Why Fiber Is So Important
Where does fiber come from? What does it do for you?
With technical and complex dietary information available, it can be hard to remember why it is important to fit fiber into your diet and what it does for your body. In this article, we’ll give a basic rundown of what fiber is, what it does, and why it’s so vital.
Let’s get started.
What Is Fiber?
You may know that fiber can help you poop, but there’s a world of benefits beyond that. Before we talk about the benefits of fiber, it’s helpful to understand what it is and what it does.
So, what is fiber?
Fiber is broken down into two categories:
Dietary fiber comes from the parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest. Unlike most carbohydrates, it passes through the body without being broken down into sugar molecules.
That may sound odd at first. How can a food that your body can’t digest be good for you? Because your body doesn’t break down and absorb fiber, it remains mostly intact as it passes through your digestive system.
How Does Fiber Help Your Body?
The American Dietetic Association recommends that we consume over 25 grams of dietary fiber from multiple plant sources every day, and there’s a reason for that. Fiber contains vital health benefits, so let’s take a look at a few of them.
Does Fiber Help You Poop?
Short answer: Yes!
One of the better-known benefits of insoluble fiber is that it can make your stool heavier, which decreases the risk of constipation. As fiber makes stool bulkier, the stool becomes easier to pass through your digestive system. The heavier and wetter a stool is, the better.
Fiber deficiency can also result in loose or wet stool, sometimes referred to as Loose Bowel Movements (LBM). Fiber can absorb water in the loose stool, making it heavier and more solid.
If you suffer from constipation or loose stools (or want to avoid those problems altogether), fiber can go a long way toward promoting a healthy digestive system. Getting enough fiber in your diet is critical for having a healthy stool.
It Acts Like a Broom
Because fiber stays undigested, it acts like a broom that cleans your digestive tract. Insoluble fiber can help prevent infections in your gut as it sweeps through your digestive system, while soluble fiber acts like a sponge that can remove cholesterol from the bloodstream.
Other Benefits of Fiber
Studies have also connected fiber intake to lower body weight, so a high-fiber diet could play a role in helping you maintain your weight loss goals. For general health purposes, researchers have also linked fiber consumption to a reduced risk of certain heart diseases and some metabolic diseases.
What Foods Are High in Fiber?
If you are looking to increase your fiber intake, you may need to form a diet that provides enough high-fiber foods that taste good — both soluble and insoluble. For overall wellness, try incorporating foods high in fiber and low in carbs:
- Foods with insoluble fiber can include whole-wheat flour, green beans, potatoes, and other veggies.
- Foods with soluble fiber can include oats, citrus fruits, apples and applesauce, and barley.
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