For years now, there has been a lot of talk about how a high-fiber diet has many health benefits. Some people follow a high-fiber diet, while others do not. So what exactly are the benefits of a high-fiber diet? What is it about fiber that benefits your health, and what does it do within your body to promote good health?
Fiber plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being due to its numerous benefits to the digestive system and beyond. As an essential component of plant-based foods, fiber aids in regulating bowel movements, preventing constipation, and promoting digestive regularity. Moreover, it helps lower cholesterol levels, and stabilize blood sugar levels. It can contribute to weight management by promoting a feeling of fullness and reducing overeating. Additionally, fiber supports a healthy gut microbiome, fostering the growth of beneficial bacteria that contribute to immune function and inflammation reduction. Including an adequate amount of fiber in the diet through fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts is therefore vital for optimal health and disease prevention.
Do you get enough fiber?
Most people do not get enough fiber, and this could be the reason why so many diseases are rampant today. It also contributes to the problem of obesity around the world. So what does getting enough fiber entail? Through extensive research, according to WebMD, on average a person should consume approximately 30 grams of fiber per day. Do you know how much fiber is in your diet? It does vary from diet to diet and culture to culture. If your diet does not consist of 5 to 6 servings of fruits and vegetables per day and if you are not consuming whole wheat and whole-grain cereal and bread chances are you are not getting the daily recommended amount of fiber.
Benefits of a High Fiber Diet
So why is getting fiber in your diet so important? After all, some fall short of their recommended fiber intake yet are still functioning. This is true but are they as healthy as they could be? Are they consuming a diet that will keep them healthy for years to come? Will the lack of fiber contribute to declining health that prevents the body from performing at optimal levels?
As it was mentioned, fiber is the roughage of parts of foods that cannot be fully digested. There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble fiber. Each type of fiber plays a particular role in your digestive tract and affects your body in different ways.
Different Types of Fiber
Soluble fiber is a type of fiber that dissolves in water. As it dissolves, it forms a jelly-like substance, creating bulk. When this bulk or jelly is in the small intestine, it has the qualities that will absorb the cholesterol from your digestive tract and eliminate it from the body through waste. Since this cholesterol is pulled out of the digestive tract, the body then pulls cholesterol from the blood system, regulating the digestive system and lowering the cholesterol level in your bloodstream. Soluble fiber can reduce your serum cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) by as much as 15%. You can consume your soluble fibers through foods like oatmeal, rice bran, apples, citrus, peas, beans, lentils, and psyllium.
On the other hand, insoluble fiber cannot be dissolved in water and is more of the bulk that moves through and cleanses your digestive tract. The purpose of insoluble fiber is to treat constipation and also assist in slowing down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
This can help people who suffer from diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels and preventing spikes of sugar overload. Insoluble fiber can be found in such foods as wheat bran, beans, potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, and root vegetables.
Fiber’s Role in Weight
Another benefit of high fiber is its ability to maintain a healthy weight. Usually, you will consume fewer calories when eating a high-fiber diet because the fiber will make you feel full quicker and give your body that full feeling for a longer period of time. It also aids in the faster elimination of waste, which can reduce weight. Fiber also helps to modify blood glucose levels, reduces or cures constipation, alleviates hemorrhoids, and may reduce the risk of cancer.
The benefits of a high-fiber diet help you feel better and reducing the risk of disease. It also helps you lose weight by eliminating waste faster. So eating leafy green vegetables, consuming fresh as well as dried fruits, reading labels, and observing the amounts of insoluble and soluble fiber will help your body stay healthy.