We talk a lot about gut and microbiome health around here. As we understand more and more about the incredible ecosystems living in and on our bodies, nourishing and caring for them becomes higher and higher priority. It is clear that if the microbiome is healthy, we as individuals have a better chance of actually experiencing wellness: mind, body and heart.
There are multiple forms of fiber. The most well-known are soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fiber absorbs water, whereas insoluble fiber does not. Both are important. Soluble fiber is a good binder for toxins and metabolites. The viscosity of it also smoothes transit of food through the digestive tract. Soluble fiber adds bulk to stool, giving the colon feedback that stimulates bowel movement.
Lesser known fibers include prebiotics and resistant starches. These fibers have a super functional role in selectively feeding beneficial microorganisms like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria that maintain the environment of the colon and help prevent overgrowth of potentially pathogenic bacteria and yeast.
In general, Americans need to eat more fiber. The USDA recommends adults eat 25-30 grams per day, though most Americans get about half that. Our hunter-and-gatherer ancestors ate closer to 100 grams per day.
Here's a nutrition-packed one pot recipe including some fiber superstars: artichoke hearts and legumes.
- 10 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-oz can artichoke hearts, drained
- 6 boneless chicken thighs
- 1 cup water
- Heat a large skilled over medium heat. Add oil, onions and garlic. Sauté for 3-5 minutes or until the onions are fragrant and translucent.
- Add lemon zest and juice, thyme, rosemary and chili flakes.
- Spoon in the cannellini beans, artichoke hearts and (drained) sun-dried tomatoes to the skillet and stir well to combine.
- Place the chicken thighs in a single layer over the skillet mixture.
- Add water, cover and cook at a low simmer for 15-20 minute or until the inner temperature of the chicken thighs reach 165 degrees F.
Jesse Haas, CNS, LN is a licensed functional nutritionist and certified health coach. She was a founding partner of Wellness Minneapolis and was an active practitioner with the clinic from 2014-2022. To connect with her regarding functional nutrition and health coaching services, please follow this link.