Eat more fiber. You would have heard this many times before from your health advisor or elders. Do you know why they motivate you to take a fiber-rich diet and why fiber is essential for your health? We are here to guide you.
What is Dietary Fiber?
Dietary fiber (also known as roughage or bulk) is a type of carbohydrate found in plant-based foods. Fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes are the primary sources of dietary fiber. Fiber supplements UK and fortified foods are also the other most significant sources of fiber. You can receive a good amount of healthy fiber from fiber supplements, such as Metamucil, Citrucel, and FiberCon.
Unlike most food compounds, like fats and proteins, fiber is not digestible. The human digestive system cannot break down the fiber and digest it. When you consume fiber, it passes through your digestive system and out of your body.
Fiber is best known for improving our digestive system and treating constipation. However, some foods containing dietary fiber also give other health benefits. It helps maintain a healthy weight and lower the risk of certain diseases, such as diabetes, certain types of cancer, and heart diseases.
Types of Fiber
Primarily, fiber is classified into two categories, including:
Soluble Fiber- Soluble fiber liquefies in water and looks like a gel. This type of fiber is effective for lowering glucose levels and blood cholesterol. You can get soluble fiber from the foods, such as:
- Citrus Fruits
- Barley and Psyllium
Insoluble Fiber- This type of fiber is the exact opposite of soluble fiber as it does not dissolve in water. It effectively treats certain types of constipation and irregular stool. Some of the most common sources of insoluble fiber include:
- Whole-wheat flour
- Wheat bran
- Green Beans
These fibers are found in different quantities in different foods. To receive full health benefits from these fibers, consume a wide variety of fiber-rich foods daily.
Benefits of Fiber
Helps In Improving the Functions of Bowel
To maintain your digestive system, your bowel movements should be normal. Dietary fiber helps increase the weight and size of stool, decreasing the chances of constipation.
Lowers Cholesterol Level
Many studies have found that a fiber-rich diet helps to lower the blood cholesterol level by decreasing the bad cholesterol level. It also helps in decreasing the risk of certain diseases and medical conditions, such as heart diseases, inflammation, and blood pressure.
Controls Blood Sugar Level
Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, slows down the absorption of sugar in your body that controls and improves the blood sugar level. It also helps in decreasing the risk of certain types of diabetes.
Helps in Maintaining a Healthy Weight
It has been proved that dietary fibers help in maintaining a healthy weight. It also increases your lifespan by decreasing the risk of many illnesses.
The Best Choices for Fiber
If you want to improve your digestive system and gain other health benefits as well, you need to increase your fiber intake. Your best choices of getting enough fiber a day are:
- Beans, peas, and other legumes
- Whole-grain products
- Nuts and seeds
Apart from this, we would recommend you invest in fiber supplements and fortified foods. They have been proved effective in maintaining overall good health. You can also try marine collagen powder (a fish protein-rich supplement) alongside your fiber supplement. It can double the health benefits of fiber intake.