Fiber is a part of a healthy diet and a diet with enough fiber has many health benefits. Enough consumption of fiber is essential in preventing diabetes, heart diseases, some cancers; weight gain as well is improving digestive health. Unfortunately, many people do not take enough fiber. On average, most people take about 14g of fiber per day but it is best to have at least 18g a day. Notably, fiber is found in foods that are from plants.
What is a dietary fiber
Dietary fiber is commonly referred to as roughage or bulk entails all parts of plant foods that our bodies cannot digest or absorb. Fiber is not digested in our body and hence it passes rather intact via your digestive system. Dietary fiber is mainly present in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains and is possibly best known for its ability to prevent constipation.
Soluble fiber- This is a type of fiber that dissolves in water. Upon dissolving in water, it forms a gel-like material. It helps in lowering glucose levels and blood cholesterol. It is found in peas, beans, oats, citrus fruits, apples, psyllium, and barley.
Insoluble fiber- This type of fiber enhances the movement of food through your digestive system and adds bulkiness in stool. It is very important to those who struggle with irregular stool or constipation. The best plant based foods with insoluble fiber include wheat bran, green beans, and potatoes.
Most foods from plants, for example, beans contain both insoluble and soluble fiber but the amount of each may vary from one plant food to another. Therefore, to have the best health benefits from fiber, you should eat a variety of fiber rich foods.
Benefits of a high fiber diet
Dietary fiber is mainly essential in maintaining a healthy digestive system. It also largely contributes to processes like stabilizing cholesterol and glucose levels. On the other hand, fiber also prevents diseases such as diabetes, bowel cancer, and coronary heart disease.
Disorders that arise from an insufficient fiber diet include
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Heart disease
- Some cancers
Therefore, the benefits of a high fiber diet may be summarized as follows:
- Normalizing bowel movements- dietary fiber enhances the size and weight of stool and softens the stool making it easier to pass hence reducing the chances of constipation.
- Maintaining bowel health- a diet rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber lowers the risk of developing hemorrhoids in the large intestines.
- Lowering cholesterol levels- soluble fiber help in lowering aggregate blood cholesterol levels by reducing low-density lipoprotein.
- Controlling blood sugar levels- soluble fiber slows the absorption of sugar hence improving blood sugar levels. A healthy fiber diet with both insoluble and soluble fiber may also minimize the danger of getting type 2 diabetes.
- Helps in attaining healthy weight- high-fiber diets are less calories
Fiber and aging
- For older people, a high fiber diet is relatively more important since digestive system slows with age
You should also drink enough water as well as taking your high fiber diet to cure or prevent constipation.
- The benefits of fiber in intestinal health are clear and evident. Therefore, a meal rich in fiber will help you keep so many complications away. Enjoy your fiber rich diet.