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Five Friendly High-Fiber, Low-Carb Keto Foods

<article> <section> <p>When we talk about “getting healthy,” a huge chunk of that work falls to what we put on our plates. You probably already have ambitious health goals if you are tackling a low-carb keto diet, and a great way to ensure that your plate is as healthful as possible is by making sure you are getting enough <i>fiber</i>.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Facts on Fiber</header> <p>Fiber is a form of plant sugar that our bodies cannot break down. It comes in two types.</p> <ul> <li><i>Soluble fiber</i> is easily dissolved in water. It is readily eaten up and fermented in the large intestine and is known for creating a prolonged feeling of fullness. Soluble fiber includes <i>prebiotics</i> that feed the good and bad bugs that live in our gut. Examples of this fiber are bee pollen and sunchokes.</li> <ul> <li>This form of fiber is a great addition when you’re trying to curb carb cravings in the beginning of your keto diet because it helps you feel fuller longer. </li> </ul> <li><i>Insoluble fiber</i> does not dissolve in water. Some forms of this fiber, like the <i>resistant starches</i> found in green bananas, can be broken down by the bugs in our large intestine, but for the most part, this type of fiber passes right through us and helps make bowel movements regular. </li> </ul> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="doctor-crossing-arms-with-stethescope-0070"> </picture> <p>A lot of people who suffer from constipation find that it is due to too little insoluble fiber, and they are instead consuming too much soluble fiber, or more commonly, not enough fiber overall. In fact, the Standard American Diet (SAD) and anti-constipation medications seem to go hand-in-hand. Most doctors recommend that women consume around twenty-five grams of fiber a day and for men to aim for thirty-eight grams <sup>1</sup>, and indeed, there are many fiber supplements on the market to help Americans adhere to this recommendation. But the solution to upping your fiber intake is much simpler than that, because forms of dietary fiber exist in plant tissues right down to the very makeup of the plant’s cells.</p> <p>A big difference between animal cells and plant cells is that plant cells are surrounded by a <i>cell wall</i>. This cell wall gives plants their structure and rigidity, since plants to do not have bones to hold them up. The cell wall is made up of a sugar called <i>cellulose</i>, and it’s a type of sugar that our digestive tracts cannot break down. Not all fiber is made up of this sugar, however, but it’s a perfect example of how integral fiber is to our consumption of plants. You eat plants? You’re getting some fiber!</p> <p>Fiber plays such a major role in maintaining the balance of bugs in our gut, a network called the <i>microbiome</i>, that it is hard to pinpoint an aspect of health that fiber doesn’t influence. Fiber, in the most basic sense, feeds the good bugs in our microbiomes<sup>2</sup>, the ones that influence our weight loss, energy levels, and cognitive clarity.</p> <p>However, if you noticed in the fiber examples above, most high-fiber foods are high in carbs. Green bananas are still just as high-carb as their ripe counterparts, sunchokes are akin to potatoes when it comes carb grams, and indeed, boiled white potatoes are considered high in insoluble fiber. So where does this leave keto dieters who want a healthy gut, good bowels movements, <i>and</i> ketosis-driven weight loss?</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Five Keto Fiber Foods</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="avocados-light-green-bunch-0070"> </picture> <div class="sub-head">1. Avocados</div> <p>Avocados are an excellent staple on the ketogenic diet. They are super creamy and full of healthy fats. In fact, they are seventy percent fat, containing twenty-two grams of fat per serving, which is the most fat you can hope to get out of a solid vegetable source<sup>3</sup>. They are also very high in fiber with 4.6 grams per half an avocado<sup>4</sup>.</p> <p>A lot of people on the ketogenic diet will go for an entire avocado a day, giving their fat macros a huge boost and helping them reach their fiber goals with a whopping 9.2 grams!</p> <p>Avocados can be eaten raw as a garnish to a dish, in spreads like guacamole, put into smoothies for texture and flavor, or cooked. They tend to change flavor when cooked which can be a nice surprise to anyone who isn’t a big fan of their raw taste.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="flax-seeds-with-flax-meal-0070"> </picture> <div class="sub-head">2. Flax seeds</div> <p>Flax seeds on the ketogenic diet are our favorite in the seed category because they have so many great health benefits. They’ve been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and even cancer! But we love them as one of the keto fiber foods because, along with containing lots of both insoluble and soluble fiber, they are high in <i>omega-3s</i>.</p> <p>Omega-3s are a highly anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid that we do not eat nearly enough of on the SAD. If you’re on a ketogenic diet, you’re not fully ingrained in the SAD, but that doesn’t mean that your body couldn’t use some help in healing from its negative effects. By making flax seeds one of your keto fiber foods, you can be sure that you’re getting the right kinds of fats while increasing your fiber intake.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="cut-open-coconuts-in-hands-0070"> </picture> <div class="sub-head">3. Coconuts</div> <p>Coconuts are technically nuts that have adapted to living by the ocean. Coconuts are a very versatile food and are responsible for an entire industry of naturally made products. When you open a coconut, there is sweet liquid inside, coconut water, and damp white flesh or “meat” that is high in healthy fats. Coconut oil comes from pressing this meat, but unlike the oil in flaxseeds, the oil produced from coconuts is high in omega-6s.</p> <p>This essential fatty acid is, well, <i>essential</i>, just like its omega-3 counterpart. However, omega-6s are readily available in the SAD, and they do not fight inflammation nearly as well as omega-3s. In fact, they help facilitate inflammation<sup>5</sup>. But the oil produced from coconuts is still high in healthy fats; in fact, it holds twenty-three grams per cup.</p> <p>The added fiber packed away in this meat is what makes coconuts one of our top keto fiber foods. You can eat damp, raw coconut meat, and it will contain roughly seven grams of fiber per cup<sup>6</sup>. If you eat the meat dried, it will contain even more!</p> <p>Like the other nuts and seeds, coconuts make for a great snack. You can eat the flesh raw in a smoothie or as a tasty treat to help you hit your macros, or you can sprinkle dried flakes on your food for added flavor.</p> <div class="sub-head">4. Non-starchy vegetables</div> <p>Non-starchy vegetable are vegetables that are low-carb like leafy greens and crunchy colorful vegetables. Peppers, string beans, kale, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli all make up this category. Eating non-starchy vegetables is the best way to increase your fiber intake, and we highly recommend them for any ketogenic dieter.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="greens-in-bunches-farmers-market-0070"> </picture> <p>Unlike our top four keto fiber foods, non-starchy vegetables do not contain much fat. But that shouldn’t deter you from adding them to your plate! Non-starchy vegetables are where the vast majority of our <i>micronutrients</i> come from. They are full of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function properly and perform all of the wonderful changes that the ketogenic diet triggers.</p> <p>And while non-starchy vegetables do not contain much for your daily fat intake, they do contain a lot of fiber.</p> <p>When we cook vegetables, we break up some of their dietary fiber. But this is not to say that you have to eat all your plants raw! One cup of raw broccoli contains 2.3 grams of fiber, whereas one cup of steamed broccoli contains five grams<sup>7</sup>. <i>But wait, 5 is more than 2.3!</i> You’re right, it is, but when you steam vegetables, the broken-up fiber makes the food smaller, so to get cup of steamed broccoli, you have to use more than one cup of raw broccoli. If you find that you’re having trouble making room in your stomach for all the nutritionally dense foods you want to eat, try steaming them!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Fiber and You</header> <p>On the ketogenic diet, it’s important to tally up your macros, yes, but it’s also a great idea to keep track of your fiber intake to make sure that you’re not only digesting your food well, but that your gut microbiome has all the resources it needs to be happy. Between avocados, different nuts and seeds, and non-starchy vegetables, you can get a satiating amount of fiber each day without disrupting your ketosis as common fiber sources would. We here at Warrior Made think you should be able to have your cake and eat it too, so to speak.</p> <div class="sub-head">Links</div> <ol> <li> <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Position of the American Dietetic Association</a></li> <li>“The Dental Diet” by Steven Lin</li> <li>My Fitness Pal nutritional data records</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Hass avocado composition and potential health effects</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Wound Healing and Omega-6 Fatty Acids</a></li> <li>My Fitness Pal nutritional data records</li> <li>My Fitness Pal nutritional data records</li> </ol> </section> </article>

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