Discover the Benefits of a High-Fiber Diet When It Comes to Dealing with Stress

Without a doubt, stress can take a serious toll on your body. This is especially true if you’re dealing with chronic stress, the unrelenting type of stress that causes normal bodily functions to become disrupted or even fail.

This can lead to Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS), a condition that continues to worsen if nothing is done to alleviate the stress on your body. More and more experts are stressing the importance of making healthier lifestyle choices to ward off stress and it all starts with diet. Adding fibrous foods to your diet will allow you to experience the stress-reducing benefits of a high-fiber diet. You may not realize it yet, but a high-fiber diet will help keep your body’s stress response system running efficiently.

An Overview of Your Body’s Stress Response
When faced with stress, your body has a system it readily turns to known as the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response system. This system is automatically engaged the moment your body encounters a threat.

The NEM stress response system doesn’t just utilize a single organ but instead involves the simultaneous actions of various organs making up six distinct circuits: hormone, cardionomic, detoxification, neuroaffect, metabolic, and inflammation.

The metabolic response of the NEM system involves the interaction between the liver, pancreas, and thyroid. When stress is present, the thyroid produces hormones that trigger an increase in your body’s basal metabolic rate to ensure you have more than enough energy to deal with the ‘threat’. Meanwhile, the pancreas produces insulin so that your cells receive the glucose they need to provide your body with an energy boost. Finally, the liver clears away any excess metabolites produced as a result of your body’s metabolic stress response.

Just like the metabolic response, the inflammation circuit of the NEM stress response system is also activated the moment stress is detected. The inflammatory response involves the body’s gut microbiome and immune cells. However, any signs of inflammation tend to be subtle.

Normally, the NEM stress response system is expected to work seamlessly and your body recovers once the stress has passed. However, increased inflammatory markers can lead to conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), leaky gut, inflammatory bowel disease, and food sensitivities. At the same time, a compromised inflammatory response leads to greater susceptibility to infection and frequent colds.

Moreover, when stress becomes chronic, this can also lead to significant hormonal imbalances throughout your body, which can affect several bodily functions and trigger Adrenal Fatigue. The only way to recover from Adrenal Fatigue is to strengthen your body so that it can once again manage stress. This can be done by increasing your regular intake of fiber.

The Benefits of a High-Fiber Diet Against Stress
Fiber is a type of a carbohydrate that your body is not capable of digesting because fiber is not readily broken down into sugar molecules. As a result, it passes through your digestive tract undigested and also stops you from feeling hungry and controls your sugar levels.

When it comes to the NEM stress response system, fiber can be of great assistance. In fact, a study published in 2017 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases reported that fiber can help reduce inflammation levels in the body. Another study published in 2013 in Advances in Nutrition showed that fiber intake assists the anti-inflammatory activities of the body.

Eating fiber also leads to a highly diverse gut microbiome. A study published in 2017 in the International Journal of Obesity found that increasing your fibre intake can significantly improve your energy metabolism.

In addition, dietary fiber can play a major role in reducing cortisol levels. One study published in 2015 in the Psychopharmacology journal found that a prebiotic intake of soluble fiber resulted in lower cortisol levels in saliva. Moreover, more positive emotional responses were observed. Therefore, eating more fibre may help you fight off negative emotions such as anxiety, fear, and worry. As you can see, fiber is more than capable of making your body feel better, both inside and out.

How to Get More Fiber into Your Daily Diet to Fight Adrenal Exhaustion
As you may have noticed, fiber can play an important role in helping to prevent Adrenal Fatigue. This is because fiber can also help you deal with stress better. With a better handle on your stress levels, the odds of overworking your body will be less and you’ll be able to bring yourself back to a calm state much more easily.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to incorporate more fiber into your diet. Just keep in mind that you may be allergic to certain foods so it’s always best to consult with a physician or nutritionist before trying anything new. Similarly, be sure to consult with your physician before taking any type of supplement, especially if you are taking medications as there may be some contraindications.

That being said, here are some tips on how you can enjoy the benefits of a high-fiber diet on a regular basis:

Eat a Fibrous Breakfast
Indeed, your first meal of the day can definitely benefit from more fiber. Instead of your usual bowl of cornflakes, why not try a more fibrous alternative like bran flakes, which could easily add an additional 6 grams of fiber to your daily diet without much effort. You could also opt for other types of whole grain cereal.

Whatever you choose, just make sure your cereal choice is not high in sugar. If you’re already suffering from Adrenal Fatigue, sugary foods are bad news and will only cause your body to work harder and place it under additional stress.

Eat More Flaxseeds and Chia Seeds
Flaxseeds and chia seeds are small brown seeds that can add a touch of nuttiness to your oatmeal, salad dressings, applesauce, yogurt, and more. Not only are they rich in fiber but high in omega-3 fatty acids too. Hence, these seeds can keep your total blood cholesterol levels down.

Make Replacements When it Comes to White bread, Rice, or Pasta
Sure, white bread, rice, and pasta taste pretty good but if you want to experience the benefits of a high-fiber diet, you may have to take them off the menu. Instead, go for their more fibrous counterparts such as barley, bulgur, and wild rice. Whole wheat pasta can taste just as good with pasta sauce.

Add More Vegetables to Your Cooking
Vegetables are naturally rich in fiber and can easily be added to any dish, whether it’s an omelet, soup, stew, sauce, or stir-fry. Plus, they’ll make your meals healthier and tastier.

Consider Eating the Peel
You may not realize it, but a good amount of fiber can be found in the peels of fruits and vegetables. So, it’s highly advisable to stop peeling them before you eat them.

Add Some Bulk to Your Salads and Soups
Soups and salads can make for a healthy meal and you can make them even healthier by introducing some high-fiber additions. For instance, toss in some black beans, peas, kidney beans, nuts, and seeds into your salads. Or add them to your soups to make them tastier and more nourishing.

Add Some Bulk to Your Baking
If you happen to love baked goods like bread, muffins, cookies and cakes, there are ways to modify the recipes, so you can enjoy more benefits of a high-fiber diet for stress prevention. For instance, you can substitute some whole-grain flour in the place of white flour in bread. Or add some unprocessed wheat bran or crushed bran cereal to your cookies, muffins, and other baked treats to give them a nice, nutty taste.

Eat Fruits Instead of Just Drinking Juice
Eating whole fruits allows you to consume more of their fiber. At the same time, whole fruits tend to have fewer calories than fruit juice since they don’t have any added sugar or flavorings. This can help you get your weight gain under control since we often tend to eat unhealthy foods due to stress.

Make Some Healthy Substitutes When You Eat Out
Of course, you’re not expected to prepare all your meals on a daily basis. If you decide to eat out, consider making certain substitutions to add more fiber to your diet. Try asking for whole grain bread or a whole wheat bun when you order a sandwich. You could also try an organic veggie patty instead of a regular beef patty.

Make Sure Your Snacks Have a Lot of Fiber too
When it comes to fiber, it’s recommended to include it in all of your meals, including snacks. Have some raw vegetables or whole grain crackers that you can enjoy with hummus, nut butter, or low-fat cheese. Or enjoy them with some nuts and seeds.

Consider Taking a Fiber Supplement
Wholesome foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and beans may be high in natural fiber, but it’s possible you may have an intolerance or allergy to some of them, which can prevent you from experiencing the benefits of a high-fiber diet for stress. In this case, regularly taking a fiber supplement may be a good alternative.

Today, there are many types of fiber supplements on the market—in capsules, chewable tablets, and powders you dissolve in a drink.

If you’re considering trying any of these supplements, note that these supplements are known to interact with medications such as antidepressants, anticoagulants, and cholesterol-lowering drugs. Also, they are known to affect blood sugar levels.

As you can see, it’s possible for you to start enjoying the benefits of a high-fiber diet to reduce stress right away. All you have to do is make some easy and smart changes to your eating habits, making them healthier and better suited to managing stress. You may even be able to avoid the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue altogether. If you’re already suffering from Adrenal Fatigue, a high-fiber diet can help you regain your strength, so you can begin to recover.

© Copyright 2019 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.




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