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You’ve probably heard many people advise you, “Eat more fiber.” But do you understand why fiber is pretty essential for your health? Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what does fiber do for your body? This article will disclose to you what exactly fiber does for your body.
Just to refresh your memory, dietary fiber, also known as bulk or roughage is a carbohydrate of plant origin that your body cannot digest or absorb. As a result, it passes through your digestive system unaltered and has little to no caloric importance. You can find fiber in vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains.
Classes of Fiber
Fiber is mainly classified into two main classes. These are the soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble Fiber: The soluble fiber readily dissolves in water to become gelatinous in form. Soluble fiber helps to lower glucose as well as blood cholesterol levels. You can find it in foodstuffs like apples, oats, beans, peas, carrots, citrus fruits, psyllium, and barley.
Insoluble Fiber: This type of fiber remains in its fibrous form, which helps to promote food movement through your digestive system and to add bulk to your stool to prevent constipation and the occurrence of irregular stool. You can find it in foodstuffs like wheat bran; whole wheat flour; beans; nuts and vegetables for instance cauliflower, potatoes, and green beans.
What Exactly Does Fiber do for Your Body.
If you want to get the most out of your fiber diet, it is vital to eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods. The recommended fiber intake should be 25 to 38 grams daily. Men should consume approximately 38 grams of fiber per day while women should eat 25 grams. Unfortunately, most Americans consume less than half the amount of the recommended fiber intake. Here is exactly what fiber does for your body and its benefits.
Right for Your Digestive and Immune Systems
- Prebiotic fiber feeds the good bacteria that live in your digestive system. These good bacteria keep the bad bacteria in check. A reliable digestive system helps to prevent digestive problems hence maintaining the overall immunity of the body as well as the health of your digestive system.
Regulates Blood Sugar Level.
- For people with diabetes, soluble fiber helps to regulate the blood sugar level by slowing the velocity at which food is emptied from the stomach. As a result, there is a delay in the rise of blood sugar after meals. Scientists have also discovered that a healthy diet which includes an insoluble fiber reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Increases Life Expectancy.
- Recent scientific studies have disclosed that people who consume a high amount of fiber have a considerably low risk of dying from any cause. A recent report published by the National Cancer Institute established that for every ten grams increase in the intake of fiber, the risk of death reduced by 15 percent in women and by 12 percent in men.
Lowers Blood Cholesterol Levels.
- The soluble fiber present in foodstuffs like flaxseed, oats, beans and oat bran helps to lower the total blood cholesterol levels by reducing the amount of low-density lipoprotein. Furthermore, recent studies have revealed that high-fiber foods may have other health benefits to the heart, for instance, reducing inflammation and blood pressure.
It Helps in Weight Loss.
- Foods with high fiber tend to be more filling than foods with little fiber. Therefore, you are more likely to consume less and still feel satisfied for long. Moreover, foods with a high fiber content take long to eat and add bulk to your diet without adding many calories. Therefore, the amount of food taken and the quantity of fat produced and stored by the body reduces significantly.
Maintains Bowel Health.
- A fiber-rich diet may help to lower the risk of diverticular disease as well as hemorrhoids. As we speak, researchers are conducting in-depth studies to determine how this can play a role in preventing colon diseases.
- Apart from increasing the size and weight of your stool, fiber also softens it. As a result, your chance of constipation decreases because it is easy to pass a soft and bulk stool compared to a hard and less-bulky stool. Additionally, if you have watery stool, the fiber may assist in solidifying the stool because, besides absorbing water from the stool, it also adds weight to the stool.
How Fiber Works, Truth About Dietary Fiber
It is beneficial to note that dietary fiber alongside a balanced diet is vital for good health. You should aim for natural soluble and insoluble fiber to reap all the healthy benefits. Avoid highly processed or refined grains and juices because their naturally occurring fiber has been stripped from them. If you suffer from high cholesterol, bowel issues or have difficulty getting adequate amounts of daily fiber, consult your doctor or a registered dietitian. Last but not least, ensure you drink lots of water.