How Does Fiber Impact Your Health?
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You have probably heard that fiber is essential for a healthy diet many times.
But do you know why fiber is considered to be so good for your health?
Well, dietary fiber—also known as roughage—is the non-digestible part of plant foods. Unlike other food components, like proteins or carbohydrates, which the body breaks down and absorbs, fiber is passed relatively intact through your digestive tract and out of the body.
Does Fiber Help to Maintain a Healthy Weight?
Various studies have shown that increased dietary fiber promotes weight loss by reducing calorie intake. Certain types of soluble fibers soak up water in the intestine, slowing the absorption of nutrients.
Slowing the absorption leads to an increased feeling of fullness, contributing to reduced calorie intake and a healthier weight over time.
Does Fiber Lower Your Risk of Chronic Disease?
High intake of dietary fiber has also been linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
For people with diabetes, increasing the intake of fiber—particularly soluble fiber—plays a significant role in slowing the absorption of sugar and helping lower blood glucose levels.
It has been shown to lower cholesterol by binding to bile and taking it out of the body, reducing the risk of heart disease.
Fiber decreases cancer risk by helping your body eliminate carcinogens.
Does Fiber Feed Good Bacteria?
The good bacteria that make up your microbiome feeds off fiber to survive and function. As your friendly gut bacteria take up fiber, they produce nutrients for the body, including short-chain fatty acids, which feed the cells in the colon for reduced systemic inflammation and improvement in digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome.
Therefore, consuming adequate amounts of fiber optimizes the function of the friendly bacteria in the gut.
Does Fiber Give You Healthy Bowel Movements and Bowel Health?
Fiber helps regulate bowel movements by pulling water into the colon, which helps bulk up your stool and guard against constipation.
Insoluble fiber also lowers your risk of developing hemorrhoids, a condition caused by excess pressure on the bowel walls due to forced bowel movements in low-fiber diets.
This contributes to improved bowel health.
Does Fiber Help You Live Longer?
A high-fiber diet can contribute greatly to a generally healthier lifestyle. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that increasing your dietary fiber intake is linked to a reduced risk of succumbing to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and all cancers.
Dietary fiber continues to play an essential role in our health.
We should note that too much fiber in the diet can cause bloating, gas and constipation. So, make sure you add fiber to your diet gradually and drink adequate fluids to prevent constipation and minimize gas.
Interested in Learning More About How Fiber Impacts Overall Health?
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