6 Health Benefits of a High-Fiber Diet
If you ask any nutritionist, they will surely tell you about the many benefits of a high-fiber diet. Unfortunately, studies have shown that most people in the U.S. aren’t experiencing the benefits of fiber because they aren’t consuming enough with their meals each day. However, there are many reasons to consider increasing your fiber intake, including these six benefits of a high-fiber diet.
1. Fiber Helps Alleviate Bowel Problems
The first thing most people will mention when asked about the health benefits of fiber is that it helps regulate your bowels. Interestingly, fiber can help both when there is an issue of too much bowel activity (diarrhea) or not enough (constipation). Consuming fiber and plenty of water both help to bulk up your stool, making it easier to pass. Depending on the type of bowel problem you are experiencing, there are different types of fiber to alleviate your discomfort. While insoluble fiber is good for easing constipation, soluble fiber can actually help with both constipation and diarrhea.
2. Fiber Maintains Good Gut Health
It’s estimated that there are between five hundred and 1,000 different types of bacteria that live in your intestines. But don’t worry, many of them are actually beneficial to your health. Unlike the human body, which struggles to break down fiber, the bacteria in your gut thrive off of this carbohydrate. Fiber feeds the good bacteria in your gut, which can have positive effects on your body, including reducing gut inflammation and helping soothe some digestive disorders. This is one of the biggest benefits of fiber in a diet.
3. Fiber Manages Blood Sugar Levels
With any food you eat, you are going to see an increase in blood sugar levels, but with enough fiber in your diet, you can minimize the risk. This is especially important for those who follow a high-carbohydrate diet. The soluble fiber found in many high-fiber foods can help slow the absorption of sugar, improving your overall blood sugar levels. In addition, research shows that a diet high in fiber can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a disease tied to an imbalance in your blood sugar levels.
4. Fiber Helps to Lower Bad Cholesterol
Keeping your bad cholesterol in check can be a challenge, depending on what you eat. One of the benefits of a high-fiber diet is that it balances out and can actually lower LDL cholesterol, the bad kind of cholesterol. LDL cholesterol collects in blood vessels and can cause narrowing of the arteries. But one of the benefits of a high-fiber diet is that it can help remove LDL cholesterol from your body, helping your heart and other vital systems.
5. Fiber Aids in Weight Management
There is no quick fix for managing your weight, but there are things you can do to give yourself an edge in the battle against your waistline. One of those is increasing the amount of fiber you get every day. One of the biggest benefits of a high-fiber diet is that it helps you feel full for longer, reducing hunger cravings. And because the high-fiber food you are eating is typically less processed and typically better for you, it can also help reduce your weight. Add in a healthy exercise program for the best results.
6. Fiber Improves Heart Health
Two of the biggest risk factors for heart disease are high cholesterol and being overweight. Fortunately, one of the benefits of fiber in a diet is the reduced risk from both. But there are other heart benefits of a high-fiber diet as well. One such benefit of a high-fiber diet is that it may help reduce your blood pressure, which can significantly improve your quality of life. Fiber has also been shown to reduce your risk of stroke, which is tied to an increase in your chances of developing heart disease.
Getting More Fiber
Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans aren’t getting enough fiber in their diet. In fact, it’s recommended to get somewhere between 25-38 grams of fiber per day based on factors such as gender and age. This is typically done through a diet that is high in fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, wheat, seeds, nuts, beans, and legumes.
But if you’re struggling to reach the magic number for your demographic, there are alternative methods to get there. One of the most popular ways is through a fiber powder that can be stirred into a glass of water, blended into a smoothie, or mixed into yogurt. But no matter how you consume it, increasing your intake can put you on the road to experiencing the health benefits of fiber today.