Doctors and nutritionists encourage people to eat a diet healthy in fiber. Dietary fiber is essential to the workings of a healthy digestive system. But why? Let’s take a look at the answers to the question why is fiber important.
Fiber is most well-known for keeping your body regular. Eating fiber helps to stop and relieve constipation. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. The body can’t digest certain parts of plant foods. This roughage moves through the stomach, small intestine and colon helping to clear our waste.
soluble fiber vs. insoluble fiber
Fiber comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is easily dissolved in water. It becomes gel-like in consistency. Oats, beans, apples, peas, citrus fruits, barley and carrots are all good sources of soluble fiber. It’s important because it can aid in lowering blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It moves through the digestive system intact and helps to clear out waste. Individuals who suffer from constipation will often increase their intake of insoluble fiber. Good sources of insoluble fiber include nuts, beans, broccoli and cauliflower, whole-wheat flour, bran and potatoes.
A lot of plant foods have both soluble and insoluble fiber. You get the most health benefits by eating a variety of foods high in fiber.
benefits of a high-fiber diet
A high-fiber diet can keep bowl movements regular. Dietary fiber bulks up the stool which makes it easier to evacuate. This also means constipation is less likely to occur.
Fiber can have heart-health benefits. Soluble fiber can help lower blood cholesterol levels. It can also reduce blood pressure and inflammation. The best sources of fiber for a healthier heart are beans, oat bran, oats and flaxseed.
Blood sugar levels can be kept more stabilized with a high-fiber diet. Soluble fiber slows down the body’s absorption of sugar. Eating a diet high in soluble fiber can actually cut your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. It can also reduce the chances of gall and kidney stones.
Fiber can also help maintain weight. Foods that high in fiber are dense and therefore more filling. Eating high fiber foods will make you feel fuller for longer. Moreover, foods high in fiber are less energy dense. This means that relative to their volume they have fewer calories.
how much fiber?
Most people are not getting enough fiber in their diets. You need to regularly eat fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, in particular, to keep your body adequately supplied with fiber.
It is generally recommended that men aged 50 or younger consume about 38 grams of fiber per day. Women, aged 50 or younger, should consume 25 grams per day. Men over the age of 50 need about 30 grams of fiber per day. While women over the age of 50 should consume about 21 grams per day.
Most people only get about 10-15 grams of fiber per day. If you think you need to up your fiber intake you should concentrate on eating more whole plant foods. This means avoiding refined and processed products like canned fruit and vegetables. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, legumes and whole-grain products will all contribute to a diet high in fiber. Make sure you are also drinking enough water to get the most benefits from a high fiber diet.