Fiber — is an important ingredient in everyone’s daily diet. Most of us know that it’s good for us — but for whatever reason, we ignore it. We just don’t get enough of these important foods. Indeed, studies show that most Americans get less than half the daily recommended amount of fiber each day.
Dietary fiber is found in the plants you eat, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You’ve probably heard that it can help with digestion. So it may seem odd that fiber is a substance that your body can’t digest. Much of it passes through your digestive system practically unchanged. Nevertheless, fiber provides important health benefits.
Fiber: What Types?
Different types of fiber can affect your health in different ways. That’s why the Nutrition Facts labels on some foods may list two categories of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is found in oats, beans, peas, and most fruits. Insoluble fiber is found in wheat bran and some vegetables.
Some soluble fiber is broken down by bacteria that live in the human gut. These microbes, called gut flora or microbiota, help with our digestion.
Studies show that they may play a role in obesity, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and other conditions.
But soluble and insoluble fiber aren’t always listed separately on labels. Many foods contain both. And both types have health benefits. Experts suggest that men aim for about 38 grams a day, and women about 25 grams. Unfortunately, in the United States, we take in an average of only 16 grams each day.
Fiber: Health Benefits
Some of it’s greatest benefits are related tohealth. Several large studies have found that people who eat the most had a lower risk for heart disease.
High intake—particularly soluble fiber—seems to protect against several heart-related problems. It appears that t fiber lowers cholesterol in the blood and thereby reduces the risk of heart disease.
These foods can help normalize your bowel movements. Insoluble fiber is often used to treat constipation and diverticular disease, which affects the colon.
It also plays a role in reducing the risk for. It works by slowing the absorption of sugar in the intestines which helps prevent blood sugar from spiking.
For example, in an NIH-funded study, researchers followed more than 75,000 adults for 14 years. They found that diabetes risk was significantly reduced in people who had the highest intake.
It’s also important to lose weight. And here too, these in your diet can help you.They make you feel fuller for longer. It also adds bulk but few calories.
Eat A Healthy Diet
Make sure your diet includes foods that are rich in whole grains, legumes, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds to get the daily fiber requirement.
Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are also packed with vitamins and other nutrients. Try to cut out, or at least minimize foods like white bread and white rice. The only thing they add to you are calories.
The bottom line is that this is important to have in our diets as it will keep us healthy.
Increase your intake gradually, so your body can get used to it. Adding it slowly helps you avoid gas, bloating, and cramps. Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts. Rotate these foods into your weekly meal plans so that you don’t get bored. Variety will keep you motivated, and in the long run — healthy.