We often heard words like fiber or roughage when we grew up as we were encouraged to eat foods rich in fiber, otherwise you’ll have some difficulty relieving yourself when nature calls because your stools will be hard and small and most often the not very uncomfortable to eliminate or else you’ll be forced to use laxatives which is a very bad call for your health.
Experts have always been encouraging the consumption of vegetables along with fruits, whole grains and legumes as part of healthy and balanced diet.
This way, a person can have a healthy bowel movements and relieving oneself will not be a problem unless of course a person has some underlying medical condition that requires the doctor’s attention.
According to studies there are some benefits associated with foods rich in fiber and these foods are mostly plant based. It is also recommended to be nutrition wise and opt for whole foods as opposed to processed foods.
I’m compelled to think that taking care of your health is part of loving yourself in that when you are healthy you become happier and happiness among other things can lead to many good things.
Unfortunately healthy eating alone is not enough without physical activity. Incorporating exercise and drinking water on a daily basis could go along way to benefiting your health.
Without further ado let’s unpack what is fiber along with its benefits.
What is fiber and why is it important
Dietary fiber is a complex carbohydrates, the indigestible substance obtained from plant cell walls, also referred to as roughage. Fiber comes in soluble and insoluble form and is found in many whole foods such as legumes, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.
Dietary fiber forms part of a healthy and balanced diet. It aids digestion but it’s not broken down in the small intestine and is fermented in the large intestine in which it feeds good bacteria. Dietary fiber is thought to have many health benefits.
Research indicates that most people in the world do not meet the recommended daily allowance of fiber and that they consume less than 20 g of the dietary fiber, Iike for instance an average adult in the American community consume 15 grams of fiber and only 7% of the UK population meets their daily target of their fiber intake
The daily target for fiber intake.
- Adult females : 25 g per day
- Adult males : 38 g per day
- Over 50 years, females : 21 g, males : 30g
- Pregnant/ lactating : 28 g
The soluble form of the fiber dissolves in water while the non-soluble form does not. Dietary fiber is as to have the previous properties that promote growth of good bacteria. The foods rich in dietary fiber are satiating, curb hunger and promote weight management.
Investing in your health will put you at an advantageous position and will yield good investment returns in the long term.
Although there are fiber supplements, it’s recommended to get your fiber from whole foods as they come with a myriad of other benefits, such as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which can boost your health in many of other ways
Foods high in fiber
Some of the food sources of fiber include:
- Wheat cereals
- Wheat pasta
- Raw almonds
- Potato skin
- Black beans
Beneficial effects of consuming fiber rich foods
Experts seem to think that fiber has many health benefits. Soluble fiber is fermented to feed bacteria in the large intestine, thereby creating a healthy environment in the guy whereas the non-soluble fiber combines with water, softens and speeds up the movement of waste products in the intestinal tract protecting the body against but diseases.
High fiber intake is associated with lowering the risk of many diseases, these include :
- Cholesterol : fiber promotes healthy cholesterol levels by preventing cholesterol from building up in the arteries.
- Blood sugar levels : fiber stabilizes sugar levels in the blood due to the fact that fiber is a complex carbohydrate, as a result ingested meals with fiber take time to be digested and this reduces the risk of raised blood sugar levels.
- Cardiovascular disease and coronary disease : According to research high fiber intake accounts for the reduced risk of cardiovascular and coronary diseases.
- Colorectal cancer : Studies show that the daily consumption of whole grain along a fiver reduces the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Obesity : According to the studies dietary fiber can prevent overweight and metabolic syndrome by promoting good bacteria in the colon.
Drinking the sufficient amount of water is just as important to aid digestion as well as to hydrate your body, among its roles. It is also recommended to eat 2.5 to 10.3 g of soluble fiber, such as fruits, barley, lentils and the like, to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome.
The downside of eating too much fiber in the diet
Fiber promotes a healthy bowel movement. It softens and normalises the passing of stools. Too much fiber can lead to some side effects such as :
- flatulence/ gas
- Weight issues
- Intestinal blockage
- loose stools
Inasmuch as phytic acid prevents mineral absorption by binding essential minerals, fiber too, binds key minerals in the intestinal tract, such as zinc, iron, magnesium etc. This may lead to deficiencies of such minerals in the body.
The bottom line
Fiber is the indigestible part plant foods contributing to good health and forms part of a balanced diet. It keeps the digestive system healthy and efficient as it speeds up the movement of waste products in the intestinal tract. As aforementioned, fiber has many health benefits but then again too much fiber is not good just like too much of everything else.
As experts would say, diversifying your diet is key. Eat everything in moderation. Exercise and drink sufficient fluids.
Check out the nutrition fact label on products to make better food choices. Go for whole foods instead of refined foods as refined foods are stripped off their nutrients.
Thank you for reading this article if you’ve found it interesting kindly leave your comment or opinion on the comment section below and I will get back to you.