Benefits of a High Fiber Diet
There are certain things that we just know we have to have plenty of. Water, for one, it’s essential to everything, and we are constantly being told to drink more water. You may also hear that about fiber, though this one is not as easy to do as drinking enough H2O. However, there are a great many benefits of a high fiber diet, so this should definitely be worked into your diet plan.
Benefits of a high fiber diet are not just limited to your digestive system, though that is what it is commonly known for. There are several other benefits that are not as well known:
Maintains bowel health. This is the big one that everyone knows fiber for. It helps to normalize bowel movements as well as maintain bowel health and has even been shown to lower the risk of colorectal cancer.
Lower cholesterol. Foods that are often high in fiber can help to lower those bad cholesterol levels. Certain studies have even shown that these same foods may help to reduce blood pressure and inflammation, which also benefits your heart.
Control blood sugar levels. This nutrient is actually very beneficial to those who have diabetes, as it helps to improve blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar. This is also good in the preventative form of reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Maintain a healthy weight. Fiber-filled foods are generally more filling than other foods that are low in fiber, so you won’t eat as much, and you’ll feel full longer after. They also tend to have fewer calories in them, which means, as you eat less, you are also ingesting fewer calories.
Live longer. That’s right, increase your dietary fiber intake, think Cheerios, and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.*
*All of these “benefits” are somewhat theoretical and in some cases without strong medical evidence, such as the “live longer claim”. That said, we are not aware of any negative health claims regarding fiber. In certain specific cases, a high fiber diet may affect drug absorption but again more clinical data is needed. When in doubt , consult your health care provider.
Now that you know the benefits of a high fiber diet, you may be wondering just how much fiber one should be consuming each day. For men 50 and below, 38 grams is the recommended amount. For those over 51, you’re looking at 30 grams. For women under 50, you need to consume 25 grams, and those 51 and older need 21 grams.
So you know how much to eat, and why, but maybe not what the best fiber-rich foods are. We’ve got you covered. Look for whole-grains, so breads, nuts, grain food products. Also look at fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, and seeds. Generally, very healthy foods that are also good for gains. Try changing your diet up and seeing if you notice any improvement in your health. You may find that was just what your body needed.