Posted on: August 24th, 2021

“Eat More Fiber.” This seems like common knowledge at this point, but have you ever wondered why fiber is so important?

Dietary fiber is primarily found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fiber is a term that covers a wide range of components, and so you get different types and mixtures of fibers from different sources. Fiber is most famous for properties that prevent and/or relieve constipation; however, not all fibers have the same effects. Fiber is so much more than something that just helps with constipation.

Maintaining healthy body weight, lowering the risk of diabetes, and lowering the risk of heart disease are just a few of the other benefits associated with healthy fiber intake.

What is Dietary Fiber?

Fiber is, in simple terms, the carbohydrate-based parts of plant food your body is unable to digest or absorb. Other parts of foods, like fats and proteins, are broken down and absorbed by the body. Fiber is able to pass through your digestive system relatively intact. Fiber can be found in both soluble and insoluble forms.

Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber dissolves in water, and many of the soluble fibers also form a gelatin-like substance. This form of fiber has been shown to lower glucose and blood cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber is commonly found in:

  • Oats
  • Beans
  • Apples
  • Citrus
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Barley

Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber aids the movement of material through your digestive tract. It also adds bulk to stool, which helps relieve constipation. Insoluble fiber is commonly found in:

  • Whole-wheat flour
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Potatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Green Beans

What Does a High-Fiber Diet Do?

Diets that are high in fiber help digestion in many ways. Let’s take a look at the most widely beneficial features of a high-fiber diet.

Normalizes Bowel Movements

Diets with lots of fiber add weight and size to your stool. Dietary fiber also absorbs water, which helps with softening stools. These properties make it easier for the body to remove waste.

Helps Maintain Bowel Health

Diets high in fiber have been shown to decrease the risk of developing hemorrhoids and diverticular disease. Many fibers are fermented by our beneficial microbiota in the colon. Some studies have found fermentation byproducts produced in the colon can potentially lower the risk of things like colorectal cancer and other diseases of the colon.

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