It’s common knowledge that eating more protein and working out is beneficial to muscle tone and growth, but there are other things you can do to promote muscle health, too. A healthy, well-balanced diet including lots of dietary fiber is equally important, for example.
Here are some of the impacts fiber consumption has on muscle health.
1. Energy Balance
Various attributes of dietary fiber contribute to its effects on energy balance. Fiber takes a longer period of time than most foods to digest, can make you feel fuller longer, and can help make sure your body spends more time absorbing all the nutrients it can from your food. Energy balance is vital to the health of all parts of your body, including the muscles. If you have too little energy, you won’t be able to do the work you need to in order to tone or build muscle. If you have too much energy you aren’t using, that can be a major contributing factor to weight gain.
Fiber intake has a close relationship with satisfying hunger. Consuming it in the right amounts and from the right sources can help you feel satiated without the risk of overeating. This occurs because fiber can increase the size of the food being digested in your gut without simultaneously increasing the number of calories consumed. While there is evidence dietary fiber can hamper the absorption of some nutrients and medications, it also delays glucose absorption, which means it’s an important tool to help regulate blood sugar.
3. Decreased Inflammation
High dietary fiber has been linked to lower instances of inflammation, which is important for overall health, particularly for the body’s immune response, as well as muscle health. If your muscles are inflamed, you’ll be much sorer and stiffer than you otherwise would be, which can halt your muscle tone or growth efforts. If you’re sore and stiff, you’re going to want to treat the inflammation with rest, heat, or ice and stretching, but you’re unlikely to be able or willing to do any more physically demanding work.
4. Weight Balance
Dietary fiber is also an essential tool in eating a healthy diet and keeping yourself at healthy body weight. Because fiber can increase satiety and the balance of energy you’re consuming and expending, it’s a great tool for regulating weight balance. High-fiber foods have a lower energy density than high-fat or high-sugar foods, so if you’re trying to lose weight, you can feel fuller for longer without consuming too many calories. A good weight balance is essential for muscle health because extra fat can put more strain on your musculoskeletal structure. You can increase fiber intake with a variety of supplements, such as psyllium husk capsules or Prebiothrive, or by increasing the consumption of plant-based foods, such as leafy greens, fruit, beans, and whole grains.
5. Energy for Workouts
Because of its effects on energy levels and weight balance, fiber plays a vital role in ensuring you have the energy to exercise and improve your overall health and the health of your muscles. Foods that contain a lot of fiber, such as whole grains and beans, also provide your body with complex carbohydrates with which to make energy and protein with which to build muscle.
6. Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
Dietary fiber aids in controlling your cholesterol levels, which is essential for heart health. Increased fiber intake can help slow the absorption and lower the blood cholesterol level of “bad” cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein. The effect fiber has on lowering the body’s inflammatory response also plays a role in improving and maintaining heart health. It can reduce the inflammation of blood vessels and reduce high blood pressure. Because the heart is central to exercise, particularly cardio, increasing your fiber intake can help you improve your exercise routine, which in turn keeps muscles healthy.
If you’re seeking ways to promote muscle growth, it’s important to consult with your doctor about the best options for your health and wellbeing before you make decisions regarding diet, exercise or supplements.