We’ve all seen the commercials.
Eat this extra-chewy breakfast bar loaded with fiber! Stir this questionably edible fiber powder into your morning OJ! Fiber this! Fiber that!
Sure, it sounds nice, but what exactly is fiber? Is it actually important or is this just another marketing ploy?
Oh, it’s important, alright.
Not only does fiber promote regular digestive health, but this nutrient is also integral in maintaining a healthy weight and lowering your risk of many chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Fortunately, you don’t need to buy cardboard-like fiber bars or a fiber supplement to satisfy your nutritional needs. You just have to be a bit more mindful and creative with your diet and meal choices, and maybe add a bowl of oatmeal or two into your daily routine.
Read on to learn all about this little-understood nutrient and our four favorite ways to add another serving or two of fiber into a delicious bowl of piping-hot oatmeal.
Why is Fiber Important?
Before we dive into why exactly fiber is so important, first let’s clear up some confusion about this poorly understood nutrient.
Fiber isn’t like other nutrients. It’s not digested by the body and never enters your bloodstream and cells. So, what is it?
It’s a metric. Fiber is simply a measure of the food you eat that your body can’t break down.
Hang on a second — surely it can’t be good for your body to ingest things that it can’t break down? Actually, it is. Think of your digestive system like a muscle.
Your muscles need a bit of resistance every day to stay strong and healthy.
When astronauts journey to the International Space Station (ISS) and leave gravity for nine months, their muscles have nothing to push against. With no resistance, no workouts, their muscles completely atrophy and wither away.
That’s why these veteran astronauts spend 2-3 hours exercising every day with specially-made equipment. It’s a requirement simply to be able to return to Earth without dissolving into a puddle.
This is why fiber is so incredibly important — it’s daily exercise for our guts.
How Much Fiber Do You Need?
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women under the age of 50 should aim for about 25 grams of fiber while men should aim for 38 grams.
Again, don’t go rushing out to buy fiber supplements. There are hundreds of simple, delicious ways to infuse more of this natural roughage into your daily eating habits.
Start by seeking out more unprocessed fruits and veggies. Those natural husks and pips and seeds are exactly what the doctor ordered.
The chewier, tougher bits of your favorite produce demand effort from your stomach and intestines, strengthening your digestive health while infusing your body with a whole host of essential nutrients.
Of course, some popular breakfast foods also pack in whopping amounts of fiber… such as oatmeal!
Is Oatmeal High In Fiber?
Oatmeal is one of the first names on any high-fiber diet and for good reason. This naturally delicious whole grain makes the perfect high-fiber meal, well-suited for customization and experimentation with different unprocessed toppings.
But what about the difference between traditional oats and instant oats? Does slow-cooked oatmeal have more fiber?
Good news! Both instant oatmeal and traditional oatmeal contain the exact same fiber content, making both a great option for a high-fiber diet.
1 cup of oats contains about 4 or 5 grams of fiber or around 25% of your daily recommended amount.
Of course, the amount of fiber can vary depending on your chosen brand’s ingredients. Seek out instant oatmeal brands that deliver around 30% of your daily fiber intake along with nutrient-dense inclusions such as nuts, seeds, and naturally sweet freeze-dried fruit.
How to Add Even More Fiber Into Your Oatmeal
While our oatmeal cups certainly pack a punch when it comes to your daily fiber needs, there are always ways to pack even more heart-healthy fiber into every bite. Here are 4 of our favorites!
Flaxseed and Chia Seeds
With high amounts of heart-healthy alpha-linoleic acid, an extra spoonful of flaxseed is a crunchy and delicious way to spice up your oatmeal cup while giving your cardiovascular health a boost.
Adding just two tablespoons of flaxseed to your oatmeal ups the fiber content by 4 grams, satisfying nearly 20% of your daily recommended value by itself.
While chia seeds are only just now gaining popularity in Western diets, they’ve been a staple since Mayan times. Indigenous tribes ground up the seeds, pressed them with oil, and mixed them with water to make a tasty and healthy drink.
Adding just two tablespoons of these chewy seeds packs in another eight grams of fiber! To top it all off, chia seeds are fantastically absorbent, soaking up the liquids in your stomach and helping you feel satiated for longer.
Bursting with sweetness and mouthwatering, juicy flavor, it almost seems unfair that berries can be healthy, too.
Some of the most popular varieties like blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are chock-full of complex carbohydrates. These nutrients ask your body to work a little harder to extract the nutrients, helping you feel full longer.
Toss a couple of raspberries into our Cultivated Vermont and Blueberry Maple oatmeal to infuse an extra 4 grams of fiber into your toasty bowl of oatmeal, or enjoy the freeze-dried strawberries in our Sun-Ripe Strawberry and Madagascar Vanilla oatmeal cup. These help boost the already substantial fiber count to a whopping 7 grams per serving!
We all need the sun, so why not bring a little light into your life with a handful of sunflower kernels in your bowl of oatmeal.
These crunchy seeds are one of the simplest yet healthiest sources of vitamins and minerals. They infuse each bite of your oatmeal with an extra boost of plant-based, heart-healthy fat.
If you’ve never tried scooping a spoonful or two of almond butter into your oatmeal before, today’s the day your life changes.
Every bite of this versatile peanut butter alternative is packed with protein, minerals, and essential nutrients. The heart-healthy fats add another rich layer of flavor to whatever you pair it with.
Grab a jar from your local grocery and scoop some into our Granny Smith Apple and Sunflower Cinnamon oatmeal cup for extra creaminess and a boost of plant-based protein!
Fill up on Fiber with Mylk Labs
Don’t leave your body stranded. Give your gut the workout it deserves by incorporating smarter, high-fiber choices all across your diet.
Instead of reaching for a handful of pretzels or potato chips, add some unprocessed foods into your diet with creamy avocado toast, crunchy carrots and hummus, or a cup of spiced, crispy chickpeas.
Of course, the most reliable and delicious way to infuse fiber into each and every day is through a piping-hot cup of naturally healthy, whole-grain instant oatmeal. Mylk Labs is the only instant oatmeal brand on the market to combine nutritious, naturally occurring fiber with mouthwatering ingredients and guilt-free levels of sodium and unrefined sugar.
With our five unique flavors from Cultivated Blueberry and Vermont Maple to Toasted Coconut and Cassia Cinnamon, there are hundreds of different, delicious ways to infuse even more fiber into each spoonful of scrumptious oatmeal.
While you eagerly wait for your order to arrive, pass the time by reading through our blog to learn more about the hidden health benefits of a simple bowl of instant oatmeal and creative ways to add more protein to an already delicious, whole-grain meal.