In this post, you’ll learn about the health benefits of fiber.
What is fiber?
Dietary fiber is an indigestible plant-based roughage or bulk.
It is a type of carbohydrate or other carbs-like nutrients that helps to provide energy and cell growth.
Sometimes, fiber might be referred to in the plant-based context. But when it comes to dietary fiber, the terms fiber and dietary fiber are interchangeable.
What are the types of fiber?
Fiber consists of nonstarch polysaccharides like chitins, beta-glucans, inulin, oligosaccharides, and waxes.
Highly enriched foods contain both types of fiber that are insoluble and indigestible. There are two different types of dietary fiber soluble and insoluble.
Soluble Dietary Fiber
Soluble dietary fibers dissolve in water and adopt a gel-like shape in the stomach.
Later on, bacteria act on them. And then break down all substances into pieces that can pass through the large intestine.
Intake of soluble fibers gives some energy and calories to the body.
Soluble dietary fibers are beneficial. They lower cholesterol level in blood by absorbing the dietary fat and cholesterol
Also, soluble fibers slow down the process of carbohydrates absorption in the body. This helps in regulating the blood sugar levels.
Vegetables, beans, fruits, nuts, and oats are a good source of soluble dietary fibers.
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and passes through the gastrointestinal tract intact.
There is a major difference between soluble and insoluble fibers.
Insoluble fiber doesn’t provide energy to the human body. It is useful in building the bulk in the stool, which passes out through a stool more quickly.
It improves bowel movement, prevents constipation and similar problems. Fruits, whole grain food, and nuts are a good source of non-dissolved fiber.
What happens if you don’t eat enough fiber?
Despite the many benefits of fiber, we just don’t eat enough.
Take the average US child and adult for example. Both children and adults only consume less than half of the recommended fiber levels.
In the long term, not eating enough fiber leads to several health risks including the risks of developing:
- Coronary heart disease
- Gastrointestinal diseases
What are the health benefits of eating fiber?
Dietary fiber helps indigestion. It supports all regulatory functions like blood circulation, cholesterol maintenance, and weight management.
Let’s look at these benefits in detail
1. Protects against cardiological diseases
In one study, researchers reviewed the benefits of fiber. They found that dietary fibers are useful for heart patients.
Fiber protects against cardiovascular diseases and also improves blood pressure.
One important factor is that fiber controls cholesterol levels. And it also lowers the density of lipoprotein levels which is a major heart risk issue.
2. Reduces diabetic symptoms
Diabetic patients are advised to add more fiber to their meals. The goal is that fiber slows down the process of glucose absorption from the body.
But that’s not all. Eating more fiber also helps diabetes patients to lower blood sugar spikes right after the meal.
In one study, researchers reported some promising results. They enrolled participants who had a bit of blood sugar variations.
Turns out that people who consumed the right amount of dietary fiber were less likely to develop a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
3. Promotes weight loss
Obesity is a growing problem across the world. Research predicts that 50 percent of adults will be obese by 2030.
One of the health benefits of eating fiber is its weight management effects. Dietary fibers can help you to regulate your weight.
Extensive research on weight loss diet confirms this. Researchers agree that dietary fibers can contribute to weight loss. And you don’t even have to be on a diet or unsustainable exercise program.
4. Improves gut health
Gut health is when there is a right balance of microorganisms within the body’s digestive tract.
Think about what happens when we eat: The digestive tract carries food that enters the mouth and sends it to the stomach.
In the stomach, the gastrointestinal tract converts food into absorbable nutrients. And then into stored energy. And it also flushes out the waste out of the body.
Dietary fiber plays an important role in keeping the gut healthy from all perspectives.
Fiber soothes the digestion process. It also helps you to remove wastage smoothly through a free-flowing bowel movement. If you’re ever constipated, it could be that you lack enough fiber in your diet.
It strengthens the gut microbiota that regulates the bowel movements.
According to one research, dietary fiber minimizes the time that a waste spends inside the intestines.
5. Lowers risk of gastrointestinal disorders
In one study, researchers looked into the benefits of dietary fibers. The researchers found that fibers can help lower gastrointestinal syndromes. These syndromes include ulcers.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease has also been categorized to be cured with dietary fiber.
6. Can reduce risk of certain cancers
Eating fiber can help reduce the risk of cancer and prolongs the life span of a man.
One experiment reported that the intake of dietary fiber can lower the risk of colorectal cancer.
7. Promotes healthy aging
In general, eating dietary fiber regularly is a precautionary measure. From low or high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and overweight, fiber has positive effects.
A diet rich in fruits, nutrients, fresh vegetables strengthens his immune system. All these, in turn, reduces the risk of sudden death.
It can also improve the quality of life since you don’t have to constantly battle with heart diseases.
Life is a great opportunity for us to make a contribution. It’s even a better opportunity when you have good health.
Otherwise, life becomes is like a river without water, a flower without fragrance. And a perfume without scent.
Try to include vegetables and dietary fibers in your meal. Food that is high with dietary fibers includes cucumbers, tomatoes, and berries.