The Importance of Fiber
Fiber is crucial for overall health.
We’ve probably all known this since we were kids, you know, when your mom told you to make sure to eat “roughage”.
But the thing is, fiber tends to be boring.
It’s not sexy.
Regardless, increasing fiber intake will greatly impact your health and wellness.
There are multitudes of benefits that fiber provides. We’ll go through and in depth look at the benefits of fiber below.
The Benefits of Fiber
Fiber has numerous benefits. The first advantage of getting optimal fiber amounts is that it will help to normalize bowel movements.
Fiber helps you to stay “regular”. It does this by increasing the bulk of your stool. Not only does fiber increase the size of your stool, it also helps to soften it. This double-whammy effect is crucial for maintaining regular bowel movements.
It also helps with keeping your bowels healthy. Struggles with occasional constipation impact all of us. Take in enough fiber and this problem will go away. You can get optimal amounts of fiber by either eating more whole foods, or by taking fiber supplements.
Besides helping with bowel movements, fiber also helps you to lower cholesterol levels. It does this by reducing low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Make sure to get enough roughage!
Optimal amounts of roughage also help to control your blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber, one of the two types of dietary fiber, helps to slow the absorption of sugar. This helps to improve overall blood sugar levels.
Last but not least, fiber helps with weight loss. High fiber meals are often more filling, satisfying meals. This leads to less calories being consumed in a day, as there will be less temptation to snack.
Types of Fiber
There are two main types of dietary fiber, insoluble fiber and soluble fiber. Both types are beneficial for your health, even though they play different roles.
Soluble fiber dissolves in liquid to create a gel-like substance. It can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber can be found in foods such as oats,, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, and psyllium.
Insoluble fiber helps with the movement of waste through your digestive system. It also helps with increasing stool bulk. Insoluble fiber can be beneficial to those who struggle with occasional constipation. Sources of insoluble fiber include whole-wheat flour, nuts, beans, wheat bran, and potatoes.
Many foods contain both types of fiber, this includes foods like oatmeal and beans. Make sure to eat these foods to get more bang for your buck!
How Much Fiber Is Enough?
It is recommended that you get around 30 grams of fiber per day (38 for men and 25 for women). Getting fiber through your diet is fairly easy, as long as you eat a predominantly whole food diet. Stay away from processed foods, such as white sugar or white flour. These foods have been stripped of many of their beneficial nutrients.