Benefits of dietary fiber
To have proper elimination after digestion, the body needs sufficient fiber intake. Fiber itself is not digested, and after your body has absorbed all the nutrients from the food, it passes the fiber to the colon. Adequate fiber in the colon results in the undigested fiber absorbing fluids, forming a softer, bulkier stool that passes easily without straining.
Stools with too little fluids become shrunken, hard and the colon muscle contractions can not grip the stool and move it towards the rectum for elimination. Prolonged shrunken, hard stools result in constipation, possible intestinal blockages and many long-term digestive health problems. Adittionally, shrunken and hard stools cause straining during bowel movements. Straining causes several problems:
There are two types of fiber:
Soluble fiber produces a gel-like substance that is linked to lowering cholesterol. Lower cholesterol levels mean fewer blockages in the arteries resulting in a lower risk for heart disease.
Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. It is characterized by the increase of cholesterol in the arteries leading to the heart, making the arteries narrow, hard, and blocked. A full blockage results in a heart attack.
A Harvard study found that a high dietary fiber compared to a low dietary fiber intake resulted in a 40 percent lower risk of developing heart disease.
Foods that are higher in fiber also have a low glycemic index and can lower your risk of developing type II diabetes. These foods include:
Foods that are high in fiber generally take a longer time to chew, giving our brain time to to catch up to our stomachs to realize when we are no longer hungry.
High-fiber foods absorb a lot of water which makes you feel fuller for a longer period of time. Eliminating over-eating and unnecessary snacking that can lead to weight gain.
A dramatic increase of fiber can cause painful bloating. When you increase your fiber, please be cautious to do it gradually, your body will let you know if you are doing it too rapidly.