Adding Fiber to Your Smoothies
Smoothies are an amazing way to get tons of nutrients into your diet, but you can take your smoothies to the next level with the right add-ins! This is a part of a blog post series highlighting different smoothie add-ins and why each is so beneficial for you. Our goal is to help you get more out of every blend!
Smoothie Add-Ins: Getting More Fiber
The FDA suggests that high fiber diets can promote intestinal regularity, reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and even boost your mood and energy!
However, hardly anyone gets enough fiber in the US. On average, people only get about 16g of fiber per day when it is recommended to have 25g-38g of fiber a day. This is a large gap that a nutritious smoothie can help fill, but first, why is it so important to get enough fiber?
Why Fiber is Good for You
There are two different kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber attracts water and turns into a thicker consistency which helps slow down the digestion of macro-nutrients. This is beneficial because it lowers your glycemic response which in turn helps stabilize your blood sugar. Along with helping your body work more efficiently, this also helps boost mood and raise energy levels (for example, think about sugar rushes and sugar crashes!). Finally, slowing down your digestion has the added benefit of helping you feel full for longer. This is especially helpful to keep us from reaching for those pesky snacks all the time!
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, doesn’t absorb water and therefore isn’t broken down when you eat it. Its main purpose is to aid in digestion and regularity while also helping to keep you full. One of the main sources of insoluble fiber is in the skins of fruits. This is why, when we’re able, we keep the skin on our fruits (like pears) to increase fiber intake.
Overall, both are very important, and both can almost always be found in fruits, vegetables, and nuts. This is one of the reasons we love smoothies so much: they’re full of fruits and vegetables, and there are some great things you can add to them to increase your fiber intake!
What to Add in Your Smoothie for More Fiber
Oats in particular have Beta-glucan: a soluble fiber which has been shown to also be effective in reducing cholesterol levels!
Pears are high in fiber with one medium pear having 6g total. Most of it is in the peel, though, so make sure to leave that on!
3. Ground Flaxseed
Flaxseed is a great source for both soluble and insoluble fiber. Just make sure it’s ground up! Your body can’t digest whole flaxseed, so either grind it yourself, or buy it that way from the store to ensure you get all of its benefits.
4. Chia Seeds
They are especially high in soluble fiber which is why they can absorb up to 12x their weight in water (like in chia seed pudding).
5. Hemp seeds
Hemp seeds are another great source of soluble and insoluble fiber.
6. Psyllium Powder
As a supplement focused on adding fiber to foods, this can be a great addition to smoothies!
As you add more fiber to your diet, make sure you increase your intake gradually to let your body get used to it. Overall, make sure you get plenty of fiber in your diet to help control hunger, improve digestive health, and reap its multiple other benefits!
1. 2015_dgac_scientific_report.pdf. https://ods.od.nih.gov/pubs/2015_dgac_scientific_report.pdf. Accessed February 16, 2019.
2. Brown L, Rosner B, Willett WW, Sacks FM. Cholesterol-lowering effects of dietary fiber: a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;69(1):30-42. doi:10.1093/ajcn/69.1.30