winter squash. These can be a light snack on their own or added to salads, veggie tacos, lunch wraps or eaten in the morning with eggs for a healthy filling breakfast. >Make a homemade slaw. These add flavor and crunch to so many meals, Try shredded red cabbage, carrots, sliced celery and cilantro with lime juice and salt. >Exercise helps to keep everything moving and reduces stress, too!
Try some of these tips and you’ll start the new year feeling much better. I hope you’ve had a wonderful 2019, and I look forward to seeing you in 2020!