5 Reasons Why Fiber Is Good for You

Health experts say that eating foods that are high in fiber is greatly beneficial to your health. Why is that? What makes fiber-rich foods a must in any diet? What can fiber do to keep you healthy and strong?

Fiber, or dietary fiber, is abundant in plant foods, including whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Once you eat it, it cannot be digested or absorbed by your body. Rather, it goes to your stomach, passes through your small intestine and large intestine, remaining pretty much intact, and then finally out of your system.

There are two classifications of fiber — soluble and insoluble.

  • Soluble fiber

This fiber type is present in citrus fruits, apples, carrots, beans, oats, peas, and barley. Once it dissolves in water, it creates a kind of material that resembles a gel. It is good for the body because it can help lower and manage blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

  • Insoluble fiber

This fiber type is found in potatoes, green beans, cauliflowers, nuts, wheat bran, and whole wheat flour. Unlike soluble fiber, it does not dissolve in water. It facilitates food flow and movement through your digestive system and helps enhance bowel function.

Below are excellent health benefits that you can get from a high-fiber diet:

  1. It promotes regular bowel movements

standing by the toilet with toilet paper roll in handHow often do you poop? Do you wonder why you only do it once a week while you hear others do it every day? Is it bad to not poop for days? What should you do to improve your bowel movement frequency?

Switching to a high-fiber diet can help normalize your bowel movements. If you eat more dietary fiber, your body can make stools that are solid and bulky, which are much easier to pass and can help prevent constipation. If your stools are watery and loose, dietary fiber can also help solidify them for more efficient elimination from your body.

  1. It supports bowel health

Did you know that there are diseases and complications that are likely to strike someone who is not eating enough fiber? Are you concerned that you have not been meeting the recommended daily fiber requirement, and your risk of having those health problems is high?

According to health professionals, people who do not eat enough fiber have an increased risk of the following:

    • Hemorrhoids

This is a medical condition in which the veins in your anus and lower part of your rectum are swollen. It can be internal, which causes symptoms like itching in and around the anus, swelling around the anal region, bleeding, and pain; or external, which causes symptoms like bleeding when pooping, and pain and irritation in and around the anal opening.

    • Diverticular disease

This is a health problem characterized by the formation of small sacs or bulges in the walls of the large intestine. Many patients do not manifest visible signs and symptoms, but there are some that experience rectal bleeding, fever, or lower abdominal pains.

    • Colorectal cancer

This is a type of cancer that affects the large intestine or colon. Also known as colon cancer, its common symptoms include rectal bleeding, traces of blood in the stool, persistent abdominal pains or cramps, sudden change in your bowel function, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.

  1. It promotes normal blood sugar levels

Do you have a sweet tooth? Are your meals not complete without some sugary drinks or desserts? Is it hard to go through the day without snacking on a bar (or two) of chocolate?

Having high blood sugar levels increases your likelihood of developing not only diabetes, but also heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, nerve damage, blindness, and skin damage. For this reason, you have to strive hard to lower them and keep them within the normal range, which is:

    • Below 100 milligrams per deciliter (after fasting for at least eight hours) or
    • Below 140 milligrams per deciliter (two hours after eating)

To manage your blood sugar levels, one of the best natural and safe ways is by increasing your fiber intake. If you eat more foods rich in soluble fiber, you can reduce the speed of how your body absorbs sugar. On the other hand, if you eat more foods that are loaded with insoluble fiber, you can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.

  1. It helps lower high cholesterol levels

Do you like your fish, chicken, or pork fried? Are large and greasy burgers and fries your weaknesses? Is it difficult to enjoy dishes that are not deep-fried?

high cholesterol levelHaving high cholesterol levels is bad for your health. Just like your blood sugar levels, they have to be within the normal range to not open yourself up to a wide array of health problems and complications that can lower the quality of your life. If you have high cholesterol, you are at high risk of heart attack, angina, stroke, peripheral artery disease, and carotid artery disease.

For optimal health and long life, you have to strive to keep your total cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter, your HDL blood cholesterol levels above 60 milligrams per deciliter, and your triglyceride levels less than 150 milligrams per deciliter. And, one of the ways to achieve that is by increasing your consumption of foods overflowing with soluble fiber, such as flaxseed, oats, oat bran, and beans, which reduces the amount of low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol in your body.

  1. It is great for weight loss

Do you want to get rid of your flabs and beer belly? Are you looking for a safe and natural way to lose those excess pounds? Have you tried various diet fads to no avail?

Losing weight is not easy. It takes time, commitment, perseverance, and lots of sweat and tears. If you eat a high-fiber diet, you will eat less and be able to lose weight, as fiber-rich foods are quite more filling and contain fewer calories than foods that are low in fiber.