Today’s Solutions: September 28, 2023

Can’t shake the feeling of exhaustion lately? The solution might require you to take more than just a nap—it could be that you are low in certain nutrients.

When it comes to fatigue, being low in iron is usually thought to be the cause. However, there’s another nutrient that can help you fend off fatigue: fiber.

“Although fiber doesn’t provide energy, it does aid in energy regulation,” explains Lindsey Klein, RD. 

The fiber-fatigue connection

Usually, people think of foods that are rich in protein and healthy fats when they want to energize. Fiber is often overlooked as an energy booster because it’s considered calorie-free. However, there’s a specific kind of fiber called soluble fiber that provides energy for bacteria in the gut to produce short-chain fatty acids. “Your body can then use those short-chain fatty acids for energy for the large intestine,” Klein says.

When thinking about fiber, the roughage from fruits and veggies comes to mind. This is an example of insoluble fiber, which helps us bulk up our stool. Soluble fiber is the kind of fiber that’s found in oats, beans, lentils, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. It’s responsible for absorbing water and creating a gel-like substance that supports the digestive system. “When soluble fiber is in the picture, it slows down the rate that sugar enters the cells,” which helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Soluble fiber is key to stabilizing energy levels. Without it, blood sugar levels will fluctuate dramatically, which will translate to how energized you feel throughout the day.

“Fiber is also filing and has a satiating effect,” Klein adds. “This means less hunger and more ability to focus on other tasks.”

What to eat to stave off fatigue

It’s recommended that we eat around 25 grams of fiber per day, but for ideal energy levels, we should combine our fiber intake with protein and healthy fats. Here are some of Klein’s snack suggestions:

  1. Pears with ricotta cheese, honey, and cinnamon
    Pears have both insoluble and soluble fiber, with 29 percent of their total fiber content sitting at 29 percent. Ricotta cheese is a great source of protein and selenium, calcium, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. To top it off, cinnamon adds a bit of sweetness and will be an added help in keeping blood sugar levels steady.
  2. Dried dates with peanut butter
    We discussed the health benefits of peanut butter in this article here. All of its nutritional goodness combined with dried dates, which are also high in fiber, protein, and healthy pats is a surefire recipe for a midday pick-me-up.
  3. Avocado on whole wheat bread, apple slices, feta cheese, honey, and arugula
    Avocado, whole wheat bread, apples, and arugula are wonderful sources of fiber while the feta cheese (and also the avocado) bring both protein and healthy fats to the table. 
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