Written by 1:00 am Healthy Eating Views: 5

Everything To Know | Why Fibers Are Fantastic For You

What’s dietary fiber? Did you know that all humans need at least 25 grams of this a day to prevent hunger? This is why and what to know!

Children & Adults Need 25-35 Grams Of Fiber Daily

In the world of nutrition, dietary fiber often hides in the shadows of nutrients like protein or vitamin C. But don’t be fooled – this element is necessary for maintaining a healthy body.

According to Harvard Health, people of all ages need at least 25 grams of fiber a day to keep hunger and blood sugar in check! So, what exactly is dietary fiber, and how can it benefit your health?

Dietary Fiber 101 | Understanding The Two Types

Dietary fiber, simply put, is the indigestible part of plant-based foods. Moreover, there are two main types…

Photo credit: marinesea via Canva

Soluble fiber dissolves in water, forming a gel-like substance in your gut. This gel slows down digestion, allowing your body to absorb nutrients from food more efficiently. Think of it as a traffic light for your digestive system, regulating the flow of food and promoting feelings of fullness. Examples of soluble fiber-rich foods include oats, apples, lentils, and chia seeds.

Photo credit: golfloi17 via Getty Images

Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, doesn’t dissolve in water. Instead, it acts like a broom, bulking up your stool and promoting regularity. Consequently, this keeps your digestive system moving efficiently and prevents constipation. Foods like whole-wheat bread, brown rice, nuts, and leafy green vegetables are packed with insoluble fiber.

What It Does For Digestion

Photo credit: mi-viri via Getty Images

A healthy digestive system is the foundation for overall well-being.

As mentioned earlier, insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool, easing its passage through the digestive tract and preventing constipation. This regularity helps maintain a healthy gut environment and reduces the risk of hemorrhoids.

Soluble fiber acts as a prebiotic, fueling the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut. These friendly bacteria assist with digestion, immune function, and even mood regulation.

Fiber can help reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, which links to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A diet rich in fiber may help alleviate digestive discomfort and promote overall gut health.

What It Does For Weight Management

Photo credit: SIphotography via Getty Images Pro

Fiber isn’t just a digestive superstar; it allows individuals to manage their weight and take control.

Soluble fiber’s gel-like consistency in your gut keeps you feeling fuller for longer, curbing cravings and reducing your overall calorie intake. With that said, it can be valuable in your weight management journey.

Fiber can help regulate blood sugar levels. By slowing down digestion, it prevents blood sugar spikes after meals, which can lead to cravings and overeating. This stable blood sugar control can also contribute to sustained energy levels throughout the day.

Lastly, some types of soluble fiber, like beta-glucan found in oats, can lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels by binding to cholesterol in the digestive system and preventing its absorption. In turn, this can contribute to a healthier heart!

It Reduces Cancer Risks

Photo credit: AllaSaa via Getty Images

While the research is ongoing, studies suggest dietary fiber may play a role in reducing the risk of certain cancers. A 2019 review published in the journal “Nutrients” found that higher dietary fiber intake was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer. The authors propose that fiber’s ability to promote regularity and reduce inflammation in the gut may contribute to this protective effect.

Similarly, a 2017 study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found a link between higher fiber intake and a reduced risk of breast cancer, particularly in postmenopausal women. The researchers suggest that fiber’s influence on hormone metabolism might be a potential explanation.

It’s important to note that correlation doesn’t always equal causation, and more research is needed to fully understand the complex relationship between fiber and cancer risk. However, incorporating a variety of fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes into your diet can be a healthy approach regardless, potentially offering a range of health benefits.

How To Increase Your Fiber Intake

Start Your Day with Fiber!

Swap out sugary cereals for a fiber-rich breakfast like oatmeal topped with berries and nuts. You can also try a chia seed pudding or a whole-wheat toast with avocado and eggs.

Eat Whole Grains

Refined grains are stripped of their fiber content. Opt for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat bread, and whole-wheat pasta for a nice, little fiber boost.

Go Green with Leafy Vegetables!

Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are nutritional powerhouses packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Add them to salads, stir-fries, or even blend them into smoothies before working out.

Snack Smart

Skip the chips and reach for fiber-rich snacks like fruits, nuts, or air-popped popcorn. These snacks will keep you feeling satisfied and provide a healthy dose of fiber.

Questions, Comments, Concerns?

How often are you intaking fiber?

Personally, I try and eat around that 25 gram benchmark per day, but that’s not always the case.

So, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out below!