Fiber is more than just a diet buzzword, it is a crucial nutrient that your body needs to ward off chronic illnesses and achieve optimal health. Aim to consume at least 25 grams of fiber per day, filling your plate with fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as well as reading labels on your everyday food products and choosing food items with the most fiber. Here are just five of the health benefits fiber has to offer.
5 Reasons to eat more fiber
Fiber promotes weight loss
Think about that lack of satisfaction when you eat a refined flour product — it may taste good right when you eat it, but you’re starving soon after. Since fiber takes longer than refined carbohydrates to digest, it results in your feeling full longer and ultimately eating less. Additionally, foods rich in fiber, particularly fruits and vegetables, are usually lower in calories than refined foods and provide a bevy of other nutrients, including antioxidants. Fewer calories with more nutrients means healthy weight loss.
Fiber is good for your heart
The American Heart Association recommends foods rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber to boost heart health. Soluble fiber, which is found in oats, beans, peas and citrus, has been associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease because it lowers LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Insoluble fiber, which is found in whole grains, wheat bran, cruciferous vegetables and carrots, has been associated with decreased cardiovascular risk and slower progression of cardiovascular disease in high-risk individuals.
Fiber deters Type 2 diabetes
A high-fiber diet can prevent and manage Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar and insulin levels. Because fiber promotes weight loss, it can help prevent Type 2 diabetes, and, for those with diabetes, fiber helps control blood sugar levels because it slows absorption of glucose. The American Diabetes Association recommends eating nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods — such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables — and talking to a dietician about the healthiest way to incorporate these foods into your diet.
Fiber combats cancer
Filling up on fiber can reduce your risk of many types of cancer, particularly cancers of the colon, small intestine, stomach and esophagus, as well as breast and ovarian cancers. Fiber benefits the digestive system because it acts like a broom, whisking toxins through the body while foods high in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, are also high in antioxidants and potent in fighting cancer.
Fiber improves your diet
If you replace the nutrient-poor refined flour products and processed junk foods with fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts, you will drastically improve the quality of your diet. A healthier, high-fiber diet means more energy, brain health, beautiful skin and hair and a reduced risk of many chronic ailments, including gallstones, kidney stones, digestive problems, skin conditions, joint pain and other diet-related conditions.