No doubt you’ve heard countless times that it is important to get plenty of fiber in your diet. Perhaps you have tried to follow this recommendation but have been uncertain about the importance of fiber and its benefits.
What is Dietary Fiber?
Fiber is the material that plants are made of which your body cannot digest or absorb. It is because of this that fiber passes through your digestive tract relatively whole. Dietary fiber is found mostly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
There are two types of fiber — soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water. This type of fiber is helpful for lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber is found in fruits, peas, beans, and, oats.
Insoluble fiber retains its bulk and does not dissolve in water. Increasing this type of fiber can be helpful for relieving constipation. Nuts, potatoes, beans, and whole grains are great sources of insoluble fiber.
Benefits of a High Fiber Diet
Here are several reasons you will want to be sure you get adequate fiber in your diet:
- Helps Maintain a Healthy Weight
Because high-fiber foods are bulkier and more filling, they keep you feeling satisfied longer which translates to you eating less food.
- Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar
A high-fiber diet, especially soluble fiber, slows the absorption of sugar, improves blood sugar levels and therefore, can be beneficial for people with Diabetes.
- Helps Lower Cholesterol and Improve Heart Health
Soluble fiber has been shown to be very effective for lowering cholesterol levels. High-fiber foods may also help your heart by lowering blood pressure and inflammation.
- Better Bowel Movements
Dietary fiber, especially insoluble fiber, aids in moving waste matter through your colon and helps you to have regular bowel movements. If you have trouble with constipation you will definitely want to increase your fiber intake.
- Reduces Your Risk of Cancer
Research shows that people who regularly eat a high-fiber diet have a lower risk of developing cancer — especially colon cancer. A high-fiber diet can also help decrease the risk of getting hemorrhoids.
To gain the benefits that can come from fiber, follow these tips:
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
- Eat whole grains instead of refined grains
- Include starchy vegetables such as potatoes
- Add plenty of legumes — beans and peas — to your diet
- Eat a handful of nuts or seeds 3 to 4 times a week
- Be sure to drink plenty of water
Why not increase your fiber intake today and enjoy the benefits!
Photo by Anna Pelzer