You’ve heard before that fiber is part of a well-rounded diet yet many people still aren’t getting enough of it.
I think it’s time to spread the word on the many benefits of a high fibre diet and how it contributes to a healthy lifestyle.
Below are some of the top reasons why you should seek out more fiber every day.
Fiber bulks up your stool. Fiber is a thick substance, especially in the presence of fluid. This helps food pass through your digestive tract with ease. It prevents both constipation and diarrhea.
It’s important that when you do consume a high fiber meal, that you also consume an adequate amount of fluids like water throughout the day to prevent a backup and to keep your digestive tract moving.
Fiber also provides food for the good bacteria in your intestines.
These bacteria keep your gut at a beneficial pH, eliminate gas problems and help digest some of the material you consume so keep these little guys happy.
Fiber can actually be used as a weapon to combat hunger.
As mentioned earlier, fiber is bulky. The bulky nature of fiber sits in your stomach and signals satiety cues. These are the signals that your stomach delivers to your brain, letting you know that you are full.
By achieving and maintaining a level of satiety, your body will crave less foods and therefore cause you to eat less over the course of the day.
This will cut down on your total daily calories and help you lose weight.
Some fiber-rich foods, like nuts, are rich in nutrients but also high in calories. Some fiber rich foods like popcorn are not highly caloric and can be a great fiber fueled snack.
Lowers blood sugar
When you think of carbohydrates, you don’t normally think of lowered blood sugar. But fiber is a little different.
Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that does not get broken down.
Because fiber does not get broken down, it passes through your GI tract undigested and doesn’t raise your blood glucose level.
This can be helpful for diabetes patients.
If you have diabetes, it is important to be aware of what types of carbohydrates you are eating to best manage your symptoms. Eating fiber-rich foods is a great way to get the carbohydrates you love without the spike in your blood sugar.
Certain fibers actually help reduce your LDL-cholesterol, otherwise known as your “bad” cholesterol. Fiber is a large, viscous particle.
This sticky substance binds with cholesterol molecules in your gut and prevents them from getting absorbed into the bloodstream. Instead, it moves them out of the digestive tract and into the stool.
When the cholesterol in your system decreases, you reduce your risk of cardiovascular complications like heart disease. Getting a well-balanced, high fiber diet will keep your heart healthy.
Reduces the risk of cancers
Although the research on fiber on reducing cancer has been inconclusive, there are many reasons why scientists believe fiber can be the key to cancer prevention.
Every single day, your body produces free radicals. Free radicals are a result of exercise, eating and even breathing. They are simply unavoidable. Free radicals are unstable molecules that “bump” into cells and damage their integrity.
When the integrity of your cells are compromised, there is a greater risk of developing cancer. Fortunately, nature is designed in such a way that healthy foods like fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants which reduce free radicals from your system.
Although fiber is not an antioxidant, it too can reduce free radicals.
Much like cholesterol, the sticky quality of fiber binds to free radicals in the gut and drags them out of the body before they have a chance to be absorbed.
Foods that contain fiber
If you’re looking for a way to get more fiber into your life, there are many foods that you can choose such as:
– mixed berries
– dried legumes
– whole grain bread
– brown rice
– the skin of fruits like apples and pears
– dried fruit
– many vegetables
As you can see, fiber is ubiquitous. It won’t be hard to find something you like.
The recommendation for dietary fiber intake is 25-35 grams per day.
That may sound like a lot, but it’s really easy to reach these recommendations with just 3 servings of vegetables, 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of whole grains per day.
Whether fiber can help achieve your short term goal like weight loss, or your long term health goal like preventing cancer, fiber is something you should be getting more of.
Head to the grocery store and grab some fibre-rich foods.
Connect with WatchFit Expert Bonnie Giller