10 Reasons to Fiber Up Your Diet
Understand why fiber is touted as an essential ingredient for good health and well being
With the paradigm shift in the dietary patterns these days, we often find dieticians and nutrition experts suggesting to include fiber in our diet. Buzzwords like whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables rule the health pages of the newspapers and magazines. Many of us are aware that these are the sources from which we can have fiber, but why is fiber good for you? What benefits does it have for your body? Does it actually help keep some diseases away?
Understand What Exactly Fiber is:
Fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, are sugars and starches from plants. Unlike protein and fat, your body does not digest and absorb fiber; instead it passes through the body undigested. Fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, and legumes, such as peas and beans, are excellent sources of fiber.
Both types of fiber are beneficial to the body and most plant foods contain a mixture of both types.
To reap the benefits of fiber, you should consume the amount required by your body. How much fiber do you need?
The daily recommendations of dietary fiber are:
|Age 50 and Younger||38 gram/day||25 gram/day|
|Age 51 and Older||30 gram/day||21 gram/day|
As per the dietary guidelines issued by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for Americans, about 25 to 30 grams of total fiber per day is recommended for adults. A child’s need for fiber is based on age: 10 grams plus the child’s age.
Unfortunately, most Americans only get about half of this amount, consuming about 10-15 grams per day. Eating a high-fiber diet has many advantages and keeps you healthy along with providing protection against many chronic diseases. To increase your fiber intake – the recipe is simple. You just need to add foods that are high in fiber content in your diet, which include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grain breads, and whole grain cereals.
Discover the Benefits of Nature’s Wonder Gift- Fiber
1. Fiber Diet Reduces Constipation
Fiber increases the bulk of stool, lubricates the large intestine, and makes defecation easier. Thereby bulky feces move through the gut faster, resulting in an increased stool weight and improved regularity. The increase in fecal bulk also dilutes the effect of toxic substances in the colon.
2. Fiber: A Digestive Dynamo which Keeps the Digestive Tract Healthy
A diet high in fiber is indispensable for improving the health of the digestive system. When dietary fiber is fermented in the digestive tract, some essential fatty acids are produced. These help in optimizing the process of digestion. Also, fiber stimulates the secretion of digestive fluids aiding smooth digestion.
3. Have a Fiber Diet for Your Heart’s Health
There is substantial evidence to prove that the intake of a high fiber diet can lower the risk of heart diseases. As per a study published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology Foundation, women who took a diet having about 26 grams of fiber were found to have a lower risk of heart diseases than those who consumed less fiber.
Another study by Harvard University found that men who ingested high fiber diet had a 40 per cent lower risk of coronary heart disease, compared to those who ate low-fiber diets.
4. Fiber Benefits People with Diabetes
High fiber diet plays an essential role in regulating the blood glucose levels in people suffering from diabetes. Fiber slows the digestion of food, which reduces the rate of glucose absorption from the small intestine to the blood. This can prevent the sudden elevation of the blood glucose levels, which may stimulate the pancreas to pump more insulin. Therefore, people with diabetes should inculcate more fiber in their diets.
5. Achieve your Cholesterol Goals with Fiber
Fiber works wonders at reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol levels. When cholesterol levels rise in the body, it may lead to fatty deposits (plaques) along the walls of the arteries making them narrow for the blood to flow smoothly. This leads to the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease. Fiber may provide protection against the risk for these diseases. Studies have demonstrated that a high fiber diet can improve serum lipids, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (good cholesterol), and triglycerides.
6. Boosts your immunity
A high fiber diet leads to an increase in the level of “good bacteria” in the intestine, which aids better absorption of the nutrients from food. Thereby, to enhance your immunity increase the fiber intake in your diet.
Preliminary studies indicate that a fiber diet may significantly reduce the risk of infection in liver transplant patients. Initial human studies have shown favorable responses for individuals with ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or pouchitis, but further studies are required.
7. Bulky Fiber for Bulk (weight) Reduction
Fibrous foods are mostly bulky and low on fat count. They stay in the digestive tract for longer duration, which makes a person feel more full and satisfied as compared to low fiber and processed foods. Thereby, by consuming high fiber foods, a person eats less and consumes fewer calories. A high fiber diet is recommended for people suffering from obesity and for those who wish to manage their weight through diet.
8. Fiber and Diverticular Disease
A high fiber diet can help to prevent hemorrhoids and diverticuli (an inflammation of the intestine). Diverticuli is a common disease which is painful and it may even lead to complications, like a tear in the colon. In a long-term follow-up study, male health professionals eating dietary fiber, particularly insoluble fiber, had about 40 percent lower risk of diverticular disease.
9. May Help Combat Cancer
Although the results are not yet proven, but there is some evidence that fiber may help fight some types of cancer, such as colon cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer.
The exact mechanism of action isn’t yet understood, but scientists believe that it may be due to the fact that fiber prevents the accumulation of harmful cancer-causing substances as it shortens the retention period of waste materials.
10. Fiber for Skin
A high fiber diet can do wonders for your skin and increase its appearance from the inside out. Fewer calories with more nutrients is another benefit offered by fiber, which makes your skin glow and young looking.
Dietary Fiber in Childhood
Dietary fiber should be considered as an important ingredient in your children’s diet, as it may contribute to significant immediate and future health benefits. Some of the major benefits of adding fiber in your child’s diet include prevention and treatment of childhood obesity; maintenance of normal blood glucose, lipid values, and blood pressure; and risk reduction for future chronic diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and type 2 diabetes. Also, a child having a high fiber diet consumes a nutrient dense diet and is less likely to fall ill and more likely to stay fit and healthy.