Fiber is a wonderful nutrient for a healthy lifestyle for all individuals including athletes. It plays a crucial role in keeping the gut healthy, and leaves the stomach undigested in order to gently feed the gut bacteria. Certain kinds of fiber enhance the weight loss, improve the blood sugar control, promote regular bowel movements, and get rid of constipation.
Moreover, researchers have found that increasing the fiber intake can increase the muscle mass and reduce body fat.
Fiber is too easy to acquire, especially for athletes who should add several nutrients to their daily meals, it is found in vegan foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. All these are incredible sources of fiber and many other vital nutrients for athletes.
Fiber for athletes
The main idea should always be to obtain the recommended amount from natural foods and not supplements.
You should consume different types of fiber-rich foods daily, because they offer different types of fiber and then, different health benefits.
We distinguish between 2 types of fiber; insoluble fiber which gives the appropriate structure to plants, it absorbs water, and makes the bowels easier to pass. It is more present in whole grains and vegetables.
Then we have soluble fiber, it lowers blood cholesterol and stabilizes blood glucose levels. It is generally found in beans, lentils, chickpeas and oatmeal.
How much fiber should you have every day?
Fiber can be beneficial to endurance athletes, but should be approached differently than other nutrients. Generally, doctors recommend 25 grams of fiber for women; and 38 grams for men.
Therefore, as an athlete, the fiber approach should be different than non-active persons. The daily intake should be 20 to 35 grams.
Here are the most common high fiber foods that you can get easily. If you’re an athlete, make sure you have these foods after a workout, so they don’t affect your stomach badly.
One medium sweet potato provides you with 3.7 grams of fiber, do not get rid of the skin; make sure to keep the skin on the sweet potatoes because that’s where the fiber is concentrated.
Apples are among the most satisfying fruits you can have. One medium apple provides you with 5.3 grams of fiber, do not peel your apple, the skin contains more fiber than the fruit itself.
Apples are especially high in a kind of soluble fiber which called pectin; try to eat more apples daily.
Also, one cup of fresh blueberries is a great source of 3.5 grams of fiber. You can add them to your pancakes, or granola bars, or eat them as a snack.
Chickpeas are incredibly loaded with several nutrients, especially minerals and fiber.
100 grams of cooked chickpeas provides you with 7.6 grams of fiber, you can add it to your salads or whole grain toast…
Quinoa is high in protein, magnesium, iron and zinc; it also provides 5.18 grams of fiber per cup. But you still have to consume around 5 cups of quinoa to assure the good daily intake.
Finally, there are many other foods that contain high amounts of fiber, such as:
- Legumes: lentils, pinto beans, soybeans…
- Fruits: strawberries, avocados, bananas…
- Grains: barley, oats, popcorn, or maize…
- Nuts: chia seeds, walnuts, almonds…