Fiber is component of our diet that is often underrated, and not mentioned when we talk about nutrition in most forms. Much focus in put on the Macronutrient and the vitamins and minerals, but fiber is arguably as important, if not more than all of the above mentioned. But what is fiber?
15 Push Ups
20 Squats with weight (50 pound child)
20 Calf raises with weight (50 pounds child)
What is Fiber?
Fiber is roughage. The indigestible component of plants. It is a VERY complex carbohydrate. All other carbohydrates can be broken down into their individual sugar components, but not fiber. Fiber is a polysaccharid made up of cellulose, dextrins, inulin, lignin, chitins, pectins, beta-glucans, waxes, and oligosaccharides, not sugars.
Fiber is broken down into two types: soluble and insoluble
Soluble Fiber dissolves in water.
Insoluble Fiber DOES NOT dissolve in water.
To explain the benefits of fiber, we'll talk about the two different types.
Soluble Fiber, like I mentioned above, dissolves in water. This type of fiber becomes gelatinous as it travels through the digestive system.
Insoluble Fiber, like I mentioned above, DOES NOT dissolve in water. This type of fiber maintains its bulky shape throughout the digestive system.
Why Do Athletes Need Fiber?
Well, for one...overall health! All nutrients have a place and a purpose in the diet. Excessively limiting them can cause nutritional imbalances that can lead to a decrease in athletic performance. But, to be more specific...
Electrolytes (minerals) are essential to the performance and health of our muscles, and bodies. Soluble Fiber helps in the absorption of these minerals. Without soluble fiber, we are limited in our ability to absorb these minerals.
By binding to sugars and slowing their absorption into the bloodstream, soluble fiber helps to keep blood sugar levels regulated and energy levels stable. Which improves endurance.
Athletes tend towards dehydration and constipation...who knew right? Insoluble fiber keeps things moving and regular.
Be aware that Fiber does slow down the emptying of the contents of the stomach into the intestines...so it is best NOT to eat a high fiber meal before a big workout, as it can cause increased gas and bloating.
How Much Fiber?
The RDA for fiber is as follows:
OR 14 grams per 1,000 calories
Food Sources of Fiber
The Cooled Potato Trick
There is really cool thing called RESISTANT STARCHES! These are starches that DO NOT get digested and are eaten by the good bacteria of your digestive system, working like a SOLUBLE FIBER! These starches are converted into Short Chain Fatty Acids (super healthy saturated fats, that can only be made in the large intestine through bacterial fermentation...read more in my other blog post "Differentiating your Fatty Acids"
So where do these awesome starches come from? They naturally occur in some foods, such as green bananas, and oatmeal...but you can make them from foods that you would normal consider high glycemic because of their starch content...POTATOES!!!
How? Studies have shown that by cooking, cooling, and then re-cooking starchy potatoes and sweet potatoes, you reduce the glycemic load because the process changes the existing starches chemical nature, making the...drumroll please...RESISTANT STARCHES. How cool is that. So, if you want to reduce your glycemic load, and feed your intestines...bake a batch of potatoes, let them set in the fridge and reuse them throughout the week.
I find it very interesting that cultures that have consumed potatoes of various types for thousands of years..did something very similar in the preservation methods...they were able to create this resistant starch because they knew it was easier and better for the digestive system. (pretty cool stuff).
60 minutes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Breakfast: Pastured Cottage Cheese w/Homemade Peach Preserves
How can Cottage Cheese be Pasture Raised? It's all in the cows. Milk that comes from cow that are allowed to forage and eat grass is richer in fat soluble vitamins and minerals (the the calcium dairy is so famous for). Non-pasture raised dairy is supplemented to make up for the lack of naturally occurring nutrition. Synthetic vitamins are hard to digest, and are seldom assimilated properly, and can cause health risks. Get your vitamins the way nature intended when you can.
These peach preserves were sugar free...made by my awesome sister!
Lunch: Fruit & Cheese Plate
Cheese, Meats and Fruits...an easy grab and go lunch.
Dinner: Loco Moco
If you don't know what Loco Moco is...you are seriously missing out! It is a Hawaiian dish that layers rice, hamburger, fried egg and GRAVY. In my version we used Sprouted Brown Rice, Elk Burger, Pasture Raised Eggs, Homemade gravy (using bone broth) and some steamed Broccoli.