Have you ever heard, "eat more fiber" but aren't really sure what that means?
Dietary fiber, found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, isn't just good for supporting healthy digestion. research shows it can help you maintain a healthy weight, lower your risk of diabetes, reduce heart disease and some forms of cancer.
Fiber is commonly classified as either soluble or insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. It's commonly found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and promotes the movement of material through your digestive system, increasing stool bulk and helping you stay regular. It's commonly found in whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and starchy vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes.
How much fiber do you need? Daily recommendations for adult females is at least 25 grams of fiber each day, and for adult males at least 35 grams each day. For optimal health and wellness benefit, strive to obtain dietary fiber through real food.
Here are ten great reasons to consume adequate dietary fiber each day:
Improved Digestive Health: Fiber promotes regular bowel movements and prevents constipation by adding bulk to the stool. It can also help alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and promote a healthy gut microbiome.
Weight Management: High-fiber foods are typically more filling and can help control appetite, leading to a reduced calorie intake. And fiber-rich foods typically require more chewing, which slows food consumption while increasing feelings of fullness, which can help you better recognize hunger and fullness cues, reducing overeating.
Blood Sugar Regulation: Soluble fiber (which dissolves in water to form a gel-like material), slows down the absorption of sugar, which helps regulate blood glucose levels. This can be especially beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes.
Heart Health: Fiber has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. It can help lower cholesterol levels, especially LDL (bad) cholesterol, and improve heart health by reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
Improved Gut Health: Dietary fiber serves as a prebiotic, nourishing the beneficial bacteria in the gut. A healthy gut microbiota is linked to better immune function, mental health, and reduced risk of various diseases, including obesity and certain cancers.
Prevention of Colon Cancer: Adequate fiber intake has been associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. It promotes regular bowel movements, dilutes and eliminates harmful substances from the colon, and supports a healthy colon environment.
Enhanced Weight Loss: High-fiber foods tend to be lower in calorie density and provide satiety, which can aid weight loss efforts by reducing overall calorie intake and preventing overeating.
Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases: A diet high in fiber has been linked to a decreased risk of chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, stroke, and certain types of cancer, such as breast and colorectal cancer.
Improved Skin Health: Some evidence suggests that fiber-rich diets can contribute to healthier skin by reducing inflammation and supporting the skin's barrier function.
Management of Cholesterol Levels: Soluble fiber can bind to cholesterol and help remove it from the body, thereby contributing to lower blood cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.
It's important to note that while a well-balanced diet that includes dietary fiber is beneficial, drinking an adequate amount of water is also important to help the fiber work effectively in the body.
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