Yep – you read that right – fiber intake can help improve brain health! New research shows that consuming optimal amounts of fiber on a regular basis reduces inflammation. As mammals age, brain immune cells known as microglia become chronically inflamed. These cells then respond by producing chemicals that impair cognitive and motor functions.
Fiber intake inhibits the production of these harmful chemicals. This is thought to occur because when fiber gets into your intestines bacteria metabolize it and produce Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) and in particular one called Butyrate which reduces inflammation of the microglia cells in the brain.
The key to reaping the benefits of optimal fiber intake is eating the right sources of fiber because not all fiber is created equal. Great sources of fiber include organic whole husk psyllium, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds as well as broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes and sweet potatoes, and onions. Other good sources including pears, prunes, dried figs and dates, almonds, and apples with the skin intake.
Certain high fiber foods can cause some issues in certain people including beans and lentils that have high levels of lectins which are part of certain plants self-defense mechanisms. It is also important to eat organic versions of fiber because many vegetables are sprayed with Round-up which is a known cancer-causing agent. Round-up aka Glyphosate is heavily sprayed on all non-organic grains which means that unless you choose organic forms you are likely doing your brain as much harm as good because of the chemical load you are exposing it to when consuming non-organic grain products!
How much fiber should you be eating?
The RDA for fiber is 25 grams for woman and 38 grams per day for men with the vast majority of Americans eating less than half this amount! When upping fiber intake do it gradually and remember to take in plenty of water with the fiber to prevent issues. For most of us this level of intake will take a conscious effort to eat more high fiber foods and an organic psyllium supplement in your shake can be a great way to up your fiber intake.